Cambria Film Festival 2023 Winners

Written by Estero Bay News

February 23, 2023

A behind-the-scenes look at the people and work it takes to put on the annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival is the subject of the film, ‘Something to Crow About.’

The Cambria Film Festival recently announced the winners of this year’s film festival hosted during a live awards night. The program capped five days showing more than 60 competition films, filmmaker talks, world premieres, special programming and gala events.

The Nancy Green Founder’s Award for the film that best exemplified the festival’s goal of exploring romance and the complexities of love went to “Look Who’s There” (Italy). The feature-length film directed by Riccardo Camilli explores the dynamics of love, death and moving forward.

The judging panel made its official selections from more than 400 feature and short films submitted from around the world. The judges awarded Best Feature Film to “Hard Shell, Soft Shell” (France), directed by Emma Benestan. They awarded Best Short Film to “The Fool’s Mate” (United Kingdom), directed by Cian Llewellyn. The Best Animated Film went to “A Fleeting Moment” (United States), directed by Allyanna Demafeliz. The award for Best Long-Form Short (an award for short films more than 20 minutes in length) went to “Shams” (Belgium), directed by Pauline Beugnies. For the first time, the judges also gave a Best Documentary award; it went to “Blue Dots” (Italy), directed by Lorenzo Squarcia. 

Two additional awards were based on audience balloting. “Róise & Frank” (Ireland), directed by Rachael and Peter Murphy, took home the Audience Award for Favorite Short. “Blue Dots” received the Audience Award for Favorite Feature, in its second win of the night.

In addition, the Director’s Award for Artistic Achievement, chose by the organizing directors of the Festival, was presented to “Sweet Disaster” (Germany), directed by Laura Lehmus. 

At a special screening on Friday evening, the Cambria Heart Award, given to acknowledge a unique or special exploration of the festival theme of love, was given to director Don Scardino for “Our (Almost Completely True) Story” (United States). The award was accepted in person by the film’s stars Mariette Hartley and Jerry Sroka—whose own real-life, late-in-life romance was the movie’s inspiration.

Another highlight of the Festival was the packed-house, world premiere of “Something to Crow About.” This documentary from Robin Smith was the behind-the-scene story of what it takes to produce the Cambria Scarecrow Festival each October.

Rounding out the awards announcement, the Cambria Film Festival announced the winner of its annual Film Grant for Emerging Filmmakers. This year, the grant was awarded to Aiden Glikman, a junior at Chapman University in Orange, California.

The Cambria Film Festival is an official activity of the Cambria Center for the Arts, a non-profit dedicated to local arts. This year’s festival sponsors were James and Elaine Levin Anderson, Ami Belli (in memory of Nancy Green), William and Diane Franciscovich, and many other local businesses and individuals. The Festival will return in 2024 the weekend of February 7-11

For more information about the Festival, go to

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