“Sanctuary” wins Fusion Doc Challenge

The documentary Sanctuary has won the 2016 Fusion Doc Challenge at the Slamdance Film Festival. The film (pictured), by directors Ashley Seering and Cory Byers profiles an abandoned church that was given ...
January 25, 2017

The documentary Sanctuary has won the 2016 Fusion Doc Challenge at the Slamdance Film Festival.

The film (pictured), by directors Ashley Seering and Cory Byers profiles an abandoned church that was given a second chance.

While Sanctuary took top prize, Seeking Shelter by James Goldberg was given an honorable mention. The short flick looks at the current system in place to deal with Los Angeles stray dog population and the people who are fighting to improve the system.

Filmmakers had five days to produce their short films from start to finish. They could choose when to take those days to make their film between August and November.

The finalists also get to attend the Los Angeles premiere at the Audience Awards Film Festival on Friday, April 7 at the El Portal Theatre.

The top 12 films, which premiered at Slamdance are listed below:

  • The People by Fernando Lara. In a time where the citizens of the United States are so divided, this film explores how the people protesting President-elect Donald J. Trump are planning to make their voices heard, while having hope for a brighter future.
  • Cowgirl Up by Nathan Willis. A cowgirl from Mississippi pursues her lifelong dream to be the first African-American woman in the National Finals Rodeo.
  • On the Wall, Off the Chain by Greg Carlson. Adam Turman is a gentleman in everything he does: bicycles, art, and family.
  • Beacons by Whitney Skauge, Drew Daly, Channing Nunn and Taylor Lennox. Beacons delves into the thoughts and reactions of six LA-based artists in the aftermath of the historic 2016 presidential campaign.
  • Open Exhibition by Bobby McCallen and Tommy Tang. An exploration of Seattle street art that follows painters, stencilers, and taggers to find out what makes the art of graffiti both empowering and controversial.
  • Mo Freaka by Joey Vokac. Jacksonville hip hop artist “MO’FREAKA” recently quit his job at the Lumber Yard in hopes of becoming a globally renown rapper.
  • Rimas by Christopher and Kyle Ransom. A visual exploration of the relationship between technology and human connection through the sharing of experiences.
  • Blind Soccer by Kai Ho Lee. Blind Soccer is a short documentary about a newly formed youth blind soccer team going to China’s capital Beijing and competing for the national championship for the first time despite all the difficulties they face in their lives.
  • Astonishing by Annalise Pazstor, Mattie Bayne, Mo Thompson and Paul Phou. In the wake of the 2016 election, college students reflect on protest, art and the country’s divide.
  • En Pointe by Matthew Kaplowitz. David Baxter is destroying stereotypes by showing that a 6′ 3″ 280 lb man can be a ballet dancer and burlesque superstar, spreading body positivity through his art.

This is the third annual Fusion Doc Challenge, which asks young talent around the world to create a short-form doc that revolves around common values and passions of youth. The winner receives a cash prize and the top 12 finalists get the opportunity to see their work distributed across Fusion’s television and digital platforms for the next 18 months.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.