Best of the Midwest Awards, VML, Huge Detroit news

Today, The Midwest Independent Film Festival announced their nominees for The Best of the Midwest Awards Celebration, which recognizes the premier films and filmmakers featured throughout the 2017 season at the Midwest Independent Film Festival.

The BMA nominees

Best Music Video:
   HOT SHIT, directed by Andre Muir for Towkio
   LSD, directed by Sam Bailey for Jamilia Woods
   PULASKI AT NIGHT, directed by Natalie Morales for Andrew Bird
   SHAME, directed by Ashley Rockwood for Jess Godwin
   SPECIAL MOMENT, directed by Max Moore for Post Animal

Best Short Film:
   MIRIAM IS GOING TO MARS, directed by Michael Lippert
   RAP SKOOL, directed by Nnamdi Ngwe
   REKINDLED, directed by Erin Brown Thomas
   STARVING ARTISTS, directed by Jeff Hadick
   TANYA, directed by Monica Raymund

Best Actress
   Amanda Drinkall, THE VIEW FROM TALL
   Amy Pietz, HALFWAY
   Ann Sonneville, MIRIAM IS GOING TO MARS
   Fawzia Mirza, SIGNATURE MOVE
   Kiah McKirnan, TANYA

Best Actor
   Eamonn Walker, TANYA
   Michael Patrick Thornton, THE VIEW FROM TALL
   Nnambi Ngwe, RAP SKOOL
   Patrick Blanton, PRONOUNS
   Tim Lyons, GENTLE DAN

Best Editing
   Felix Piniero, SIGNATURE MOVE
   Jesse Roesler, FREEDOM RIDE
   Michael Paulucci, PRONOUNS
   Savannah Cannistraro, THE GOOD WORK

Best Cinematography
   Christopher Rejano, SIGNATURE MOVE
   Joel & Jesse Edwards, DUST TO DUST
   Stephanie Dufford, THE VIEW FROM TALL
   Tari Segal, TANYA

Best Animated Film
   SENATAUR, directed by Alec Pinkston
   DIE FLUCHT, directed by Carter Boyce
   WHERE IT FLOODS, directed by Joel Benjamin
   LINGUA ABSENTIA, directed by Kate Raney and Jeremy Bessoff
   OPEN CARRY, USA, directed by Ron Fleischer

Best Screenplay
   Ben Caird, HALFWAY
   Caitlin Parrish, THE VIEW FROM TALL
   Haroula Rose, LOST AND FOUND
   Terrence Thompson, DRIVE SLOW
   Tim Mason, DEJA VU

Best Director
   Erica Weiss and Caitlin Parrish, THE VIEW FROM TALL
   Jennifer Reeder, SIGNATURE MOVE
   Michael Lippert, MIRIAM IS GOING TO MARS
   Monica Raymund, TANYA
   Samantha Bailey, BROWN GIRLS

Best Feature Film
   DAVE MADE A MAZE, directed by Bill Watterson
   HALFWAY, directed by Ben Caird
   SIGNATURE MOVE, directed by Jennifer Reeder
   THE LEGEND OF SWEE PEA, directed by Benjamin May
   THE VIEW FROM TALL, directed by Erica Weiss and Caitlin Parris

This year’s celebration will take place at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark Street in Chicago. Tickets will be available soon. Voting ends at 12:00pm on Monday, November 27th. Winners are determined by their screening committee vote and the public vote. You can vote by clicking here.

VML new hires

VML announced two senior level hires in its Chicago office.

Melissa Barany
Melissa Barany

Veteran producer Melissa Barany has joined VML as Executive Producer. She will be tasked with managing production for the Chicago office while reporting to Tyler Smith, head of production, North America. Barany leaves EnergyBBDO, where she served as Executive Producer for six years, overseeing integrated global production for multiple SC Johnson brands.

Hilary Burns
Hilary Burns

Hilary Burns also joins VML Chicago as Group Director, Client Engagement and will report to chief client officer Chuck Searle. For Burns, this follows three years at SapientRazorfish, where she served as director of client services and was responsible for the agency’s Wrigley, Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, Bayer Healthcare and Panera Bread accounts.

Huge Detroit welcomes Raupp as new ECD

Huge Detroit hired Dwayne Raupp joins Huge Detroit as its new Executive Creative Director, the agency announced yesterday.

Dwayne Raupp
Dwayne Raupp

Raupp spent a year at GTB, where he co-lead the agency’s invention design studio, Kinetic Optimism Studio, as Senior Vice President.

Prior, he served as Co-Chief Creative Officer at Enlighten, leading its experience design group and then became managing director for Perficient Digital when Perficient acquired Enlighten.

Agency Spy reports that he will report to Huge Detroit Managing Director, Ranae Heuer and Global Executive Experience Director, Derek Fridman.

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.