Recap of the 2015 Hot Shot Shorts Contest

The Hot Shot Shorts Contest has completed another successful year. The purpose of the Contest is to provide sponsorship and monetary support to an exceptional local short film script that might not otherwise have the opportunity to be made into a film. The Contest was founded by Ed Brando (William F. White International Inc.), Paul Armstrong (Celluloid Social Club), Aaron Houston (‘Sunflower Hour’) & Scott Campbell. Started back in 2006, the contest has directly contributed to making six successful films.


This year’s winner and the contest’s seventh film is “Counter Act” by The Affolter Brothers, a team of four brothers who co-wrote the script. Together they will also produce and direct the film when it is slated to go into production this coming January with $10,000 of cash and additional production services the Contest Sponsors are providing.

“We are humbled, thrilled, and honoured that ‘Counter Act’ has been selected as the 2015 Hot Shot Shorts Contest winner! We’re extremely excited about sharing this story and hope it will be a film that contributes to the ongoing dialogue regarding relevant issues such as acceptance and equality. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the Hot Shot Shorts Contest, including the Producers, judges, generous sponsors, and other filmmakers. There have been some truly amazing films produced by the contest in the past, and we will strive to maintain the incredibly high standard set by the previous winners. We couldn’t be more elated!”

– Nathan, Jon, Heath and Thomas Affolter (The Affolter Bros.)


At two Celluloid Social Clubs events, writers submitted 77 scripts of up to 13 pages each. The scripts covered many genres from comedy to sci-fi. Initial judging was based solely on the merits of the script and its film-ability with the contest’s resources. From the 77 entries, our Team of Judges long listed 16 scripts to move onto a second round.

The 2015 Hot Shot Shorts Contest Long-Listed Scripts are:

  1. A Calculation by Zach Mosley
  2. A Time to Travel by Chad Costen
  3. A-51 by Donald Altamirano
  4. Counter Act by The Affolter Bros
  5. Grace by Ranj Gill
  6. Hedda’s Dressing Room by Olesia Shewchuk
  7. Just Words by Ryan Bright
  8. Lucy Dies by Andrea Bang
  9. Pebbles by Justin Neal
  10. Rear Ender by Jackie Blackmore
  11. The Idea Factory by Carol Phiniotis
  12. The Tortoise by Ben Rollo
  13. The Untitled Bach Inspired Project by Agam Darshi
  14. The Virgin by Kristyn Stilling
  15. Thicker Than Water by Larissa Thompson and Erin Sneath
  16. Trying by Shauna Johannesen

From this list, the Judges were given the difficult task of selecting 5 finalists who were required to put together a package and live pitch their film to the Judges. Due to a scoring tie in this round of judging we ended with 6 top scripts.

The Hot Shot Shorts Contest 2015 Finalists are:

WINNER: Counter Act by The Affolter Bros

When Alice, a naive young woman having lunch in a diner circa 1960, joins Mary and Ray in their “sit-in” protest, the ire of the racist patrons boils over and Alice learns what it truly takes to stand up for what you believe in.

RUNNER UP: A-51 by Donald Altamirano (Producer Philip Planta)

A boy, accompanied by his rusty, old service droid, battles his way through a dangerous, post-apocalyptic world in search of his mother.

A Time to Travel by Chad Costen (Producer Timo Puolitaipale)

A time travel experiment creates a black hole that slowly destroys the Earth. The scientist responsible then spends the next thirty years improving the technology so that he can physically return to the past and kill his younger self, hoping to save the world from his future mistakes.

Just Words by Ryan Bright (Co-Director Jeremy Lutter, Producer Marena Dix)

Twenty-five years after being caught kissing around on the playground, Zachary vows to win back his childhood love by becoming the perfect man. Who knew not being a loser could be so hard?

The Idea Factory by Carol Phiniotis (Producer Lisa Ovies)

Six genius scientists are brought together and given an opportunity to make a difference in the world by participating in a risky experiment. They link their minds together through a futuristic interface and formulate solutions to the world’s biggest problems. But they soon find they cannot unhook from the machine to share their solutions with the world and are trapped in the middle of nowhere in The Idea Factory.

Trying by Shauna Johannesen (Producers Lulu Pan and James Danderfer)

An impulsive decision becomes an obsession for a saucy high school teacher and her husband as they race against time to have a baby before her eggs turn to fossil dust.


The finalists were then read at a special Hot Shot Shorts edition of the Cold Reading Series to a very responsive live audience at the Backstage Lounge on August 24.


Pitch day was on August 30 at the Anza Club. Pitching to ten Judges is a nerve racking experience but all of the 6 Finalists did an amazing job of presenting their projects. In the end, it was very difficult for the judges to pick the winner. Thank you to all of the finalists for their hard work!


A very special thanks to our:

Finally, the Contest would like to thank all of the writers who  submitted scripts this year and those who have submitted scripts in the past. Writers are truly the ones who make this contest possible.

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