top of page

Film Competition Winners



Directed by Winston Verdult

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Incandescent Film Festival! We were amazed by the quality and depth of this year's submissions, but these winners stood out for their unique visions, emotional resonance, and technical mastery. Thank you so much to everyone who submitted, and we look forward to seeing more work next year!


Chasm, a short film on the topic of toxic masculinity explores the internal struggles of young men who suppress their self-expression in fear of rejection and harassment. The film follows the character through his journey of self-actualization as he kills off his performative identity and accepts himself. I magnify the internal pain that men often feel as they contend with social expectations through physical and visceral representations of suffering. The piece was filmed in a five-hour block and I was tasked to pivot my production after the actor who was scheduled to star in the film canceled the night before due to COVID.  With limited time and an unmovable reservation at the sound stage, I took to the streets to find talent. After coaching a stranger who had never acted just minutes before filming, I helped him draw from his personal experiences contending with toxic masculinity to channel his emotions on screen. Despite these challenges, I was happy to capture a raw performance by coaching the main character throughout the process.

2nd Place

"The Denial of Death"

Directed by Juan Lizarraga

The Denial of Death tells the story of Fernando, a man whose wife has just died. We follow his journey through grief as he enters a black void where all the stages of this process are.

3rd Place


Directed by Maddox Chen

Maddox was inspired to make this film when he heard about the plaque that was being made to honor Francis Uyematsu. He had never heard of Francis Uyematsu before, and when he looked into him more, he was shocked to learn that Francis had previously owned all of Mira Costa's land, which is his high school, and the incredibly successful flower nursery he started. Francis Uyematsu had an immense impact on this community but wasn't really given the recognition he deserves, which motivated me to make the documentary. With this film, Maddox hoped to spread awareness of Francis’ legacy and impact in the United States. He was an Asian American that was able to overcome a lot of adversity and achieve great success in a country that was against him. Francis became a pillar of his community, and Maddox believes that his story is an important and inspiring one to tell, especially for Asian Americans.

bottom of page