Letter from Pia Cruzalegui – Founder, Director

Open Letter from the founder

Open Letter from the founder

A big THANK YOU to this year’s filmmakers and video artists for permitting me to introduce their stories to an audience as diverse as their works. Choosing the works for exhibition and screening for this year’s event was challenging due to the number of high quality films and video art coming from all corners of the world. As founder and director of the Festival, I am deeply committed to bring the best to my audience.

Moving forward, I have laid out a plan to branch out into a traveling Film Festival. Accomplishing this mission will take some time but I am excited at the possibility to bring these and future films to multiple cities. Hope you accompany in this journey as I will making future announcements.

About this year’s TOFF second annual: I am very proud of this year’s edition due to the common thread that ties together everyone’s work; that of an imminent plea for attention. Attention to the global chaos, to basic human rights, to poetry, to our existence, to migrant conditions, troubled domestic issues and to the mistreatment of our planet along with playfulness. Films and video art that like Ariadne’s thread are puzzling, defy logic and question ethics while tangling and disentangling stories, unraveling the storyteller’s concerns.

This year’s Twisted Oyster Film Festival opened with a successful three week Video Art Exhibition, which took place at ACS Gallery in Chicago. The opening showed the 53 video art works by artists from 31 countries in 6 separate projections.

The TOFF team acknowledges the following works:

Sexteto (2016) by Coral Pereda (Spain), Sipofene (2016) Alexis Andrea Grain Hayton and Zazil Collins (Mexico), Retox (2016) Elana Elmer, Those Drawn Alive (2014) by Jukka-Pekka Jalovaara, Moonstone (2016) by James George Oshoba,

Director’s special mention:

Intangible Body (2016) by Emelie Mahdavian, Berceuse (2015) by Sarah Ouazzani, No Woman (2015) by Yama Rauf, Transitions (2016) Ana Barroso, and Live Action (2016) Lidiya Huzhva

The Festival was followed by an incredible programming covering drama, suspense, LGBTQ, documentary and animation and would like to recognize the following films with laurels of merit in production:


People’s Choice : Cheers Maestro by Andrew Kanivchenko (Russia)

Directors Choice: Abduction by Jose antonio Ayala Galindo (Mexico)

Juror’s Choice: Survival by Masoud Tatami (Iran)


People’s Choice: Let You Help You by Ivette Dumeng (USA)

Director’s Choice: The System which We Accepted by Manickam (India)


People’s Choice: Inside the Wolf’s Belly: Adventure of Little Red Cap by Lidiya Huzhva (Ukraine)

Director’s Choice: New Moon by Andrea Prado (Brazil)


People’s Choice: Bekendor by Anastasia Kharchenko (Ukraine)

Director’s Choice: Bekendor by Anastasia Kharchenko (Ukraine)

Juror’s Choice: A minute by Javier Macipe (Spain)


People’s Choice: Balance, Hermit by Pei Hsein Cho (Taiwan)

Director’s Choice: Insolation by Lea Fabreguettes

Juror’s Choice: darKleto by Gaetano Accettulli (Italy)


People’s Choice: The Scared One by Romain and Thibault Lafargue (France)

Director’s Choice: CRASPEC by David LeMeur (France)

Juror’s Choice: The Scared One by Romain and Thibault Lafargue (France)

Special Merit to the youngest filmmaker in this year’s event:

Inside of Us by Miranda Pla (USA)

We also appreciate the collaboration of the invited filmmakers whose short films opened each program:

The Leap by Yale Yang (USA), Sea Child by Minha Kim (UK), Sexteto and This Is All You Need to Know by Coral Pereda (Spain) and Chekov by Jack Dunphy (USA).

In addition to great films and video art works, TOFF conducted its first outreach program and invited 15 young artists from a local Chicago school and their teachers for an afternoon of Video Art and Experimental Filmmaking. This event gave young curious minds insights into what is video art with an interactive presentation lead by Coral Pereda, this year’s invited video artist, and we will reunite with the group once again to continue the exploration of video as a medium for art.

Last but not least, the Twisted Oyster Film Festival deeply appreciates the support of the following individuals and organizations for their support and sponsorship:

ACS Gallery (Renee VaVerne Rose), Comfort Station, Daniel Shaughnessy, Barry Irwin, Capri Graphics, Josh Turk, Carlos Llerena Aguirre, Raul Benitez, Gina Kelly, Iffat Asana, Malika Jackson, Chanel Thomas, Shirley Stevens, Leif Nesse, Josh Hecker and Nando Espinosa Herrera. Without their support, the second annual Festival would have not been possible. I take this moment for a special shout-out to Joanna Benitez from Rent-A-Center at Montrose Avenue for her splendid and rarely found “can-do” attitude.

The Film Festival celebrates films and filmmakers that inspire and entertain while providing an opportunity to connect with their stories, their environments and for inviting us to take a peak into the magic of filmmaking. For this, I would like to extend my gratitude to all filmmakers and video artists: Thanks for sharing your craft, artistry, sensibility to story telling, whether rendering a traditional narrative or breaking down a tale into metaphors.


Pía Cruzalegui

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