Breakout Film Challenge – Winners Announced

Breakout Film Challenge – Winners Announced

The winners of the 2011 IFP Phoenix Breakout Film Challenge have been announced!  On the evening of November 18th the Phoenix Art Museum was packed with almost 500 people, and the 8pm screening was sold-out to see the 17 films created for the 7-week challenge.

 After a frenzy of tabulating the audience favorite ballots, the awards ceremony began in the Great Hall to announce the winners and give out award certificates.  We would like to congratulate ALL teams for creating their films, and creating a buzz in our community that has made this such a successful filmmaking event.

Top 10 Films

  1. Come Follow Me *
  2. Awesome Guy: A New Identity *
  3. RESET *
  4. Headless
  5. Wish You Were Here
  6. Should’ve Been an Engineer
  7. Project: BLU Wire
  8. Lionhearted
  9. A Brief Side Step
  10. The 2 Coolest Ninjas to Ever Kick it at Lincoln University * (Audience Favorite)

* Films winning prizes

Specialty Awards

  • Best Trailer: Headless
  • Best Poster: Lionhearted
  • Best Use of Theme: Wish You Were Here
  • Best Actor: Mario Guzman in Awesome Guy: A New Identity
  • Best Actress: Nathalie Cadieux for Come Follow Me
  • Best Ensemble: The 2 Coolest Ninjas to Ever Kick it at Lincoln University
  • Emerging Actor: Dakota Battle
  • Best Overall Technical Elements: Headless
  • Best Visual Effects: RESET
  • Best Cinematography: Should’ve Been an Engineer
  • Best Story: Jessica Marquis for Awesome Guy: A New Identity 
  • Best Director: Devon Dresback for Come Follow Me

More About The Winners

1st Place Film - Come Follow Me – Directed by Devon Dresback

In a country school classroom, a German teacher (Nathalie Cadieux) is struck by the boredom of her students during a routine reading session. Desiring to have a lasting impact on these young, impressionable minds and encourage them to not take their youth for granted, she turns to fresh surroundings and deeply personal reflections in order to ignite the infinite realm of possibilities available for the taking. Her efforts are rewarded by the unexpected inspiration of one adventurous boy (Dakota Battle) and his friends (McKenzie Burke, Austin Pedersen).

Director’s Statement: Come Follow Me is the result of an IFP Breakout Film Challenge. After reviewing the “themes” we were able to choose from, I decided to go with “Don’t let life pass you by”. The production lived up to its name of being a “challenge” as most films are but we had a great team that worked well together. One funny story was finding enough kids to fill the classroom. We were a few shy since we were filming 2 hours from our hometown. So, a couple of us hit up a local soccer game and recruited more than enough children that showed up in full wardrobe 90 minutes later very excited to be in our film!

2nd Place Film - Awesome Guy: A New Identity – Directed by Bob Marquis

Awesome Guy and his sidekick, Lady Justice, are Megaopolis’ devoted superheroes, fighting crime and saving lives. When city budget cuts leave them without jobs, they are suddenly plunged into the world of unemployment. Venturing for their first time into the job market, they attempt to answer the question: Can a superhero truly leave that life behind?

Director’s Statement: This is a tough time for a lot of us. If we haven’t lost our jobs, we know someone who has, and we’ve seen how demoralizing it can be. Awesome Guy may be great at fighting crime, but when he is forced to redefine himself, he goes through the same “square peg 

in a round hole” feeling regular humans experience. This is a film about the lost and the found, the journey of unemployment, and what it feels like to find meaning in one’s work. And how tough it can be to leave behind the life of a superhero.

3rd Place Film - RESET – Directed by Trevor Spotted Eagle

When his fiancée Summer died, it was the worst thing that could have happened to Leo. Realizing that he had let life pass him by, Leo has spent the last nine years regretting his mistakes. Stealing a prototype time-travel device, Leo now has the ultimate chance to change the past and reset his timeline. But time research company’s unscrupulous CEO and embattled security chief are determined to stop him. Can Leo fight them – and time itself – to save Summer’s life?

Director’s Statement: I’ve always wanted to explore the concept of time travel, but when I wrote the script I didn’t want the film coming out like your same old time travel story. I thought, “If someone stole a time device where would they go” then I went the complete opposite direction.

Audience Favorite - The 2 Coolest Ninjas to Ever Kick it at Lincoln University – Directed by Craig Whittle

On week 2, five cliché college students ranging from the “hot girl” to the “jock” attend Ms. Cotton’s mundane Speech 101 class, expecting just another boring night. But they’re about to experience their two newest classmates: a couple of guys who call themselves “ninjas” and wear trench coats, sunglasses and ninja headbands. The ninjas encompass some interestingly humorous qualities and wish to unveil a hidden secret of Ms. Cotton’s. Tonight may not be such a boring class after all.

Director’s Statement: We had a blast making this film and audience members will have a blast watching it. The title says it all.



Best Director: Devon Dresback for Come Follow Me


Starting at a young age, Devon Dresback was interested in digital filmmaking. He has been seriously writing and directing films since 2006. Traveling to many locations across the country, he’s shot commercials, Adventure Races and reality and educational shows. He has participated in several competitions creating short films including one-shot films, musicals and period pieces. His work has consistently won awards, the first being at the age of 18. COME FOLLOW ME was his first short film shot on RED in association with Apairus Company.




Best Story: Jessica Marquis for Awesome Guy: A New Identity 

Jessica Marquis is a screenwriter, author, and cartoonist who holds an undying belief in creativity in storytelling and collaboration in filmmaking. Working together with her husband Bob Marquis, she has written and produced numerous short films, featuring an eclectic mix of humans and inanimate characters. 

Jessica was the winner of “Best Writer/Story” in 2009 for the IFP/PHX Beat the Clock awards for the Sailbear stop-motion short film ROCHAMBEAU; in addition, she is the writer of the short film AN UPLIFTING TALE, chosen by ScreenVision and Harkins Cinemas to be shown throughout Valley Harkins Cinemas during Fall 2010.

Jessica is the author of the book Raising Unicorns: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Running a Successful – and Magical! – Unicorn Farm (Adams Media). In addition, she is the Director of Operations for Sailbear Labs, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching filmmaking to youth, as well as the Co-Director of the IFP/PHX Screenwriters Group

Best Trailer: Headless – Directed by Paul Hudson

Paul Hudson is a producer/director with over 25 years experience. Paul has
produced and directed projects from national commercials to small independent
shorts. He has been awarded by his peers in every field he has produced for
including Clio’s, Telly’s, Auroras, American Advertising Federation, South by
Southwest, Dove’s and many other awards. Paul is the co-owner of Lizardland
Film • Video • HD, LLC based in Chandler, AZ with offices in Dallas, TX.

Headless - Teaser Trailer
View count

Best Poster: Lionhearted – Directed by Tim Marin

In the near future, young Alexander’s father Dale is called away to war. During Dale’s absence, a nuclear attack nearly takes the lives of Alexander and his mother Karen. After escaping their city to safety, they struggle to survive in a post apocalyptic world with the hopes that Dale will return from war. Alexander adapts to the situation and discovers his inner bravery, becoming much more than just a little boy.

Director’s Statement: I find the idea of a post apocalyptic society very interesting. A city where we live and feel so safe can so easily be destroyed, but the human spirit cannot. When I looked over the theme choices for the Breakout Film Challenge, one stood out to me: big things come in small packages. I felt that a young boy would make the best protagonist for this story because we are often surprised at how courageous children can be.

Best Actor: Mario Guzman in Awesome Guy: A New Identity

Mario Guzman is a multiple award-winning actor best known for his realistic, and uncanny natural approach to his characterizations on film. He grew up performing lead roles in theater productions throughout his school years. In middle school, Marioattended the Bobby Ball Academy where he studied professional film acting. He was considered a professional actor by 1986 where he began his film career as an extra and stand-in for Keanu Reeves and others in a film called “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. He continued on to win a guest starring role on Nickelodeon’s “H

ey Dude”. He also won a lead role over several hundred other teenagers in Dreamstreet Film’s “Killing time” all while securing lead roles on stage. After theatrical productions in college, he decided to live and study his life, and start a career in medicine. He had an 18 year hiatus from film on his life’s journey of self discovery, which deepened his talent for realism. His first resurgence into the independent film arena in 2008 won him a “Outstanding individual performance” twice for his performances in “The Sweet Science”, and “Revelation 24:40″ at the Almost Famous Film Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. He recently won a best acting award at the Philadelphia Project 21 Film festival in 2010 for his gritty and intense performance in the drama, “Tension Of Skin”.

Best Actress: Nathalie Cadieux for Come Follow Me

Nathalie Cadieux comes from Montreal, Quebec and recently graduated from ASU with a degree in theater. She has performed around the valley with theater companies such as Cookie Company, Chyro Arts, SW Shakespeare and Arizona Jewish Theater, just to name a few. Nathalie is represented by the Ford Agency.

Emerging Actor: Dakota Battle

Dakota Battle portrayed both characters in the film “Two Kids in a Field” directed by Benjamin Bates, as well as the film “Come Follow Me” directed by Devon Dresback.  His performace in both films captured the attention of judges, and was nominated for his outstanding work.

Dakota Battle is twelve years old and attends Highland Junior High. He has been acting for approximately three years both on film and on stage. He has worked with East Valley Youth Theatre and has done some commercials, such as for ‘Play n Trade Video Store.’ He has a passion for acting and also thoroughly enjoys directing and editing his own short films. Dakota is also a natural on the computer and is fluent in Final Cut Pro, Photo Shop, and Sony Vegas among other programs. His hobbies include buying and repairing broken game systems, online gaming and spending time with friends and family.

Best Cinematography: Should’ve Been an Engineer

Jason Smart is a freelance editor and motion graphics artist in Phoenix, Arizona. He studied directing and production at Biola University in Southern California and has shot and edited over 100 webisodes, promotional videos, and motion graphics projects for various clients.  While at Biola Jason was selected as the director for the 2008 Biola Film Gary and in 2009 Jason wrote, produced, and directed his senior thesis film Intrusion. Intrusion was selected by Panavision to receive the Young Filmmaker’s Grant and the film was shot over five nights in downtown Los Angeles during the spring of 2009. The film won Best Thriller Film at the 2010 Biola Film Festival and was an official selection at the Ruby Mountain Film Festival in Elko, Nevada. Currently he works for CS Chandler as the Video Arts Director and is actively producing spots for his commercial directing reel.

Our Partners

Thank you to the following festivals and partners who are providing prizes to our winners.