San Jose International Short Film Festival to Honor Filmmaker James Gunn with “The Visionary Award”

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Gunn will also select the winner of the Inaugural “James Gunn Independent Filmmaker Award”

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I owe my life and my artistic career to growing up in the independent film world.

In recognition of his contributions to both independent and blockbuster films, the San Jose International Short Film Festival (SJSFF) will honor renowned filmmaker James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Belko Experiment, Slither) with “The Visionary Award” at their 8th annual Festival.

The honor recognizes a filmmaker’s unwavering integrity throughout their work in independent and blockbuster features, and recognizes true artists who dream big to reach unparalleled heights. Navigating the divide between massive-budget studio epics and smaller independent films is no small feat, but it is one that Gunn manages to accomplish without ever jeopardizing the integrity of his films.

As the festival’s guest of honor, Gunn will also review & select the winner of the inaugural “James Gunn Independent Filmmaker Award,” accompanied by a grant of $2,500 or more for the winner to make their next film. The award recognizes exemplary independent filmmakers who display immense potential in their craftsmanship and understanding of the filmmaking process; the winner will be revealed at the Festival Gala held at the Glass House in downtown San Jose on Saturday, October 22nd.

“I owe my life and my artistic career to growing up in the independent film world. Independent film opportunities are harder and harder to come by these days and I hope that this award helps to encourage unique creative voices,” said Gunn.

The 2016 edition of the SJSFF runs October 20th-23rd in the heart of Silicon Valley, showcasing an incredible lineup of more than 130 imagination-stretching short films from across the globe. As San Jose’s only film festival dedicated to short films, SJSFF showcases brilliant filmmaking in the short form- with the exploration of intriguing and innovative films. All officially selected films are eligible for the award, which have been narrowed to the Jury’s Top 10 Selections.

With years of experience in writing, directing and producing both independent and blockbuster franchise films, Gunn intimately understands the talented skill set necessary to produce short films. The winner will be selected personally by Gunn from the Jury’s Top 10 Selections from this year’s festival, and will also receive a grant of $2,500 or more toward their next project. Gunn will select the award’s winner for the festival’s next three years. Festival organizers cast a wide net in their search for the best short films from around the world, with official selections from Spain, Italy, South Africa, Ireland, New York, LA and more. Filmmakers from around the world will make the pilgrimage to Silicon Valley to represent their films at this year’s festival.

Bill Hargreaves and Sinohui Hinojosa, Co-Founders of the San Jose International Short Film Festival, say Gunn’s presence shows the festival’s commitment to bringing exceptional filmmakers to Silicon Valley and lighting the way for the next generation of world class independent filmmakers.“ We are incredibly excited to be launching the “James Gunn Independent Filmmaker Award”​ at this year's festival. These filmmakers repeatedly deliver such world class films and they deserve to be recognized. We’re honored to collaborate with James to help pave the path for the next generation of top tier independent filmmakers,” said Hargreaves.

As part of receiving The Visionary Award, Gunn will talk with an audience at the festival’s special event,
“A Conversation with Our Guest of Honor” on October 22nd.

Now in its eighth year, SJSFF has attracted worldwide acclaim. Ranked as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals “worth their submission fee” by MovieMaker Magazine, the San Jose International Short Film Festival has returned to deliver World Class Short Films, among previous years’ official selections have been Academy Award Nominated and BAFTA winning short films. It has become the home to rising independent filmmakers from around the world and an invaluable part of the Silicon Valley arts community.

A percentage of proceeds from Gala ticket sales will go towards the James Gunn Independent Filmmaker Grant. The award was made possible in part by Mammoth Pictures, a San Jose company.

Tickets for the Gala, Gunn’s Award Presentation and “A Conversation with out Guest of Honor” are available to the public for purchase at

CineArts Theater, Santana Row, 3088 Olsen Drive, San Jose, CA
Festival Gala: 2 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113
For Passes and Pricing:
Individual Block and Event Tickets:

SJSFF Co-Founder/Festival Director, Bill Hargreaves
bill(at)sjsff(dot)com or 408-316-7051

SJSFF Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Sinohui Hinojosa
sinohui(at)sjsff(dot)com or 408-898-4944
Twitter @SJSFF

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