Big Bear Lake, CA, September 24, 2013 – The 14th Annual Big Bear Lake International Film Festival (BBLIFF) wrapped up Sunday, and two locals are among the winners.

Big Bear City resident Steve Copeland took home the Audience Award for Best International Showcase. His documentary SHIFT OF THE AGES, which Steve co-wrote with Joseph Glove, was filmed in Guatemala and the USA. Commissioned on behalf of the Maya Nation of Guatemala, it explores Mayan culture and its prophecies of time, as told for the first time by Grand Elder of the Maya people, Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj.

Steve told KBHR, “Monika, Sandy and the rest of the team rocked! I’m grateful to have had the chance to share our film with the community. I made a lot of new friends, and I’m looking forward to watching the movies I didn’t get to see. My congratulations to all the other filmmakers, and to the community of Big Bear for embracing and supporting independent art. I’m excited for the 2014 Big Bear International Film Festival!” Steve is making his movie available to locals that may have missed it; watch it online or email the filmmaker for a DVD at

Part-time homeowner Brian Olliver scored twice with his first feature. GORGING won the Jury Award for Best Documentary and the Audience Award for Best Big Bear Connection Film. GORGING is an adventurous look at canyoneering, the sport of exploring canyons by hiking, swimming, climbing and rappelling. Relatively obscure, the sport gained recognition after the grisly accident of Aron Ralston, who severed his own arm while trapped in a canyon and became the subject of the movie 127 Hours. Gorging previously experienced an overnight spike in popularity by the late 90’s – in the wake of canyon accidents appearing on broadcast news, along with the advent of the internet – the sport became inundated with participants of all backgrounds and skill levels. Faced with a new era of participants, three influential pioneers — a canyoneering instructor, photographer, and guidebook author — each respond to a growing interest in this dangerous activity.

Brian said after taking home his trophy, “I’m thinking of the endless hours spent in the edit room bringing ‘Gorging’ to life. Many filmmakers will share my sentiment when I say that sometimes editing a film feels like you’re trying to solve the world’s hardest math problem. I can’t think of a better location to rack your brain than Big Bear – it’s a gorgeous backdrop and offers a much needed distraction of perfect weather and outdoor beckoning. At the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, it was an absolute honor to be recognized as a local filmmaker. But to win the ‘Big Bear Connection’ category was mind blowing. Based on the reaction to our film during the festival, I look forward to bringing ‘Gorging’ back to Big Bear for an additional screening in town.”

KBHR will announce screening details when they become available. A complete list of 2013 winners is below.

BBLIFF has twice been named by MovieMaker Magazine one of the best among approximately 5,000 festivals worldwide.

Jury Award – Best Feature Film – GORDON FAMILY TREE directed by Marc Hampson
Audience Award – Best Feature Film – AS HIGH AS THE SKY directed by Nikki Braendlin
Jury Award – Best Documentary – GORGING directed by Brian Olliver
Audience Award – Best Documentary – RUNNING FOR JIM directed by Dan Noyes & Robin Hauser Reynolds
Audience Award – Best Short Documentary – THREATENED: THE CONTROVERSIAL STRUGGLE OF THE SOUTHERN SEA OTTER directed by Bill Wisneski (Palomar College)
Jury Award – Best Short Film – THE COIN directed by Fabien Martolell
Audience Award – Best Short Film – TINKER directed by Justin Plummer III & Martin Strauss
Jury Award – Best Student Film – HELPLESS directed by Christene Hurley (University of North Carolina School of the Arts)
Audience Award – Best Student Film – PICTURE. PERFECT. directed by Winston Titus Tao (Chapman University)
Jury Award Best Cinematography – USAGI-SAN Cinematography by Paola Suhonen (AFI)
Jury Award – Best Family Film – COOTIE CONTAGION directed by Joshua Smooha (Florida State University)
Jury Award – Best Animation – WILL directed by Eusang Lee (California Institute of the Arts)
Audience Award – Best Animation – ADONIS directed by David Dibble
Audience Award – Best High School Film – IN THE SHADOW OF AN ARTIST: TIOS TACOS directed by Bethanee Hughes & Monica Lawless-Gomez (UCR ARTSblock)
Audience Award – Best Big Bear Connection Film – GORGING directed by Brian Olliver
Audience Award – Best 3D Film – CAPTURED MELODY directed by Melissa Garza (Chapman University)
Audience Award – Best International Showcase – SHIFT OF THE AGES directed by Stephen Copeland 

1st Place (TIE) – THE DECENT MAN written by Scott Robert Waldvogel & Matt DeMartini
1st Place (TIE) – WHERE THE GREEN GRASS GROWS written by Jeremy Elliot
2nd Place – BE MY EYES directed by Dustin Stevens
Honorable Mention – DISTANCE directed by Sally Brockway