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Blue/s on Video

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

ESMoA's 2021 Video Art + Film Festival selections have been announced and will be available for viewing December 1 through 3.

By Maureen Kingsley

Local art laboratory, exhibition space, and cultural center ESMoA announced last month its final selections for the 2021 ESMoA Video Art + Film Festival, an annual, international celebration of short film and video art. Of 456 submissions spanning 74 countries, 30 will be screened online at from December 1 through December 3 and in person at ESMoA on December 4 at 3pm.

The thirty 60-second-long selections comprise 10 entries each within three categories: Animation, Film, and Video Art. Each centers on the theme “blue/s,” which is also the name of the current art experience occupying ESMoA until the end of March 2022.

Eugenia Torre serves as the festival’s official curator; she is also director of information and media at ESMoA. “I love this festival,” she says. “Curating it is a way of mentally traveling the world.” She takes great pride in the number of submissions that arrive from literally all over the globe, including the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Australia. She adds that while the film festival was “conceived in 2017 as a platform for local, amateur filmmakers,” it quickly grew international in scope and popularity.

“One element of our festival that sets it apart from others,” Eugenia explains, “is that entering is free of charge. Another is our video-art category.” She says video artists are grateful for the opportunity to participate, as avenues for sharing their work are limited.

This year, Eugenia adds, a full one-quarter of entrants to the festival identify as female, which is more than in years past, she notes.

The final selections, listed below, were determined by a panel of five judges, each an artist or creative in his or her own right, and each from El Segundo or the greater Los Angeles area. These judges culled ten selections per category from a larger pool of roughly 30 per category pre-selected by Eugenia, who watched each and every one of the 456 submissions that arrived by the deadline.

“It was really interesting to see how filmmakers interpreted the idea of blue/s in so many ways,” Eugenia shares, “including as a color, a mood, as music, and as water.” Some filmmakers connected the theme to “feelings of melancholy and the COVID-19 pandemic,” she adds.

Now in its fifth year, the festival does see a number of repeat filmmakers submitting year after year. “We get to see the evolution of their work over time,” Eugenia says of this group. “We get to know them.”

From the 30 final selections chosen by the jury to be screened at the beginning of this month, top award winners will be named on December 4 at the in-person event at ESMoA, including a fan-favorite “Audience Award” selection chosen by viewers. (Register for free online to view films and cast a vote at Winners receive a plaque designed by Los Angeles artist Pilar Castillo and made from black walnut wood (native to Southern California) and resin.

Pilar Castillo stands against a blue wall displaying her walnut and resin EVAFF award plaque.
Los Angeles-based artist Pilar Castillo designed this year's award plaque.

The official poster for this year’s festival (pictured at top of page) was designed by Los Angeles-based artist Kiani Wish. The image itself serves as the cover artwork for this issue of The El Segundo Scene.

“This abstract poster image was conceived through experimentation with liquid, ink, foam, salt and light,” Kiani explains, “then photography, and finally, digital collage! The forms, shapes, and hues represented in the work attempt to encapsulate the ever-present yet intangible existence of the color blue in our lives.”

One of Eugenia’s favorite aspects of the annual film and video art festival is the sense of community it fosters among artists from diverse backgrounds and places. She speaks of what a privilege it is to head the program and interact with creators of all sorts from around the world. “We receive notes of thanks and comments from people so grateful for the opportunity to share their work,” she says. “It is really special.”

Register online at to view all thirty 60-second 2021 ESMoA Film + Video Art final selections between December 1 and 3. Vote for your favorite online.

Interested in attending the live, in-person screening at ESMoA on December 4? Contact ESMoA at 424-277-1020.

The official selections that will be screened at the 2021 Video Art + Film Festival: BLUE/S are:

Animation Category

• Birdhouse by Wilbert Wilbrand van Veldhuizen – Netherlands

• Bloody Jackboots by Leila Ahang – Islamic Republic of Iran

• Blue by Paulina Jaklik – Poland

• Inexistance by Ehsan Majooni – Islamic Republic of Iran

• Living by Cesar Diaz Melendez – Spain

• Non-Existent Space by Cristian Pintilie – Romania

• So Sick by Emma Emily Daelman – Belgium

• The Gardener by Athina Georgia Koumela – Greece

• There will be Dramatic Irony by Omer Safa Umar – Turkey

• What you Fish For by Yann Carrillo – United States

Film Category

• BLUE/SPECTRUM by Liesel Kopp – United States

• Down in the Blue by Theo Kuzenda – United Kingdom

• Fatalis by Vyacheslav (Slavik) Bihun – Ukraine

• Protector by Abdul Hamid Mandgar – Afghanistan

• Rain by Xiaoyin Xie – United States

• Tear by Eiraj Afkar – Islamic Republic of Iran

• The Right to Do Sport For All Women by Pouria Heidary Oureh – Islamic Republic of Iran

• The Survivor by Ahmad Mokari – Islamic Republic of Iran

• Unlocked by Camille van Wessem – Australia

• Usted dira' - I'm listening by Ignacio Rodo' – Spain

Video Art Category

• Akw angra by Alexander Bauer – Germany

• Believe by Mohammad Zandsalimi – Canada

• Bend by Beck+Col – United States

• Cycle of Quarantine by Elif Turan – Turkey

• Dark World by Gaoussou Tangara – Mali

• Digital Recollection by Aristeidis Koutoulogenis – Greece

• Lullaby for a Pandemic by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster – United States

• R136A12A00FF420255x Blue Planet by Pauline Maure and Victoria Aime – France

• SHIBARI-X by Santiago Bazan – Argentina

• Status Quontinuum by Guido Devadder – Belgium

The members of the 2021 ESMoA Video Art + Film Festival Jury are:

Matthew Anderson, a visual artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.

Julie Fishman, a writer and producer of short films, comedy sketches, web series, television pilots, and podcasts.

Luella Hill-Kim, an actor turned writer and producer originally from Detroit.

Michael Masarof, a writer and director born in New York who resides in Los Angeles.

Brenda G. Williams, an art advisor and independent curator specializing in emerging contemporary artists.

Five individuals pose in ESMoA's gallery with the EVAFF award plaque.
Eugenia Torre (center) is pictured with members of the 2021 EVFF jury panel.

Read more about artist Kiani Wish, who created the artwork for the film festival's official poster, here.

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