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The winners of our Stylist Short Cuts Competition are here!

23rd April 2021
By Caroline Lichnewsky

 ***Congratulations to the winners of The Stylist Short Cuts Competition***


Our competition The Stylist Short Cuts Competition ✂️ has recently come to an end and we couldn’t be more excited to reveal our winners!


As a quick reminder, this competition was supported by the team behind The Stylist (currently available to stream on ARROW) and aimed at discovering, celebrating and promoting female filmmakers within the Horror film industry. One of the main criteria for this competition was that all entries shall be written or directed by a woman, trans or non-binary filmmaker. The Stylist Short Cuts Competition✂️ included five categories – Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Performance and Best Short Film.



Without further ado, we’re pleased to reveal the winners 🏆…


Best Short Film:

1st place 🥇: UNSAFE SPACES - Connor Sandheinrich

2nd place 🥈: REPTILE HOUSE – Tristan Risk

3rd place 🥉: BEDBUG – Zoe Holmes & Patrick McDonald


Jill Gevargizian (director, co-writer & producer of The Stylist) shares some special words at the attention of the top 3 Best Short films of the competition:

“It is really inspiring and impressive to see the wide variety of perspectives and types of stories that were submitted.  

In UNSAFE SPACES writer/director Connor Sandheinrich perfectly captures how scary an instance like this can be, by letting it play out in what feels like real-time.  I’ve been there before.  I know a lot of us have.  It’s an exciting reminder of how a very simple idea can be extremely effective and really resonate with an audience. 

REPTILE HOUSE is like Tristan Risk’s spin on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which is right up my alley, all while being completely 110% her brand.  Risk has a clear style both narratively and stylistically that is all her own, you know it when you see it, and that is not an easy feat. 

I was captivated by the slow and tense feeling of Zoe Holmes and Patrick McDonald's BEDBUG.  The ending had my mind reeling - there are so many different explanations for why *this* has happened and I love that it leaves us wondering.”


Best Cinematography:

1st place 🥇: ATTENTION – Armaan Virani

2nd place 🥈: BEDBUG – Patrick McDonald

3rd place 🥉: REPTILE HOUSE – Jordan Barnes-Crouse


On behalf of The Stylist judging panel, Robert Patrick Stern (director of photography & producer of The Stylist) expresses his good words towards the top 3 Best Cinematography shorts of the competition:

ATTENTION runs the horror visual gamut. From well-timed movement to lighting and great color contrast, this short establishes Nora Unkel and Cinematographer Armaan Virani as a pair to keep a close eye on.

The black and white Bergman-esque images of BEDBUG, set the tone immediately. Cinematographer Patrick McDonald's beautiful compositions set us up for a lovely twist and well-rounded shout-out to the swedish legend!

Working with a hot lamp color pallet and a constant serpentine camera, Cinematographer Jordan Barnes-Crouse punched REPTILE HOUSE up a level. This type of tailoring and design helped us slither our way to a fun ending!”


Best Performance:

1st place 🥇: TICKS - Gabriella Piazza

2nd place 🥈: THE CURSE - Meaghan Cooper

3rd place 🥉: BLOODHOUND - King Ghidorah the Dog


Sharing her enthusiasm, Najarra Townsend (lead actress & producer of The Stylist) has been really impressed with the top 3 Best Performance shorts of the competition:

“While every good film is the combined efforts of many people, the performances are often the first thing we think of. A bad performance can instantly take you out of a film, while a good performance can pull you in and allow you to not just watch the film but really experience the film.

This is very much the case with Gabriella Piazza in TICKS. Her performance was natural, funny and made me feel like I knew that girl. I wanted to keep watching her. I always find the mark of a good actor is when I want to see more. And with Gabriella Piazza I will definitely be looking out for more of her work. 

I had a similar feeling with Meaghan Cooper in THE CURSE. Her natural and sassy performance drew me in and made me remember being that age. It’s always exciting to see new young talent and I hope we see more of Meaghan Cooper. 

My final stand out performance was from King Ghidorah the Dog in BLOODHOUND. As you may know if you’ve seen THE STYLIST, I’m a fan of talented chihuahuas. I know first hand that being a dog actor isn’t always easy and KG really shined in his role as Mr. Bubbles. I also have to give a shout-out to the voice actor, Luke de Ayora, who voiced Mr. Bubbles perfectly. 

Congratulations to these 3 and to all the other talent from all the other categories!”


Best Art Direction:

1st place 🥇: ATTENTION – Deidra Catero

2nd place 🥈: REPTILE HOUSE – Ariel Slack

3rd place 🥉: TICKS - Brittany Snyman


Sarah Sharp (production designer & producer of The Stylist) is keen to highlight the achievements of the top 3 Best Art Direction of the competition:

“Art Direction can be wrapped up in a variety of ways, from set dressing, to wardrobe, to color stacking, and beyond to create an image that moves you in some way. 

ATTENTION achieved the Best Art Direction achieving this very definition - the team created a world within this bedroom that moved me. 

As a Runner Up, REPTILE HOUSE focused our attention in a different way, keeping the production close to the actor with great Costume Design.

And of course, my Honorable Mention would go to TICKS who did an incredible job utilizing the natural world to create a high production value piece with great Props and FX.”


Best Editing:

1st place 🥇: UNSAFE SPACES – Nathan Shapiro

2nd place 🥈: BEDBUG – Zoe Holmes & Patrick McDonald

3rd place 🥉: ALCHEMIA – Matthilde Carlier & Amanda T.


Last but not least, John Pata (editor & producer of The Stylist) is excited to praise the top 3 Best Editing shorts of the competition:

“Every now and then, I get asked “what exactly is editing?” My answer is always the same; editing is everything. Editing can make or break a laugh, a scare, or a tender moment. Editing steers the audience into what they should be feeling. Especially when it comes to genre filmmaking, the editor should further facilitate panic, anxiety, fear, and dread. Knowing when to cut, when to hold, when to reveal, and when to let the actors and scene breathe is crucial to the edit. Editing doesn’t have to be flashy or constant to be successful. Sometimes restraint is an editor’s best tool. 

Case in point, UNSAFE SPACES. Editor Nathan Shapiro created such tension with very little happening on-screen, and I mean that with all due respect. Shapiro’s edit embraces and enhances Unsafe Spaces’ tone and packs it with suspense. The film as a whole is a shining example of how you can do so much with the simplest set up, one that will leave you thinking and feeling. And you can thank the editing for the tightness in your chest.

Just as BEDBUG pleasantly unfolds a mystery while building atmosphere and the edit of ALCHEMIA fosters a surrealist, disorienting experience, each edit leaves a unique fingerprint on  its film and no edit is ever the same, and thankfully, we the audience get to reap the benefits. Congrats to all the editors, the often unsung storytellers. You keep editing, we'll keep watching.”



And now for your viewing pleasure, here are the winning short cuts 🏆:

UNSAFE SPACES - Directed by Connor Sandheinrich


REPTILE HOUSE - Directed by Tristan Risk


BEDBUG - Directed by Zoe Holmes & Patrick McDonald


ATTENTION - Directed by Nora Unkel


TICKS - Directed by Chloe Carroll


THE CURSE - Directed by Ellie Stewart


BLOODHOUND - Directed by Sophia Cacciola


ALCHEMIA - Directed by Natacha Thomas



A final congratulations from the ARROW & The Stylist teams to all our winners and everyone who participated in this competition. It was our pleasure to review all your submissions and we’ve been really impressed by the quality and creativity of your work!