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First Annual FilmDayton awards to be presented at festival


The FilmDayton Awards are a special event as part slated for 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25 at The Neon. Tickets are $9. The full festival schedule is available online at

A major addition to this year’s FilmDayton Festival is the introduction of a trio of awards aimed at recognizing film makers who are dedicated to making this region a film-making hub.

Award recipients will be recognized at a special ceremony at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 at The Neon movie theater.

This year’s recipients were selected by members of the FilmDayton board of trustees; in the future nominations will be open to the community. Winners will receive a glass sculpture designed by DVAC artist Susan Cannon that is reminiscent of the Muybridge galloping horse that became the first “moving picture.”

The awards and this year’s winners are:

  • The Filmmaker Award – A lifetime career award for excellence in film making.

JULIA REICHERT of Yellow Springs has been called “a godmother of the American independent film movement.”

Her film “Growing Up Female” (with Jim Klein) was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement and was chosen for inclusion on the National Film Registry. Her films “Union Maids” and “Seeing Red” (with Klein) were both nominated for Academy Awards for Best Feature Documentary, as was “The Last Truck” as a Short. Her film “A Lion in the House” (with Steven Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award and won the Primetime Emmy for “Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Film making.” It also premiered on HBO, and at the Telluride Film Festival. Reichert co-wrote and directed the feature film “Emma and Elvis,” produced the feature “The Dream Catcher.”

Reichert is co-founder of New Day Films, the social issue film distribution co-op, which is now 40 years old. She is author of “Doing It Yourself,” the first book on self-distribution in independent film and is Professor of Motion Pictures at Wright State University in Ohio. Her new film “Sparkle” (with Steven Bognar) recently won the audience award for best short at the SilverDocs film festival.

  • The Key Award for special service to the regional film community.

JOHN MAYS grew up in Fairborn and was one of the first to enroll in Wright State University’s motion pictures program. He now lives in Cincinnati.

He has worked on “Blue Car” (Assistant Producer and Key Grip); Emmy Winning Doc “A Lion in the House” (Sound Designer and Sound Editor); “Deadbeat at Dawn” (Production Manager); PBS Documentary “Oregon Stories” (Producer and Editor) and the recent indie release shot in the Miami Valley, “True Nature” (Assistant Producer).

  • The Innovation Award recognizes emerging artists in the local film community.

DAVE ACKELS is a filmmaker, cinematographer and director who lives in Dayton. He has worked on a wide range of projects over the past 23 years ranging from skateboard videos to work on Academy Award-nominated films.

Ackels continues his tradition of experimentation with his current web series, “Absorb,” an ongoing project that follows and documents local skateboarders, their lives and their abilities.

Ackels has directed films for companies including Oakley Sunglasses and Element Skateboards and filmed for projects by MTV and DC Shoes. He was also an assistant editor on the Oscar-nominated short film documentary, “The Last Truck,” and is a two-time recipient of the Miami Valley Artist Fellowship. His work has screened at the Wexner Center for the Arts and various film festivals.