Jordan Ressler First Feature Award

Filmmakers making their narrative feature film debut will compete for a jury-selected cash prize of $10,000 in the Jordan Ressler First Feature Award Competition.  The cash prize was created by the South Florida family of the late Jordan Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter and Cornell University Film Studies graduate who, during his brief entertainment career, held production positions with the Tony Award-winning Broadway hits 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal and Jersey Boys. Jordan Ressler passed away in a tragic accident at the age of 23.

The first four nominees for the Jordan Ressler First Feature Award competition have been announced. These four titles will screen at GEMS 2018 (October 11-14, 2018)

Portugal | Directed by Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt

A delirious off-beat comedy about the world’s premiere soccer star and underwear model who tumbles from grace due to an evildoer’s plot. Winner of the 2018 Grand Prix NESPRESSO at La Semaine de la Critique, Cannes.

Paraguay | Directed by Marcelo Martinessi

Two upper-class women who have discreetly been a couple for more than 30 years go through a crisis when their worsening financial situation forces them to begin selling off their family heirlooms, and one partner goes to jail for fraud. Winner of numerous international prizes, including the Alfred Bauer Prize and Best Actress for Ana Brun at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival.


Spain | Directed by Marta Díaz de Lope Díaz

Winner of Audience Award at 2018 Malaga Film Festival, an uproarious screwball comedy in the spirit of early Almodóvar films. When the devout Carmen is passed over for leadership of her local religious guild in southern Spain in favor of a man, her initial despair turns into determination to turn the tables on this sexist situation.

Italy | Directed by Damiano D’Innocenzo & Fabio D’Innocenzo

Two teenage boys living in the suburbs of Rome fall into service of the local mafia, but their loss of innocence takes them to unexpected places. Winner of the prestigious Nastro d’Argento (Silver Ribbon), Italy’s National Syndicate of Film Journalists Award, for Best First Feature Film of the Year.


Jordan Ressler First Feature Competition Recent Past Winners

2018 | CUSTODY by Xavier Legrand (pictured above)

2017 | LITTLE WHITE LIE by Tomás Alzamora

2016 | FROM AFAR by Lorenzo Vigas

2015 | THEEB by Naji Abu Nowar and Bassel Ghandour*

2014 | MATEO by Maria Gamboa and Adriana Arjona*

2013 | SO MUCH WATER by Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge


* Prior to 2019, Jordan Ressler awardees were given to the film’s credited screenwriters.