Sci Fi

Sci fi short ‘Odessa’ takes home Grand Jury Prize at Gasparilla International Film Festival

You smell that in the air right? If not take another sniff (unless you are in Southern California then you may want to consider a gas mask) but yes our friends it’s festival season! While many of you deviants will be heading towards Dallas this weekend for TFW there are plenty of others out that are worth your time. One of those is the Gasparilla International Film Festival and it was announced earlier this week that Michael Turrell’s ODESSA won their prestigious Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film. Why should you care ? Well because not only is this a stellar short but it is also a first pitch episode for a possible series. So in the future when you are looking to binge watch a new program on HBO, AMC, Netflix or whatever platform this may end up on you can remember you heard us talk about here at HMU! We have some goodies for you to see from the short including a review from our lead guy in charge Travis Brown.



Usually I look at a short film as a limited experience but from the start I could tell ODESSA was so much more. The backdrop of the film has a post apocalyptic beauty that can only be rivaled by films like THE ROVER, THE ROAD and of course the MAD MAX franchise. ODESSA brings it closer to home and the idea of a separation of Texas from the union is something that ups the realism factor. As beautiful as our world can be there is an underlining of what is to come if we don’t adapt and leave behind our primitive morals and values. ODESSA exploits this to the fullest and draws you into a future where even the free are being held captive by the rules of the land. Not only do I want to seem more of ODESSA I feel that this could be the type of show that could change our way of thought in the future. For those reasons this has to be developed further. ODESSA is a stellar short that leads the viewer on a journey that they will never forget.

4.5 / 5

-Travis Brown (Horror Movies Uncut)


Odessa, by American and Canadian award-winning team Sean Michael Turrell (director), Doug Johnson (writer) and producers Grace Santos & David Moscow, premiered at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Florida in the presence of the cast and crew. The team brought home the Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film.

Aside from its crisp production value, Odessa – a short film mind you – accomplished what the majority of today’s features lack: It made me think, feel, and most importantly, want to explore more of the world the filmmakers and actors created”, says Joe Belcastro of the Florida Film Critics Circle and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, a member of the Gasparilla International Film Festival 2015 Grand Jury.

The Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) was listed by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for both 2013 and 2014.  GIFF is part of Gasparilla Arts Month (Music, Art, Film) in Tampa/St.Petersburg Florida where over 100,000 arts patrons are expected each year for all the events over the month of March.  In 2015, 60 features and 70 short films were screened. The 2015 Grand Jury consisted of Leslie Cohen (HBO’s Vice President of Film Programming), Stacey Schroader (editor of FOX’s “The Last Man On Earth” and HBO’s “Eastbound and Down”), and others.

Odessa is a quiet and powerful dystopian drama that slowly gives up its secrets.  A mother makes a strangely familiar and lethally dangerous border crossing in order to save her ailing daughter’s life.  But she turns out to be crossing OUT of the US and into the Sovereign State of Texas, which has seceded from the union and controls most of the deeply impoverished USA’s petroleum supply.

“The goal of Odessa is neither to vilify nor sanctify Texas, simply to challenge our own identity and the far-reaching effects that seismic shifts and partisanship can have in a new gilded age”, explains the writer Doug Johnson.

Apart from being a stand-alone short, Odessa also serves as a pitch-episode for a serial drama consisting of more characters than are in the film.

“I’m excited about the various characters Doug is creating.  The unique post-apocalyptic world is cool and is one of the reasons I purchased the screenplay and have persuaded Doug to write a series treatment, but the characters are what will draw audiences into the story”, adds actor/producer Grace Santos.

Odessa will have a market screening at the Cannes’ Short Film Corner this May 2015, along with two other of Grace Santos’ productions: A Tricky Treat (directed by Patricia Chica) and Election Night (directed by Tessa Blake).

Odessa Trailer:

Odessa’s Credits:

Cast members are Ricky Wayne (The Walking Dead), Grace Santos (Dhoom 3), Will Haze (Banshee), and Anthony Escobar (Prison Break).

Directed by Sean Michael Turrell of Toronto Canada (

Written by Doug Johnson of New York (

Produced by Grace Santos and David Moscow (who plays the young Tom Hanks in Big and stars inNewsies opposite Christian Bale) of Los Angeles, Doug Johnson of New York, and Andrew Shebay of Austin

Co-Produced by Marisa Mojica & Lorena Mojica of Mexico

Associate Produced by Patricia Chica of Montreal and El Salvador (

Cinematography by Stephen Chung of Toronto Canada (

Edited by J Deschamps of Toronto Canada (

Official Website:

Social Media:




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