Winners Announced for the 2012 LA Film Festival

A scene from All is Well

A scene from 'All is Well' - Photo © LX FILMES

The Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent, announced the winners of this year’s festival today at an awards brunch in downtown LA. Pocas Pascoal’s All is Well picked up the top prize in the narrative film competition, with Dominga Sotomayor’s Thursday Till Sunday earning an honorable mention. In the documentary category Everardo Gonzalez’ Drought was chosen as the winner of the 2012 Documentary Award. The directors of All is Well and Drought were each awarded $15,000 cash prizes.
 
“Every single filmmaker in this year’s Festival deserves kudos for their artistry and compelling stories. Our juries had such gems to choose from in each competition and the winners truly represent what we hold dear—diversity and uniqueness of vision,” stated Festival Director Stephanie Allain.
 
Added Artistic Director David Ansen, “In an extremely competitive year, our juries had hard choices to make. The winning films are wonderful examples of what the Festival celebrates: bold, fresh, personal visions that expand the horizons of independent cinema.”
 

LA Film Festival 2012 Award Winners:

Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)

Winner: All is Well directed by Pocas Pascoal
Producer: Luis Correia
Cast: Ciomara Morais, Cheila Lima, William Brandao, Vera Cruz
Film Description: (Portugal) Strangers in a strange land, two beautiful Angolan sisters fleeing a civil war in their homeland struggle to survive in Lisbon. Pocas Pascoal’s deeply personal saga shows us the face of exile with quietly stunning power.
The Narrative Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 funded by Film Independent, offering the financial means to help filmmakers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition, and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all narrative feature-length films screening in the Narrative Competition section were eligible.

In bestowing Pocas Pascoal with the Narrative Award, the Jury stated:
All is Well, a Lisbon-set exploration of the immigrant experience and, especially, of the bond between siblings, is a work of striking visual eloquence and emotional honesty. As sisters navigating a new country, together and separately, Cheila Lima and Ciomara Morais deliver performances of searing intimacy. Filmmaker Pocas Pascoal has transformed her personal story of exile from Angola into a deeply affecting drama, whose cinematic power if particularly impressive in the work of a first-time feature director.”

Honorable Mention (for Best Narrative Feature)

Film Title: Thursday till Sunday directed by Dominga Sotomayor
Producers: Gregorio González, Benjamin Domenech
Cast: Santi Ahumada, Emiliano Freifeld, Francisco Pérez-Bannen, Paola Giannini
Film Description: (Chile) With uncommon beauty and style, this Chilean road movie finds a family at a crossroads, as the daughter slowly realizes the divide between the adults in the front seat and the kids in back.


In bestowing Dominga Sotomayor with an Honorable Mention, the Jury stated:
Thursday Till Sunday masterfully uses landscape to convey interpersonal dynamics with keen sensitivity and insight. Unease and awakening are indelibly entwined in the film’s deceptively simple family road trip, creating a nuanced and elegiac coming-of-age story. The debut feature of Chilean writer-director Dominga Sotomayor is evidence of an exciting new talent.”

Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)

Winner: Drought directed by Everardo González
Producer: Martha Orozco
Film Description: (Mexico) Contrasting the lives of a cattle-ranching community with the arid northeastern Mexican landscape that surrounds them, this cinéma vérité documentary paints a poetic portrait of a community on the verge of distinction.

The Documentary Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 funded by Film Independent, offering the financial means to help filmmakers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition, and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all documentary feature-length films screening in the Documentary Competition section were eligible.

In bestowing Everardo González with the Documentary Award, the Jury stated:
“The jury found Drought to be a film of extraordinary caliber—epic in scope, keen and intimate in its observational perspective, beautifully filmed and edited with a sparse and affecting soundscape. Through this powerful film, the story of a remote Mexican community grappling with a growing drought becomes a universal parable and an alarming harbinger.”

Best Performance in the Narrative Competition

Winner: Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, E.J. Bonilla and Aja Naomi King in Joshua Sanchez’s Four.
Film Description: Over the course of a steamy 4th of July night, a father and daughter, each trapped in loneliness, reach out for sexual connection — he with a self-hating teenage boy, she with a smooth-talking wannabe homeboy — in this psychologically complex, beautifully acted drama.

In bestowing the actors with the Best Performance, the Jury stated:
“Commanding and utterly unforced, the ensemble cast of Joshua Sanchez’s Four inhabit their characters with compelling specificity. At the same time, their pitch-perfect collaborative energy honors and deepens the tone of the material. As lonely individuals in various states of crisis, Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, E.J. Bonilla and Aja Naomi King are fearless in the vulnerability they bring to their roles.”

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

Winner: Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin
Producers: Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry
Film Description: This stunningly imaginative, boldly original film follows six-year-old Hushpuppy as she fights to protect her father and their unique way of life in a remote, dreamlike area of the Delta threatened by apocalyptic floods.

This award is given to the narrative feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select narrative feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Narrative Competition, International Showcase, Summer Showcase, Community Screenings and The Beyond.

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives, directed by Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore
Producers: Sara Lamm, Mary Wigmore, Kate Roughan, Zachary Mortensen
Featuring: Ina May Gaskin, Stephen Gaskin, Pamela Hunt, Farm Midwives past and present, Kristina Kennedy Davis
Film Description: Ina May Gaskin and the courageous midwives of the Farm commune inspired the modern midwifery movement. This beguiling documentary tells their empowering story with depth, intelligence and wit.

This award is given to the documentary feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select documentary feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: Documentary Competition, International Showcase, Summer Showcase and Community Screenings.

Audience Award for Best International Feature

Winner: Searching for Sugar Man directed by Malik Bendjelloul
Producers: Simon Chinn, Malik Bendjelloul
Featuring: Rodriguez
Film Description: Years after facing into obscurity at home, the music of ‘70s U.S. singer/songwriter Rodriguez became an underground sensation in South Africa. Decades after his disappearance, two fans uncover the startling truth behind the legend.

This award is given to the international feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select international feature-length films, both narrative and documentary, screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best International Feature: Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, International Showcase, Summer Showcase and The Beyond.

Best Narrative Short Film

Winner: The Chair directed by Grainger David
Producers: Spencer Kiernan, Caroline Oliveira
Cast: Khari Lucas, King Hoey, Martha F. Brown
Description: A young boy questions the origins of a mysterious mold outbreak that threatens to destroy his town.

In bestowing Grainger David with the Best Narrative Short Film Award, the Jury stated:
“Grainger David’s narrative short, The Chair, is a lyrical, gorgeous meditation on death, grief and resilience as filtered through a young boy’s fluid memory. Set in the humid American south, and filmed on landscapes that are familiar, on one hand, and rendered as poetic dreamscapes, on the other, the short film is ultimately a moving coming-of-age film in which a family tragedy nudges its young protagonist to muse on matters that have concerned great minds throughout the ages — religion, family, morality, and the ways in which we are all connected.”

Best Documentary Short Film

Winner: Kudzu Vine directed & produced by Josh Gibson
Description: This ode to the kudzu vine poetically highlights its ties to the history and the people of the South.

In bestowing Josh Gibson with the Best Documentary Short Film Award, the Jury stated:
“Quite often, documentary filmmakers take a literal, visually straightforward approach to their subject matter, sidestepping experimentation with the language of cinema. Director Josh Gibson’s Kudzu Vine was not only filled with information on the sturdy kudzu vine —it’s history; the many and unexpected uses for it — but employed a visual style perched somewhere between gothic and otherworldly. Hugely educational and wonderfully stylistic, Kudzu Vine is this year’s winner for Best Documentary Short.”

Best Animated/Experimental Short Film

Winner: The Pub directed by Joseph Pierce
Producer: Mark Grimmer
Description: (England) Life isn’t easy behind the counter of a North London pub.

In bestowing Mark Grimmer with the Best Animated or Experimental Short Film Award, the Jury stated:
“The jury prize for best animated/experimental short goes to Joseph Pierce’s The Pub, a haunting portrayal of everyday life in a bar in North London, seen through the eyes of a lonely bartender. At times, striking beautiful and at times, terrifyingly grotesque, the imaginative and exquisite use of animation gives the film its depth and opens up a door into the humanity of the regular characters of this joint — loners, drunks, old-timers — letting us peak for an instant into their souls and the demons that hover around them.

Audience Award for Best Short Film

Winner: Asad directed by Bryan Buckley
Producers: Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura, Rafiq Samsodien, Matt Lefebvre, Kevin Byrne, Hank Perlman
Cast: Harun Mohammed, Ibrahim Moalim Hussein, Ali Mohammed, Abdiwale Mohmed Mohamed, Mariya Abdulle, Najah Abdi Abdullahi, Mustafa Olad Dirie, Mohamed Abdullahi Abdikher, Abdi, Sidow Farah, Sahied Nuur Mahamed, Ahmed Dhadane Jimale, Hussein Abdi Mohamed, Isa, Mohamed Abdul, Ikram Hassan, Yasmin Abdi Mohamed, Maymum Abdi Mohamed, Sadia Hassan, Meade Nichol
Description: A young boy in a war-torn Somalian village faces a moral dilemma.

Awarded to the short film audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system. Short films screening in the Shorts Programs or before Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, or International Showcase feature-length screenings were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Audience Award for Best Music Video

Winner: Piranhas Club directed by Lex Halaby
Music: Man Man
This award is given to the music video audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system.

Source: Los Angeles Film Festival

Rebecca Murray

Editor in Chief at ShowbizJunkies
Journalist covering the entertainment industry for more than 13 years. Member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and San Diego Film Critics Society.

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