“Every single film in the Festival rocks and I love that an international film and a local film received kudos today. They represent the breadth of our programming and our commitment to supporting unique voices around the world,” said Festival Director Stephanie Allain.
Added artistic director David Ansen: “Our jurors had hard choices to make this year and their discussions were at an incredibly high level. I thank them for their thoughtful work and salute the winners. I think we had a banner crop of competition films at the festival. All our filmmakers are winners in my book.”
LA Film Festival Award Winners:
DIRECTV Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)
Winner: Mother, I Love You directed by Janis Nords
Producer: Alise Gelze
Cast: Kristofers Konovalovs, Matiss Livcans, Vita Varpina, Indra Brike, Haralds Barzdins
Film Description: Like a lot of children, 12-year-old Raimonds has his quiet side, his talented side (he plays saxophone at a music school), a mischievous streak and a resourcefulness born of desperation. Often on his own while his single mom works, and routinely at odds with her when they do spend time together, Raimonds finds thrilling companionship in Peteris, a boy who steals money from one of the apartments his mother cleans. Raimond’s increasingly dangerous decisions will have thorny repercussions for him and those close to him. Latvia
The Narrative Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 funded by DIRECTV, 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.
DIRECTV Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)
Winner: Code Black directed by Ryan McGarry
Producer: Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Film Description: Continually understaffed, under-budgeted and overrun with patients, public hospital ER waiting rooms are by definition seas of misery. The ER of the old L.A. County Hospital+USC Medical Center, which was the first academic Department of Emergency Medicine in the US was, by all accounts, a war zone.
Code Black follows a team of young, idealistic and energetic ER doctors during the transition from the old to the new L.A. County as they try to avoid burnout and improve patient care. Why do they persist, despite being under siege by rules, regulations and paperwork? As one doctor simply states, “More people have died on that square footage than any other location in the United States. On a brighter note, more people have been saved than in any other square footage in the United States.”
Best Performance in the Narrative Competition
Winner: Geetanjali Thapa in Kamar K.M’s I.D.
Film Description: The feature directorial debut from Indian filmmaker Kamal K.M. may be called I.D., but this drama has less to do with individual identity than it does our shared personal connection. A carefree young woman living in Mumbai named Charu is visited by a painter who’s been hired to do a touch-up to one of her apartment walls. But when the man falls unconscious, Charu discovers that she alone must attend to this stranger, first getting him to the hospital and then trying to discover who he is. India
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Winner: Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Producers: Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor
Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Keith Stanfield, Rami Malek
Film Description: Working with at-risk youth in a foster care facility, Grace never knows when things might suddenly go sideways. Likewise, Destin Daniel Cretton’s film keeps viewers off-balance starting with its brilliantly staged opening scene, rarely allowing a moment’s peace before another crisis erupts. Having reached a critical juncture in her relationship with her boyfriend Grace is pushed to her breaking point by the arrival of Jayden, a girl whose troubled home life parallels the one she endured.
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Winner: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, directed by Grace Lee
Producers: Grace Lee, Caroline Libresco, Austin Wilkin
Featuring: Grace Lee Boggs
Film Description: Intimate and inspiring, Grace Lee Boggs’ story is one of a lifelong work for social justice and equality. Born into a middle class Chinese immigrant family and educated at Barnard in the 1930s, the young Grace soon noticed the inequities in American society and spent the next eight decades working to change the status quo, becoming an icon of the African American movement. Using her advanced education and intelligence not to accrue vast wealth but to work towards the betterment of all people, Boggs became a true American hero.
At 97 she continues to work tirelessly to educate and activate Americans, young and old, to work for the changes in which they believe. Director Lee (no relation) gives us a writer, activist and philosopher as she works her way through decades of social and political upheaval, inspiring all the way.
Audience Award for Best International Feature
Winner: Sony Pictures Classics’ Wadjda, directed by Haifaa Al Mansour
Producers: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
Featuring: Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf
Film Description: This rousing, pioneering gem–not only the first Saudi Arabian feature shot within the Kingdom, but the first ever directed by a woman–focuses on a remarkable 10-year-old girl named Wadjda, who sets her sights on buying a beautiful green bicycle so she can race her friend Abdullah through the suburban streets of Riyadh. But in this conservative society, virtuous girls don’t ride bikes, and her mother forbids it. The rebellious Wadjda decides to raise the money herself – by entering a Koran recitation competition at her school. The troublemaker must pose as a pious, model student to achieve her goal. Germany/Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates
HONOLULU FILM OFFICE AWARD for Best Narrative Short Film
Winner: Walker directed by Tsai Ming-Liang
Producer: Chen Kuan-Ying
Cast: Lee Kang-Sheng
Description: In this stunning meditative piece, the walking pace of a monk measures up against the bustling streets of Hong Kong. China
HONOLULU FILM OFFICE AWARD for Best Documentary Short Film
Winner: Stone directed by Kevin Jerome Everson
Producers: Madeleine Molyneaux, Kevin Jerome Everson
Description: A real-time documentary of a street hustler running a betting game of finding the ball under one of the three caps.
HONOLULU FILM OFFICE AWARD for Best Animated/Experimental Short Film
Winner: Oh Willy… directed by Emma De Sweaf, Marc James Roels
Producers: Ben Tesseur, Nidia Santiago
Description: Fleeing a nudist colony where he witnessed his mother’s passing, Willy has an unexpected encounter. Belgium/The Netherlands/ France
Audience Award for Best Short Film
Winner: Grandpa and Me and a Helicopter to Heaven directed by Åsa Blanck and Johan Palmgren
Producers: Åsa Blanck
Description: An unsentimental young boy goes on a final excursion with his grandfather to collect chanterelle mushrooms. Sweden
Audience Award for Best Music Video
Winner: Katachi directed by Kijek/Adamski
Music: Shugo Tokumaru
This award is given to the music video audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system.
Source: Film Independent
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