From A Late Quartet to the Silver Linings Playbook and all the gems in-between, the 35th Starz Denver Film Festival rolled through another fabulous 11 days. To ensure that all those gems in-between don’t go overlooked, here are the 2012 Award winners with titles linked to official sites. This will hopefully reveal how to go about seeing the films outside of the festival circuit. Though, that should be a lesson to you not to miss these films when SDFF puts them right in your backyard.
Starz People’s Choice Awards
The Narrative Feature award went to Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires, about four gorgeous young Aboriginal women who sing their hearts through the chaos of 1968, with that sweet Motown sound.This crowd-pleasing film will certainly find its way into a wide release.
The Documentary Feature award went to T.C. Johnstone’s Rising from Ashes, about cyclist Jock Boyer helping to build a team in Rwanda with struggling genocide survivors. It’s narrated by Forest Whitaker and local composer Chris Joye provided additional music for the score.The filmmakers have made it possible for community organizers to host screenings, which offers an interesting way to see the film.
The award for Short Film went ASAD from director Bryan Buckley about Somali youth torn between obligation to family and the call of the open sea, adventuring as a pirate. The film is making the rounds, globally, at film festivals and with great acclaim, which will hopefully get the short some kind of distribution or release.
The Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Foreign Feature Film was bestowed to the Swiss film Sister from Ursela Meier. The film is the Swiss entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2013 and if nominated will at the least expand its limited theatrical release in the U.S. The Jury’s statement on the film:
“A well crafted narrative that explores the highs and lows of a complicated familial relationship with authentic performances, supported by grand cinematography, pulls you into the unfamiliar world of a childhood thief whose only constant is the love shared between him and his “sister.”
The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film winner is Ben Shapiro’s wonderful portrait of a brilliant photographer: Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters. Crewdson’s elaborate photography is created like small independent films for a single photograph and Shapiro gracefully conveys the artist’s meticulous passion. The Jury’s statement:
“A film that at first seems like a simple portrait of an artist, but actually touches on deep and complex issues facing suburban America today through provocative photographs.”
The New Directors Award went to David Fenster for his film Pincus, about a mis-intentioned slacker, Pincus Finster. The film is a deeply personal, yet humorous search through the director’s semi-autobiographical narrative. The Jury’s statement:
“For its artful mix of fictional and documentary elements, its unsentimental depiction of terminal illness and thirtysomething underachievement, and its playfully deadpan look at alternative medicine and the quest for human connection, the New Directors Award goes to David Fenster’s Pincus.”
The Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award went to Gina Atwater for her film Crossing. The Jury’s statement:
“For it’s subtle, yet powerful, story of racial injustice and overall excellence in all aspects of its filmmaking…”
“… the vibrant images and interwoven poetry and music (bring) to life an uncommon story using an uncommon animation technique of painted glass…”
The Liberty Global International Student Short Award went to Thomas Stuber for his film, Of Dogs and Horses. The film also won the foreign (Germany) category at the Student Academy Awards. The Jury’s statement:
“For it’s inspired performances – both human and animal – its fatalistic humor, & the immersive world it creates…”