Well, that was fast! Like all good times, the 2017 LA Film Festival has seemingly come and (very nearly) gone faster than seems humanly plausible. Could it really be that—as of this time next week—the Festival Lounge will be no more, reduced to a simple patch of green grass at the foot of business-as-usual Culver Studios? Or that the ArcLight will be suddenly vacated of Festival fare, replaced by the deafening whooshes and booms of summer movie season?
But not quite yet—there are prizes to be given out first. Handed out June 22 at a mid-morning brunch on the Festival Lawn hosted by LA Film Festival Director Jennifer Cochis, the awards brunch celebrated jury prize honorees from the Festival’s U.S. Fiction, World Fiction, Documentary, Nightfall and LA Muse categories. Audience Awards were also presented for Fiction Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film and Web Series.
As 2017 Spirit of Independence award recipient Miguel Arteta said, quoting his late father, “A lo hecho, pecho. No matter what happens, keep going,” adding, “people have a craving for honesty and authenticity and they come to independent films for that”—a motivating fact of life for this year’s Festival and its filmmakers. Here are this year’s winners:
The U.S. Fiction Award went to Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell for Becks, which made its World Premiere at the Festival.
The U.S. Fiction Cinematography Award presented by Aputure, which awards $4,000 in lighting equipment to a winning Director of Photography, went to cinematographers Christian Sorensen Hansen and Pete Ohs for Everything Beautiful is Far Away, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members: Duncan Birmingham, Riley Stearns and Emily Ting.
The World Fiction Award went to Diego Ros for The Night Guard (El Vigilante) which made its North American Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members included Caroline Graham, Lincoln Jones and Javier Fuentes-León.
The Documentary Award went to Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp for Liyana, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members included Katherine Fairfax-Wright, Paul Federbush and Matt Holzman.
The LA Muse Documentary Award went to Mark Hayes for Skid Row Marathon, which made its World Premiere at the Festival.
The LA Muse Fiction Award went to Savannah Bloch for And Then There Was Eve, which made its World Premiere at the Festival.Jury Members included Susan Burke, Juan Iglesias and Kimrie Lewis-Davis.
The Nightfall Award went to Amanda Evans for Serpent, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members included Jimmy Tsai, Clarke Wolfe and Andrew Curry.
Best Short went to A Funeral for Lightning, directed by Emily Kai Bock. The award for Short Documentary went to Black America Again, directed by Bradford Young. Jury Members included Kim Adelman, Jonni Cheatwood and Naomi Ladizinsky. Special Jury Mention for Excellence in Storytelling went to Balloonfest, directed by Nathan Truesdell.
The Audience Award for Documentary Feature Film was given to Skid Row Marathon, directed by Mark Hayes.
The Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film went to The Keeping Hours, directed by Karen Moncrieff.
The Audience Award for Short Film went to Swim, directed by Mari Walker. The Audience Award for Web Series went to High & Mighty, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada.
Additional Special Jury prizes went to actor John Carroll Lynch (Anything), documentarian Billy McMillin (The Classic), actress Kate Nhung (The Housemaid), director Hong Sangsoo (On the Beach Alone at Night), actress Auden Thornton (Beauty Mark) and filmmaker Bruce Thierry Cheung (Don’t Come Back from the Moon).
Source: Matt Warren for Film Independent Blog