VIRGIN MOUNTAIN, DEMOCRATS, MEN GO TO BATTLE, UNCERTAIN WIN TOP AWARDS IN JURIED WORLD COMPETITIONS; DOOR INTO THE DARK WINS THE BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® STORYSCAPES AWARD
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SWORN VIRGIN WINS THIRD ANNUAL NORA EPHRON PRIZE
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FESTIVAL AWARDS $175,000 IN CASH PRIZES
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Last afternoon, I got an email in my inbox from Lapacazo with an invite for the Tribeca Film Awards party, announcing the winners of its competition categories. Well, how could we say no? We canceled whatever else was on our calendars and arrived at TFF’s creative hub, Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios. With a very intimate cocktail party preceding the award show, environment was abuzz with enthusiasm, joy and free booze. I caught up with Lapacazo who was chatting with Marco Kalantari and Danny Shayler from wonderful short film from the festival Shaman. And soon after the hilarious Michael Rapaport was on stage, who was hosting this wonderful event.
The winners of the narrative and documentary competition were awarded from the World Narrative and World Documentary sections of the official Festival lineup, which consists of 12 narrative and 12 documentary films from 19 countries. Best New Director prizes were awarded to first-time directors in the narrative and documentary categories, from a pool of 26 feature films. It was also announced that, beginning this year, the new name of the Best New Documentary Director Award going forward will be called The Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award, which was awarded tonight by Philip Maysles and Sara Maysles, the beloved filmmaker’s children.
Awards were also given for the best narrative, best documentary, and student visionary films in the short film competition.
In addition, the Festival announced The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Storyscapes Award, created in collaboration with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin, and the Nora Ephron Prize, sponsored by Coach.
This year’s Festival included 101 features, 60 short films, five immersive storytelling projects from 38 countries.
The winners of the Audience Awards, sponsored by AT&T, which are determined by audience votes throughout the Festival, will be announced on April 25.
“We are proud to honor the winning filmmakers, artists, and creators tonight,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder, Tribeca Film Festival. “Their stories have inspired all of us—and our audiences. We thank them for sharing their work at Tribeca.”
Screenings of the award–winning films will take place throughout the final day of the Festival: Sunday, April 26, at various venues. Specific times and ticketing information are available at www.tribecafilm.com/festival.
In addition to cash awards and in-kind services provided by sponsors including AKA, AT&T, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, Citrin Cooperman, Coach, Inc., Company 3, CreativeFuture, The Walt Disney Studios, Freixenet, Paul Hastings LLP, Netflix, Shutterstock, and Soundtrack Film and Television–New York. The Festival presented the winners with original pieces of art created by eight contemporary artists: Daniel Arsham, Robert Bordo, Elizabeth Colomba, Stephen Hannock, Prune Nourry, Jean Pagliuso, Clifford Ross, and Piers Secunda.
The winners, awards, and comments from the jury who selected the recipients are as follows:
WORLD NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2015 World Narrative Competition sponsored by AKA, were Paul Attanasio, Sophie Barthes, Whoopi Goldberg, Dylan McDermott, and Burr Steers.
The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Virgin Mountain, written and directed by Dagur Kári [Iceland, Denmark]. Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Ash Eroded Film Reel” by Daniel Arsham. The award was given by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal joined by Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T New York
Jury Comment: “With its mixture of humor and pathos, this film captured our hearts. Beyond the deceptively small frame of a mismatched love story, the film deals with the issues of bigotry, loneliness, bullying, mental illness, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit and the meaning of love.”
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film –Gunnar Jónsson as Fúsi in Virgin Mountain (Iceland, Denmark). Winner receives $2,500 sponsored by Citrin Cooperman. The award was given by Dylan McDermott and Arnie Hermann, lead partner, Entertainment Practice of the firmCitrin Cooperman.
Jury Comment: “The film was aided in no small measure by a performer whose mixture of comedy and sadness evokes Chaplin and Keaton, with a complete lack of tricks, pretense, or condescension. This performer relies instead on subtlety, timing, and naked honesty, creating an indelible portrait of a man fighting to be seen in a world that judges him by his appearance.
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film – Hannah Murray as Sara in Bridgend (Denmark). Winner receives $2,500 sponsored by Citrin Cooperman. The award was given by Sophie Barthes and Diana Mahiques, Business Development Manager, Citrin Cooperman.
Jury Comment: “An actress who captured the hopelessness of a lost generation. With bravery and guilelessness, this young actress led us in a descent into a world gone mad, as well as a journey into the protagonist’s own inner darkness.”
Best Cinematography – Cinematography by Magnus Jønck for Bridgend (Denmark). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Shutterstock. The award was given by Sophie Barthes and Derick Rhodes, Footage Marketing, Shutterstock.
Jury Comment: “Soulful and searing images, a daring use of composition and light, and an evocative sense of place.
Best Screenplay – Virgin Mountain written by Dagur Kári (Iceland, Denmark). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Freixenet. The award was given by Dylan McDermott and Tom Burnet President, Freixenet USA.
Jury Comment: “The writer of this film is also the director, and is credited as one of the editors, and also performed the music, and runs the director’s program at the National Film School of Denmark, leading us to wonder when he has time to go to the bathroom. His intricately designed, beautifully observed, and bravely conceived screenplay consistently defies expectations, avoids sentimentality, and never strikes a false note.
● Best Narrative Editing – Bridgend edited by Oliver Bugge Coutté (Denmark). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Soundtrack Film and Television-New York, and $50,000 in post-production services provided by Company 3. The award was given by Sophie Barthes and Rob Cavicchio, owner Soundtrack NY.
Jury Comment: “Impeccable rhythms and expert balancing of many divergent narratives.”
WORLD DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2015 World Documentary Competition sponsored by Santander Bank, N.A., were Diego Bunuel, Tine Fischer, David Gelb, Joshua Rothkopf, and Gloria Steinem.
Best Documentary Feature – Democrats, directed by Camilla Nielsson (Denmark). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by Netflix, and the art award “Immersion (From the Holy River Series)” by Prune Nourry. The award was given by Gloria Steinem.
Jury Comments: “For its choice of an important, universal subject; for filming in conditions where simply to be present is a triumph; and for prioritizing dignity, courage, and our common struggle for humanity, we give this year’s Best Documentary Feature award to Camilla Nielsson for Democrats.”
Special Jury Mention: In Transit , directed by Albert Maysles, Nelson Walker, Lynn True, David Usui, and Ben Wu. (U.S.A)
Best Documentary Editing – Palio, edited by Valerio Bonelli (U.K., Italy). Winner receives $5,000. The award was given by Diego Bunuel.
Jury Comments: “This film viscerally transported us into an event and turned life into art. For subtly placing us behind the scenes; and for general technical excellence, this year’s award for Best Editing in a Documentary goes to editor Valerio Bonelli for Palio.”
BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2015 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Mark Boal, Minnie Driver, Don Hertzfeldt, Cobie Smulders, and Joana Vicente.
Best New Narrative Director – Zachary Treitz director of Men Go To Battle (U.S.A). Winner receives $25,000 sponsored by The Walt Disney Studios, $50,000 in post-production services provided by Company 3, and the art award “Trees II” by Clifford Ross. The award was given by Don Hertzfeldt and Joana Vicente.
Jury Comments: “Zachary Treitz presented us with a combination of approaches not all that easy to put together: a unique and sincere vision, alongside off-beat humor, alongside historical and emotional authenticity.”
Special Jury Mention: Stephen Fingleton for The Survivalist (Northern Ireland, U.K.).
BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2015 Best New Documentary Director Competition were Rachel Boynton, Lola Kirke, Will Patton, Alison Pill, and Michael Rapaport.
Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands for Uncertain (U.S.A). Winner receives $25,000 sponsored by Netflix, and the art award “Athena” by Elizabeth Colomba. The award was given by Alison Pill along with Philip Maysles and Sara Maysles.
Jury Comment: “This year we recognize a beautiful character study that explores violent natures, redemption, and what it takes to tame the self. A perfect balance of simplicity and mystery, this American story examines humanity, and how it can unwittingly destroy not just landscapes but livelihoods.”
Special Jury Mention: Erik Shirai for The Birth of Saké(U.S.A).
SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The 2015 Best Narrative Short Competition jurors were Hank Azaria, Mamie Gummer, André Holland, Arian Moayed, Sheila Nevins, and Dan Silver.
Best Narrative Short – Listen, directed by Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni (Finland, Denmark). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Paul Hastings, LLP, and the art award “Caw (42)” by Robert Bordo. The award was given by Sharon Badal, Director of Short Film Programming and Initiatives Tribeca Enterprises, and Luke P. Iovine, III, Partner at Paul Hastings, LLP.
Jury Comments: “This year’s winner for Best Narrative Short was emotionally compelling and by far the most affecting of the pieces we screened, with the filmmakers displaying a clear emotional connection with the narrative. To say that we had a healthy debate is an understatement.”
Special Jury Mention: Statistical Analysis of Your Failing Relationship directed by Miles Jay (U.S.A, Canada).
The 2015 Best Documentary and Student Visionary Award jurors were Steve Buscemi, Debi Mazar, Katherine Oliver, Theo Rossi, and Vanessa Williams.
Best Documentary Short – Body Team 12 directed by David Darg (Liberia). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by AKA, complimentary time in a.cinema, AKA's private screening room, and the art award “Black #19” by Jean Pagliuso. The award was given by Steve Buscemi, Debi Mazar, and Theo Rossi.
Jury Comments: “The winning film is a spiritual and inspiring story of personal courage and commitment. The filmmaking team takes us on a fearless journey that restores our faith in humanity and inspires viewers to be optimistic despite facing the most extreme challenges.”
Special Jury Mention: We Live This directed by James Burns (U.S.A).
Student Visionary Award – Catwalk directed by Ninja Thyberg (Sweden). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Creative Future. The award was given by Steve Buscemi, Debi Mazar, Theo Rossi, and Brett Williams, director, Creative Community and Youth Outreach, CreativeFuture.
Jury Comments: “An effective look at peer influence not peer pressure. A creative explanation of what young people are experiencing as a result of social media threads and trends. Beautifully shot, and cast with a profound message that promotes individuality and vulnerability amongst the girls and parents, this year’s Student Visionary Award goes to Ninja Thyberg for her film Catwalk.”
Special Jury Mention: Kingdom of Garbage, directed by Yasir Kareem (Iraq, U.K.).
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® STORYSCAPES AWARD
The 2015 BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Storyscapes Award, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology, jurors were Andrew Golis, Shari Frilot, and Charlie Phillips.
● BOMBAY SAPPHIRE ® Storyscapes Award: Door Into the Dark created by Amy Rose and May Abdalla at Anagram (U.K.). Winner receives $10,000, presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin. The award was given by Andrew Golis, Shari Frilot, and Maria Dao, Brand Manager of House of Bombay Gin.
Jury Comments: “In an overwhelming media environment in which we struggle for control, we recognize a work that viscerally reconnects us with the value of letting go. It offers a meticulously crafted storyworld that allows us to cerebrally, emotionally, and quite literally leave our baggage behind and step into the void. In that void we become disoriented, take risks, make choices and find ourselves again, changed. Ambitious, simple, and profound, this work marks a fresh and promising direction for the field of immersive theater. It evoked a euphoria that stayed with us long after we left it.”
THE NORA EPHRON PRIZE
The 2015 Nora Ephron Prize jurors were Rachael Harris, Kevin Corrigan, Katja Blichfeld, Christine Lahti and Talya Lavie.
The Nora Ephron Prize: Sworn Virgin, directed by Laura Bispuri and written by Francesca Manieri and Bispuri (Albania, Germany, Italy, Kosovo, Switzerland). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by Coach. The award was given by Rachael Harris, Kevin Corrigan, Katja Blichfeld, Christine Lahti, Talya Lavie, and Iana dos Reis Nunes, vice president of public relations for Coach.
Jury Comments: “We are awarding a film that is exquisite in its broadness and its intimacy, with a truly original story that touches on gender identity and oppression in a way that members of this jury have rarely seen before. The film constantly surprised us and made us question our own positions through a confident, passionate, and beautifully nuanced vision that showed a real respect for the audience.”
Special Jury Mention: Being 14 directed and written by Hélène Zimmer (France).
FULL LIST OF ELIGIBLE 2015 TFF FILMS IN EACH CATEGORY OF COMPETITION:
World Narrative Feature Competition:
Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature: 12 films
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature: 13 actresses
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature: 14 actors
Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature: 12 films
Best Screenplay for a Narrative Feature: 12 films
Best Editing in a Narrative Feature: 12 films
World Documentary Feature Competition:
Best Documentary Feature: 12 films
Best Editing in a Documentary Film: 12 filmmakers
New Director Competition includes first time directors across all feature sections with films making their North American, International, or World Premiere
Best New Narrative Director: directors selected from 14 films
Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award: directors selected from 12 films
Short Films in Competition:
Best Narrative Short: 28 films
Best Documentary Short: 21 films
Student Visionary Award: 11 films
Storyscapes Projects in Competition:
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Storyscapes Award: 5 projects
Nora Ephron Prize:
Awarded to a female director or screenwriter. Selected from 12 eligible films, with seven female writer-directors, three female writers, and two female directors
EDITORS BACKGROUND ON FILMS RECEIVING HONORS:
Bridgend, directed by Jeppe Rønde, co-written by Jeppe Rønde, Torben Bech, and Peter Asmussen. (Denmark) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Sara (Hannah Murray) and her dad arrive in a town haunted by a spate of teenage suicides. When she falls in love with Jamie (Josh O’Connor), she becomes prey to the depression that threatens to engulf them all. Jeppe Rønde's debut is based on the real-life Welsh county borough of Bridgend, which has recorded at least 79 suicides since 2007.
Democrats, directed and written by Camilla Nielsson. (Denmark). – North American Premiere, Documentary. In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting, firsthand account of a country’s fraught first steps towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film.In English, Shona with subtitles.
Men Go to Battle, directed and written by Zachary Treitz, co-written by Kate Lyn Sheil. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Kentucky, 1861. Francis and Henry Mellon depend on each other to keep their unkempt estate afloat as winter encroaches. After Francis takes a casual fight too far, Henry ventures off in the night, leaving each of them to struggle through the wartime on their own.
Sworn Virgin (Vergine Giurata), directed and written by Laura Bispuri, co-written by Francesca Manieri. (Albania, Germany, Italy, Kosovo, Switzerland) – North American Premiere, Narrative. As a young woman living within the confines of a Northern Albanian village, Hana longs to escape the shackles of womanhood, and live her life as a man. To do so she must take an oath to eternally remain a virgin. Years later, as Mark, she leaves home for the first time to confront a new set of circumstances, leading her to contemplate the possibility of undoing her vow. In Albanian, Italian with subtitles.
Uncertain, co-directed and co-written by Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An aquatic weed threatens the lake of the small American border town of Uncertain, Texas, and consequently the livelihoods of those who live there. As some of the men in town attempt to figure out their future, they confront a past that haunts them.
Virgin Mountain, directed and written by Dagur Kári. (Iceland, Denmark) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Fúsi is a mammoth of a man who at 43-years-old is still living at home with his mother. Shy and awkward, he hasn’t quite learned how to socialize with others, leaving him as an untouchable inexperienced virgin. That is until his family pushes him to join a dance class, where he meets the equally innocent but playful Sjöfn. In Icelandic with subtitles.
Door Into the Dark
Project Creators: Anagram
"This is a labyrinth.” Find out what it means to be lost in an age of infinite information.
Using groundbreaking locative technology, this immersive documentary combines captivating storytelling with a visceral physical experience: feel your way into the dark—blindfolded, shoeless, and alone— along a taut length of rope that leads to a vivid aural world of real people who have been profoundly lost. Your encounter with these characters takes you deep into their sensations, risks, and illusions. To find your way into the light you must surrender to the unknown.
Body Team 12, directed and written by David Darg, co-written by Bryn Mooser. (Liberia) - World Premiere, Documentary. Body Team 12 a team is tasked with arguably the most dangerous and gruesome job in the world: collecting the dead at the height of the Ebola outbreak.
Catwalk, directed by Ninja Thyberg, written by Ninja Thyberg. (Sweden) - North American Premiere, Narrative. Nine-year-old Ella’s classmates are playing in the schoolyard in full adult dress-up, and she wants to be part of that world in Catwalk.
Listen, directed by Hamy Ramezan, Rungano Nyoni, written by Hamy Ramezan, Rungano Nyoni. (Finland, Denmark) - New York Premiere, Narrative. In Listen a foreign woman in a burqa brings her young son to a police station to file a complaint against her abusive husband, but the translator assigned to her seems unwilling to convey the true meaning of her words.
For more information on all of the films in the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, please visit tribecafilm.com/festival.