Sunday the RiverRun International Film Festival announced the Audience and Jury Awards for their 2015 Festival. The 17th annual Festival ran April 16-26 and presented 165 films, representing 35 countries. “Films showcased at our Festival this year reflected diverse stories from around the world, immense talent from directors, many trained in Winston-Salem, and a host of passionate projects that are jewels of the independent filmmaking community,” said Andrew Rodgers, RiverRun Executive Director.
The Audience Award “Best of Fest” was presented to:
THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION / USA (Director: Stanley Nelson)
The Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature was presented to:
ANYWHERE ELSE / Israel / Germany (Director: Ester Amrami)
The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature was presented to:
3 ½ MINUTES / USA (Director: Marc Silver) — This gripping documentary dissects the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, the aftermath of this systemic tragedy and contradictions within the American criminal justice system.
The Altered States Audience Award for Best Indie was presented to:
PROUD CITIZEN / USA (Director: Thomas Southerland)
The Best Narrative Feature Award was presented to:
MEMORIES ON STONE / Iraq / Germany (Director: Shawkat Amin Korki)
The Peter Brunette Award for Best Director was presented to:
Naomi Kawase, STILL THE WATER / Japan / Spain / France
Best Actor was presented to:
Hussein Hassan MEMORIES ON STONE / Iraq / Germany (Director: Shawkat Amin Korki)
Best Actress was presented to:
Julieta Diaz, REFUGIADO / Argentina / France / Columbia / Poland (Director: Diego Lerman)
Best Cinematography – Narrative Feature was presented to:
Yutaka Yamazuki, STILL THE WATER / Japan / Spain / France (Director: Naomi Kawase
Best Screenplay was presented to:
THE SECOND MOTHER / Brazil (Director: Anna Muylaert)
Special Jury Prize for Editing:
Ebrahim Saeedi, MEMORIES ON STONE / Iraq / Germany (Director: Shawkat Amin Korki)
Honorable Mention for Cinematography:
Sara Mishara, FELIX AND MEIRA / Canada (Director: Maxime Giroux)
Honorable Mention for Actress:
Hadas Yaron, FELIX AND MEIRA / Canada (Director: Maxime Giroux)
Honorable Mention for Actor:
James ‘Primo’ Grant, FIVE STAR / USA (Director: Keith Miller)
RiverRun’s 2015 Narrative Features jurors included: award-winning filmmaker and editor Nicolas Chaudeurge (“Fish Tank,” “Red Road,” “Wuthering Heights”), award-winning film critic Godfrey Cheshire, award-winning independent film producer and distributor Karen Chien, Austin Film Society programmer Lars Nilsen, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts student Christene Hurley.
Best Documentary Feature: THE CHINESE MAYOR / China (Director: Hao Zhou)
Best Director — Documentary Feature was presented to: Joshua Oppenheimer for THE LOOK OF SILENCE / Denmark / Finland / Indonesia / Norway / UK
Special Jury Prize: WELCOME TO LEITH / USA (Co-directors: Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher Walker)
RiverRun’s 2015 Documentary Features Competition jurors included: non-fiction programmer Julie Anderson (WNET, HBO, “God is the Bigger Elvis,” “Realsports with Bryant Gumbel”), head programmer of American Film Institute documentary film festival, Andrea Passafiume, non-fiction filmmaker and writer A.J. Schnack (“Caucus,” “We Always Lie to Strangers,” “Convention” (RiverRun ’10), filmmaker and Arts Professor at NYU & Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, Marco Williams, and Wake Forest University graduate documentary film student Josh Harris.
Best Documentary Short was presented to: CAILLEACH / UK (Director: Rosie Reed Hillman) As the winner of the jury award for Best Documentary Short, ‘Cailleach’ is now eligible to be considered for a 2016 Academy Award®.
Honorable Mention to the documentary short: NOTES FROM LIBERIA / USA / Liberia (Co-Directors: Ryo Murakami and Judd Ehrlich)
RiverRun’s 2015 Documentary Shorts jurors included: documentary film distributor Oli Harbottle, film programmer and producer Kellin Quinn, Associate producer of POV Nicole Tsien, and Wake Forest University graduate documentary film student Brian Gersten.
Best Narrative Short was presented to:
THE KÁRMÁN LINE / UK / (Director: Oscar Sharp)
Special Jury Prize was presented to: ÁRTÚN / Iceland / Denmark / (Director: Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson)
Best Student Short:
ROTA / USA (Director: Jean-Jacques Martinod)
RiverRun’s 2015 Narrative Shorts jurors included: Penelope Bartlett, programmer of the Chicago International Film Festival and associate programmer of the Palm Springs International Film Festival; filmmaker Daniel Carbonne (“Hide Your Smiling Faces”-RiverRun ’14, “Americana”), Associate Director of Industry & Alumni Relations at Sundance Film Festival, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts student Evan Scott Russell.
Best Animated Short was presented to: BEAR STORY / Chile (Director: Gabriel Osorio Vargas) As the winner of the jury award for Best Animated Short, ‘Bear Story’ is now eligible to be considered for a 2016 Academy Award®.
Best Student Animated Short: THE PRESENT / Germany (Director: Jacob Frey)
RiverRun’s 2015 Animated Shorts jurors included: animator Celia Bullwinkel (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Hair High,” “Little Bill,” “Wonder Pets”); animator and development coordinator at Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Joanna Leitch; and Tom Warburton, creator of Cartoon Network series Codename: kids next door,” TV movie “Operation Zero,” and production designer for MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead”).
In an effort to further promote the development of new filmmaking talent, RiverRun partnered with universities around the state to present the third annual Pitch Fest competition. Pre-selected student filmmakers pitched their documentary shorts projects to a panel of industry experts, received advice on how to proceed, and vied for prizes and industry recognition.
First Place: BOUT QUEENS (Co-directors: Kathryn Jeffords and Kayla Hammer of Elon University)
Runner Up: LOOKING FOR TROUBLE (Co-directors Bryan Campbell and Caroline Cuny of Wake Forest University)