30th STARZ DENVER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES JURIED AWARDS WINNERS AND FINAL ATTENDANCE NUMBERS
Denver, CO – Yesterday, the Starz Denver Film Festival wrapped its 30th year of bringing international film and filmmakers to Denver. Organizers reported a 16 percent increase in attendance from the previous year with 45,136 people attending the films and events. There was a 25 percent increase in revenue from 2006 with 125 sold-out screenings over the course of the 11-day event.
On Closing Night, November 18 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, SDFF 30 continued its tradition of highlighting the highest level of cinematic achievement with three juried awards: The Emerging Filmmaker Award, The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary, and The Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film. The winners were chosen by a panel of jurors including critics, industry, and media professionals.
Emerging Filmmaker Award
Sponsored by Fox 31 News
Established in 2004, the Emerging Filmmaker Award is presented to a first or second-time director without U.S. distribution. The recipient of this juried award is the director and his/her film that best displays technical proficiency, originality, artistic excellence and visual awareness while maintaining a consistent directorial vision.
WINNER: OWL AND THE SPARROW, directed by Stephane Gauger
This poignant and engrossing narrative addresses universal love and alienation by masterfully weaving together the stories of three disaffected people in modern Saigon. The handheld camera style, beautiful composition, and powerful performances – in particular that of the film's star, 10-year-old Pham Thai Han (who portrays runaway Thuy) – struck a perfect balance between artistry and realism.
Jurors for the Emerging Filmmaker Award were David Garber (Lantern Lane), Julian Rubinstein (filmmaker/writer) and Petra Wright (actress).
The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film
In the early 1960s, two brothers started a revolution in documentary filmmaking. Albert Maysles and his late brother David pioneered the method of direct cinema which includes hand-held cameras and lightweight sound equipment. This innovative filmmaking style of immediacy and spontaneity leads to an entirely new way of making films uniquely suited to non-fiction subjects. The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary is presented to a filmmaker who best represents the truth and purity of documentary filmmaking as established by the Maysles Brothers.
WINNER: KNEE DEEP, directed by Michael Chandler
KNEE DEEP brings strong camerawork, exceptional interviewing skill and a knack for brisk and humorous storytelling to bear on its stranger-than-fiction story of attempted matricide on a Maine family farm. Dodging the twin pitfalls of caricature and overwrought emotion that befall many tales of rural America, KNEE DEEP is a mystery, a comedy, a deft character study and, ultimately, a bracing critique of how development is contributing to the disappearance of the family farm.
Jurors for The Maysles Brothers Award were AJ Schnack (filmmaker), Brian Brooks (IndieWire) and David Wilson (True/False Film Festival).
Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film
The Starz Denver Film Festival, in its early years, gained a reputation within the international film community for showcasing, on a regular basis, new Eastern European films. Krzysztof Kieslowski appeared in 1989 for a major tribute and was a guest again in 1994. The director passed away in 1996 at the age of 55. The Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film was established the next year under the auspices of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland and in collaboration with the widow of the late director. This prestigious award is annually presented to a filmmaker/feature-length film that reflects the artistic sensibilities of the Polish director.
WINNER: PERSEPOLIS, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Celebrated comic book artist Marjane Satrapi reworks her acclaimed graphic autobiographies for the screen with breathtaking results. This powerful film operates on multiple levels – as a disarmingly funny coming-of-age tale, an exposé of Iranian society under totalitarian rule and an example of animation’s power to expand our notions of storytelling. PERSEPOLIS was chosen for its radical use of animation to tell a story both personal and political – and for giving us a humane vision of Iran that transcends stereotype.
Jurors for the Kieslowski Award were Mike Goodridge (Screen International), David Ansen (Newsweek) and David D’Arcy (GreenCine Daily).
Starz People’s Choice Awards
Festival attendees voted for their favorite film and the winners are…
Narrative Film Winner: UNDER THE SAME MOON (LA MISMA LUNA), directed by Patricia Riggen
Not only a heartfelt family drama but a timely commentary on the incendiary topic of illegal immigration, Under the Same Moon portrays the obstacles to reunion a loving mother and son separated by circumstance must face.
Documentary Film Winner: A WALK TO BEAUTIFUL, directed by Amy Bucher and Mary Olive Smith
This powerful documentary gives voice to five Ethiopian women who, after enduring obstructed labor that resulted in stillbirths, all now suffer from obstetric fistula – a devastating medical condition characterized by a hole in the birth canal that leaves them incontinent. Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, these women are subjected to lives of isolation and humiliation. Director Smith searched the rural Amhara region for these outcasts and found them desperate to share their tales.
Short Film Winner: MAMITAS, directed by Nicholas Ozeki
Set in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, cocky teenager Jordan Juarez fancies himself quite the Casanova. One day, however, he learns just what it means to be a man who can truly connect with a woman.
Prize: $2,500 – Sponsored by Sprint
For more information about the Starz Denver Film Society and the 30th SDFF, visit denverfilm.org.
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The Denver Film Society is a membership-based nonprofit cultural institution dedicated to cultivating community and transforming lives through film. Founded in 1978, the Denver Film Society produces film events throughout the year, including the award-winning Starz Denver Film Festival. The Denver Film Society's home theatre and cinematic education center, the Starz FilmCenter, presents film programs daily and is Denver's first and only year-round cinematheque, operated in partnership with the University of Colorado at Denver's College of Arts & Media, and with support from Starz Entertainment and the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Denver Film Society members support one-of-a-kind programs reaching more that 200,000 film lovers and film lovers-in-training each year.
SDFF 30 Premier Sponsor: Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® brands with approximately 16.1 million and 28.4 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Starz On Demand and Vongo®. Starz Entertainment (starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation that is attributed to Liberty Capital Group.
SDFF 30 Presenting Sponsor: Sprint offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving 54 million customers at the end of the second quarter 2007; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit sprint.com.
Starz returns as the Premier Sponsor of the 30th Starz Denver Film Festival with Sprint as the Presenting Sponsor. Associate Sponsors include: AOR, Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Barbara Bridges/Wildblue Entertainment, CEAVCO Audio Visual, Frontier Airlines, Larimer Square and OppenheimerFunds. Media Sponsors include: 5280 Magazine, Burst Marketing – Podcast Publishing, Crosspoint, The Denver Post, FOX 31 News, Incite, Martini on the Rockies and Milkhaus. The Festival’s Government/Foundation Partners include: City and County of Denver – Division of Theatres & Arenas, Colorado Council on the Arts, Colorado Film Commission, Consulate General of Canada in Denver, Los Angeles Film and TV Office – French Embassy, National Endowment for the Arts, Québec Government Office in LA and Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).
Supporting Sponsors include: Bellco Credit Union, Bombay Sapphire, Courtyard by Marriott, Cîroc Vodka, DHL, EXDO EVENT CENTER, Lionsgate, Lufthansa, Mike’s Camera, Mike Shaw Saab, Moët Hennessey, POP/Luminate, Residence Inn by Marriott Denver City Center, Stella Artois, Sterling Vineyards, Three Tomatoes Catering, Tiffany & Co. and Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP. Patron Sponsors include: Amusemints, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Butler Rents, Chubb, CU-Denver Live, Grand Lodge, Holland & Hart, Hotel Monaco, Kentwood City Properties, Kodak, Komorebi, Kroenke Sports, Landmark Theatres, Photo:Laszlo/CoMedia, Meadowlark Bar, OfficeScapes, The Oxford Hotel, PayReel, Red Lion Hotel, RedShift Framing and Van Gilder.