The 33rd Starz Denver
Film Festival (SDFF33) concluded yesterday, Sunday, Nov. 14 and the votes are
in for this year's Starz People's Choice Awards. Juried awards were announced and presented on
Saturday, Nov. 13 at the sold-out Closing Night Red Carpet presentation of
The 12 days of SDFF33
yielded a record 99 sell-outs out of the featured 224 films from 30 countries:
49 documentaries, 91 features and 133 shorts. Attendance exceeded the previous record of 47,500 and ticket revenues
were up 24% from last year.
"With the opening
of the Denver Film Society’s new permanent home - the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax,
star-studded Red Carpet presentations, and filmmakers from around the world
joining us, the 33rd year of the Starz Denver Film Festival was an exhilarating
cinematic celebration," said Britta Erickson, SDFF director.
"Demonstrated in both numbers and response, the Denver community and the inspiring filmmakers
and industry professionals who shared their work with our enthusiastic audience
were paramount to this being such a successful year."
Starz People's Choice Awards:
Feature – happythankyoumoreplease
Directed by Josh Radnor
A lively dramatic
comedy about three sets of young couples dealing with shaky relationships,
questionable career choices and the uncertainties of life in New York City.
Documentary Feature – Grace
Paley: Collected Shorts
Directed by Lilly
The story of Grace
Paley’s long and colorful life as a writer and political activist is chronicled
in this seamlessly flowing documentary.
Short – Keep
Directed by Greg Vander
Ninety-year –old dance
legends Marge Champion and Donald Saddler keep their love for their craft alive
as they continue to create, rehearse and perform.
The jurors for the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature
Film this year were David D’Arcy, film reviewer for Screen International
and the BBC; Holly Herrick, director of programming at the Sarasota Film
Festival and programmer for the Hampton’s
International Film Festival; Palm Springs International Film Festival curator
and Variety writer, Alissa Simon. The winner was The White Meadows,
directed by Mohammad Rasoulof who was arrested and jailed in Iran last year.
This visually elegant allegory operates without literalism and takes the viewer
into an imaginative world of symbols, but Rasoulof’s film, shot in seaside
deserts of salt, is also a beautiful logistical triumph.
documentary award, the Maysles Brothers
Award for Best Documentary Film, named after the great filmmaker brothers,
Albert and David Maysles is presented each year to an outstanding
documentary. The jury this year was
comprised of Tanja Meding – a Maysles Films producer and co-chair of the
documentary committee of the Producers Guild of America East; an award-winning
documentary filmmaker; Stephen Nemeth, founder and head of Rhino Films; and
founder and producer of Studio on Hudson, Heather Winters.
The recipient of the
2010 Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film was awarded to Secrets
of the Tribe, directed by Jose Padilha, for its fascinating exploration
into the world of anthropology and the atrocities committed against the
Yanomami tribe. The film artfully combines provocative interviews and haunting
archival footage which enlighten, shock and greatly move. The film My So-Called
Enemy directed by Lisa Gossels received a Special Jury Prize for Filmmaking for
its eight year commitment documenting the lives and friendships of a group
Israeli and Palestinian young women, some of whom are becoming the next
generation of ambassadors for peace.
The Emerging Filmmaker Award is given to a first or second-time director
distribution who best displays originality, artistic excellence and visual
awareness, while maintaining a consistent directorial vision and technical
proficiency. The 2010 Emerging Filmmaker
Award was awarded to Chris Brown for
Annie & Danny. The jury cited Brown for defying conventions by both
confounding and pissing off the viewer, finding humor in the darkest of
places—without being self indulgent. For being brave and bold enough to give us
characters we love to hate.
The award was juried by
writer/producer Darren Dean; Chris Horton, head of acquisitions for Cinetic
Rights Management; and New York
based-producer Jared Moshe.
The 2010 Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award was juried by actor Tom Bower; cinematographer/filmmaker Diego Quemada-Diez;
Sarah Siegel-Magness - producer of multi-Academy Award nominee, Precious, and
managing partner of Smokewood Entertainment; and cinematographer/fine art
photographer Robert Muratore whom awarded Dreams Awake, directed by Kevin
Gordon and Rebekha Meredith from Stanford University, as the stand-out favorite
for its concepts and ideas, which were beautifully yet simply executed with
honesty and integrity and poetically humanized the voice of the invisible.
The 2nd annual ASIFA-Colorado Prize for the Best Animated
Short Award went to The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger directed by Bill Plympton for its style changing and surreal look at our dreams
and desires, no matter how dark.
Jury members for
Animated Short award include Evert Brown, freelance director and instructor at
Art Institute of Colorado; Ed Desroches, an animator, Web designer and
instructor; Judy Gardner, professor at Art Institute of Colorado and
Metropolitan State College of Denver; Joey Buhrer, and animator and
ASIFA-Colorado Board member; Wes Price, illustrator and animator; and Patrick
Mallek, Boulder International Film Festival animation programmer.
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