The Starz Denver Film Festival (SDFF), sponsored by Starz Entertainment and produced by the Denver Film Society, and Liberty Global, Inc. (Liberty Global), the leading international cable operator with 20 million customers across 13 countries, today announced its international student filmmaker awards. The Liberty Global Award recognizes outstanding achievement from applicants outside of the United States, and is part of the First Look Student Film Program, which was established in 2000. SDFF ran from November 1 to November 11 in Denver. For its inspired performances - both human and animal - its fantastic humor and the immersive world it creates, the Liberty Global Award winning film from Germany and directed by Thomas Stuber, Of Dogs and Horses, is a last-ditch effort to pay for a beloved dog's surgery, and a film about luck, courage, with the blind magic of desperate hope. A special jury prize was given to The Tobacco King, a film from Zambia, for its stylish cinematography and its unflinching & nuanced portrait of a complicated man in a tense situation. Directed by Daniel Koehler, the provocative documentary explores race, history, and work in postcolonial southern Africa. "Films from outside of the United States have been a significant element in the Starz Denver Film Festival every year," said Festival Director, Britta Erickson. "Students abroad are producing extraordinary work that we were honored to present at this year's festival due to the generous support of Liberty Global." "Liberty Global is excited to sponsor the International First Look program, and particularly pleased that the number of films submitted from abroad has now increased nearly ten-fold. We know that the talent knows no borders, and are grateful to help recognize and nurture young filmmakers from around the world, said Liberty Global's SVP of Programming, Bob Leighton." This year 85 films were submitted from 25 countries. The guidelines for the Liberty Global Award called for submissions of short films (30 minutes or less short) from any country other than the United States. Applicants of all ages were eligible to submit films completed while the filmmaker was enrolled as a student in a course of study. Five finalists were nominated (by the curators of the program) to be in competition and were then reviewed by a jury of experts. New this year, the top five nominated films will automatically receive an offer to be broadcast in over 30 million homes on the ShortsHD channel in the US and Europe. "Having international emerging filmmakers as part of our festival is of great benefit to us as well as to them," said Festival Artistic Director, Brit Withey. "The Festival is able to connect with these filmmakers at the early stages of their careers."
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