P R E S S  R E L E A S E S

DENVER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD RECIPIENTS FOR 44TH ANNUAL PROGRAM

Award Recipients Include: King Richard, C’mon C’mon, imperfect, Forever, Drive My Car, and All These Sons


Nov. 15, 2021 (Denver) The Denver Film Festival (DFF) today announced the recipients of its annual Audience Awards and Festival Juried Awards in multiple categories following the conclusion of its 44th annual event held Nov. 3-14.

“Welcoming audiences for a predominantly in-person festival, we were able to come together for that very important communal film experience to explore and now award the best in contemporary cinema from the past year,” said Denver Film Festival Artistic Director Matthew Campbell. “We’re proud of the diverse programming that we were able to bring to our audiences and to recognize the films and professionals who created and brought these stories and experiences to life.”

DFF44 award winners and honorees include:

Rare Pearl Award
C’mon C’mon
Director: Mike Mills
Country: USA

John Cassavetes Award Recipient
Clifton Collins, Jr.

Excellence in Acting Award
Jamie Dornan

Career Achievement Award
Annabella Sciorra

Maria and Tomasso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award
Stefano Cipani

DFF44 Audience Awards
The following films were recognized as the People’s Choice Award winners for the 44th Denver Film Festival by a tally of ballots.

Narrative Feature:
KING RICHARD
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Country: USA

Documentary Feature:
IMPERFECT
Director: Brian Malone, Regan Linton
Country: USA

Short Subject Film:
FOREVER
Director: Mitch McGlocklin
Country: USA

Music Video Mixtape:
O.D.D.I.T.Y featuring Keiana Whatley – The Cycle
Director: Grant I Worden
Country: USA

Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film
Jurors:
Liz Cardenas, Producer/Writer/Director, Ten to the Six Pictures Jason Ishikawa, Senior Executive, Cinetic Media
Kevin Teng, Former Denver Film Chairman of the Board

DRIVE MY CAR
Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Country: Japan

The jury statement reads:

“For its exquisite filmmaking and effortless ability to tell a spellbinding story about the transformative power of art, the Kryzsztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film goes to DRIVE MY CAR.”

Honorable Mention for Best Feature Film:
UNCLENCHING THE FIST
Director: Kira Kovalenko
Country: Russia

The jury statement reads:

“The jury awarded an Honorable Mention to Kira Kovalenko and Milana Aguzarova for the assured, tour de force directing and immersive performance in UNCLENCHING THE FIST.”

Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary
Jurors:
Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director of the Film Festival Alliance
Ryland Aldrich, Producer, Point+Drop Productions
Tina Wall, Philanthropist

ALL THESE SONS
Director: Bing Liu, Joshua Altman
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:

“The film’s dynamic storylines reveal the complexity of its characters and the roadblocks they face simply because they were born black and male in America. For its expert documentary storytelling and incredible ability to make the audience root for these men, the jury awards the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary film to ALL THESE SONS.”

Special Mention Best Documentary:
ASCENSION
Director: Jessica Kingdon
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:

“In recognition of its striking visual experience, and our desire for every worker and elected official in America to see this film to understand the impact of China’s soaring economic power, the jury designates a Special Mention to ASCENSION.”

American Independent Award
Jurors:
Beth Barrett, Artistic Director, Seattle International Film Festival
Josh Mandel, Senior Programmer, Slamdance Film Festival
Florajane Dirienzo, Executive Director of Biennial of the Americas

TAHARA
Director: Olivia Peace
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:

“With deadpan comedic performances and a delicate balance of tone that maintains a lighter side to a very dark subject matter…this impressive first feature authentically captures teenage angst and how there are matters of life and death that are literally more important than actual life and death. The filmmaker’s unique point of view and nuanced use of animation pulls you in closer to these vulnerable characters that we care so deeply about. We hope this award gives a spotlight to Olivia Peace’s fresh and artistic voice, and we cannot wait to see what she does next. The American Indie Award goes to TAHARA.”

Brit Withey Film in Colorado Excellence Award
Presented by the Colorado Film Video Association (CFVA)
Patrick Hackett

Short Film Awards
Jurors:
Joe Bilancio, Programming Director, Outshine Film Festival
Mike Dougherty, Director of Festival Programming, Outfest
Claire Taylor, Director of Programming, SeriesFest

Grand Jury Award
DON’T GO TELLIN’ YOUR MOMMA
Director: Topaz Jones, rubberband.
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:

“This film is a love letter to the filmmaker’s hometown of Montclair, New Jersey that expands its reach to a multigenerational perspective on Black lives in America. For its playfulness, musicality, and arresting visuals, the Shorts Grand Jury Award goes to DON’T GO TELLIN’ YOUR MOMMA.”

Liberty Global Best Student Domestic Short
CHUJ BOYS OF SUMMER
Director: Max Walker-Silverman
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:

“For capturing a relatable yet unique immigration story due its authentic youthful point of view, the domestic award for Best Student Domestic Short goes to CHUJ BOYS OF SUMMER.”

Liberty Global Best Student International Short
LOVE STORIES ON THE MOVE
Director: Carina Dașoveanu
Country: Romania

The jury statement reads:

“For its truthful portrait of the complexities of relationships brought to vivid life by its phenomenal cast, the Best Student International Short award goes to LOVE STORIES ON THE MOVE.”

Marilyn Marsh Saint-Veltri Award for Best Student Animation Short
FOREVER
Director: Mitch McGlocklin
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:

“For its unconventional and captivating animation style that shines a light on how our rapidly changing world impacts our innermost personal demons, the Best Student Animation Short Award goes to FOREVER.”

Shorts Special Mention
KKUM
Director: Kim Kangmin
Country: South Korea

The jury statement reads:

“For its combination of ambitious animation style and heartfelt storytelling, the jury would like to give a Special Mention to KKUM.”

Shorts Special Mention
PLAY IT SAFE
Director: Mitch Kalisa
Country: UK

The jury statement reads:

“For Actor Jonathan Ajayi’s committed and brave performance that challenges audiences to examine their own biases, the jury would like to give a Special Mention for his standout performance in PLAY IT SAFE.”

MOFFOM – Music on Film – Film on Music Documentary Grant Awards
The MOFFOM Grant provides up to $20,000 annually in finishing funds for documentary productions specifically for music licensing, scoring and composition.

Jurors:
Jonathan Palmer, Senior Vice President, BMG Rights Management
Caryn Capotosto, Head of Productions, Tremolo Productions
Heather Guibert, Music Supervisor, Francium Enterprises
Loretta Munoz, Assistant Vice President, ASCAP
Jill Sobule, Recording Artist and Songwriter

2021 MOFFOM Grant Recipients
SIRENS
From award-winning Moroccan-American filmmaker Rita Baghdadi, SIRENS follows young female thrash metal musicians in Lebanon.

TROUBLE DON’T LAST
Filmmakers Sasha Waters Freyer and Henry S. Rosenthal realize artist Bruce Conner’s original 1984 exploration of the legendary gospel group The Soul Stirrers.

2021 Denver Film Festival Sponsors:
Marquee – Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Amazon, AOR, Barbara Bridges, Capital One Café, Ceavco, Denver Botanic Gardens, Liberty Global, Moye White, Sheila K. O’Brien, Stranahan’s, Xfinity, ZoomCare

Spotlight – Butler Rents, SeriesFest, University of Denver – Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, William LaBahn

Studio – American Airlines, Green Goo, Overture 9th + CO, Shopify

Cameo – Colorado Film and Video Association, Crested Butte Film Festival, CORT, Eldorado Natural Spring Water, Gopuff, Intrinsic Wine Co., Meow Wolf, Milkhaus, Molly’s Spirits, Ratio Beerworks, Syntrinsic, The Palm Group – Baird, TV5MONDE

Government & Foundations – Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Consulate General of Canada, Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, National Endowment for the Arts, Riverfront Park Community Foundation, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)

Media – 5280, Birdy, CBS4, Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Denver Life, Rocky Mountain PBS, Westword

Film – Bank of Colorado, Ballard Spahr, Colorado Environmental Film Festival, Dance to Be Free, Denver Screen Print & Embroidery, Emerge Colorado, LivWell, Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, Pizzeria Locale, SAGindie, Telescope, University of Colorado Denver – College of Arts & Media, U.S. Bank, VenuHub, Visit Denver, Vizzy Hard Seltzer

Partners – Colorado Dragon Boat, Colorado Symphony, Denver Arts & Venues, I Am Denver, Ken’s Print & Graphics, McNichols Civic Center Building, Pearl Street Marketing

Sie FilmCenter Reopens Nov. 19
The Sie FilmCenter (SFC) reopens for screenings this Friday Nov. 19 for normal year-round operations after nearly 20 months of being closed for everyday operation due to the COVID pandemic.
The SFC lineup includes some of the Best of DFF44 films, as well as non-DFF films KURT VONNEGUT: UNSTUCK IN TIME and WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY, the other great new film this year from DRIVE MY CAR director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi.

Best of DFF films
THE FEAST – Nov. 19
THE HUMANS – Nov. 24 * Denver Exclusive
DRIVE MY CAR – dates to be announced
RED ROCKET – dates to be announced
THE NOVICE – dates to be announced
SEE FOR ME – dates to be announced
SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST – dates to be announced
CATCH THE FAIR ONE – dates to be announced
A BANQUET – dates to be announced
WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR – dates to be announced

 


2021Denver Film Festival Sponsors:

Marquee – Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Amazon, AOR, Barbara Bridges, Capital One Café, Ceavco, Denver Botanic Gardens, Liberty Global, Moye White, Sheila K. O’Brien, Stranahan’s, Xfinity, ZoomCare

Spotlight – Butler Rents, SeriesFest, University of Denver – Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, William LaBahn

Studio – American Airlines, Green Goo, Overture 9th + CO, Shopify

Cameo – Colorado Film and Video Association, Crested Butte Film Festival, CORT, Eldorado Natural Spring Water, Gopuff, Intrinsic Wine Co., Meow Wolf, Milkhaus, Molly’s Spirits, Ratio Beerworks, Syntrinsic, The Palm Group – Baird, TV5MONDE

Government & Foundations – Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Consulate General of Canada, Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, National Endowment for the Arts, Riverfront Park Community Foundation, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)

Media – 5280, Birdy, CBS4, Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Denver Life, Rocky Mountain PBS, Westword 

Film – Bank of Colorado, Ballard Spahr, Colorado Environmental Film Festival, Dance to Be Free, Denver Screen Print & Embroidery, Emerge Colorado, LivWell, Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, Pizzeria Locale, SAGindie, Telescope, University of Colorado Denver – College of Arts & Media, U.S. Bank, VenuHub, Visit Denver, Vizzy Hard Seltzer 

Partners – Colorado Dragon Boat, Colorado Symphony, Denver Arts & Venues, I Am Denver, Ken’s Print & Graphics, McNichols Civic Center Building, Pearl Street Marketing


About Denver Film

Founded in 1978, Denver Film is a membership-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural institution that produces film events throughout the year, including the award-winning Denver Film Festival and the popular, summertime series Film on the Rocks. With a vision to cultivate community and transform lives through film, Denver Film provides opportunities for diverse audiences to discover film through creative, thought-provoking experiences.

The permanent home of Denver Film, the Sie FilmCenter is Denver’s only year-round cinematheque, presenting a weekly-changing calendar of first-run exclusives and arthouse revivals both domestic and foreign, narrative and documentary – over 600 per year, all shown in their original language and format. Denver Film’s one-of-a-kind programs annually reach more than 200,000 film lovers and film lovers-in-training. 

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Denver Film Media Contacts:

Marty Schechter: marty@denverfilm.org

Neil Truglio: neil@denverfilm.org

Alexandra Dunne: alexandra@denverfilm.org

 

Denver Film