Rhode Island International Film Festival Announces Winners
by Claiborne Smith
The seventh annual Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) increased attendance levels 15 percent from last year and screened a total of 185 movies from the 1,108 that were submitted. Among its juried prize-winning films are a grand prize for best animated short for “Destino,” a work Walt Disney originally commissioned from Salvador Dali and a best director nod to Kenneth Branagh for his short “Listening” (another British director, Graham Rose, won grand prize as best director for “Mrs. Meitelmeier”).
Greg Pak’s “Robot Stories” won grand prize in the best feature category. “Bonhoeffer,” the documentary about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the young German theologian who was an early voice of resistance against Hitler, won grand prize for best documentary. U.S. director John Hulme’s “Unknown Soldier” won him recognition for best directorial debut and Florian Sachisthal and Reid Green’s screenplay for “The Experience Box” won best screenplay.
But the most startling story to come out of RIIFF is also the oldest. In 1946, Walt Disney asked Salvador Dali to create “Destino,” an experimental work, as a possible sequel to “Fantasia.” Storyboards and illustrations were completed and music rights were purchased but the work was never finished. Walt’s nephew Roy, chairman of feature animation at Disney, commissioned character animation artist Dominique Monfery “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Emperor’s New Groove”) to complete “Destino.” It had its premiere at RIIFF.