The 20th South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival held its awards event last night at Austin’s Paramount Theatre, and 3 African Diaspora-interest projects were honored with trophies:
– William and the Windmill from director Ben Nabors, is the Grand Jury Winner in the Documentary Feature competition category. The film centers on William Kamkwamba, a young Malawian, who builds a power-generating
windmill from junk parts, to rescue his family from famine, transforming
his life and catapulting him on to the the world stage.
– Touba from director E. Chai Vasarhelyi, picked up the Special Jury Prize for Cinematography, in the Documentary Feature category, for director of photography Scott Duncan. With
unprecedented access and dynamic 16mm cinematography, Touba reveals a
different face of Islam by chronicling Sufi Muslims’ annual pilgrimage
to the city of Touba.
– And finally, the Special Jury Prize for Acting went to Tishuan Scott, for his performance in Chris Eska’s The Retrieval – a story that takes place on the outskirts of the Civil
War, where a boy is sent north by a bounty hunter gang to retrieve a
The festival opened its doors on March 8, in Austin, TX, with a total of 133 features,
consisting of 78 World Premieres, 13 North American Premieres and 9 U.S.
Premieres, and 76 first-time directors.
109 shorts also screened as part of 10 overall shorts programs.
The nearly 250 films were selected from a record number of
overall submissions, over 5,700, comprised of approximately 2,100
features and 3,600 shorts.
This year saw a total of 15 feature films (fiction and non-fiction) that center on
stories about people of African descent – or about
11%, which is roughly the same percentage as there were in the 2012
edition of the festival.
For the full list of winners, see the list below:
Narrative Feature Awards
Grand Jury Winner: Short Term 12, dir. Destin Cretton
Special Jury Prize For Ensemble Cast: Burma, dir. Carlos Puga
Special Jury Prize for Acting: Tishuan Scott, The Retrieval
Documentary Feature Awards
Grand Jury Winner: William And The Windmill, dir. Ben Nabors
Special Jury Prize for Cinematography: Touba, Director of Photography: Scott Duncan
Special Jury Prize for Directing: We Always Lie to Strangers, dir. AJ Schnack & David Wilson
Short Film Jury Awards
NARRATIVE SHORT: Ellen is Leaving, dir. Michelle Savill
Honorable Mention: Sequin Raze, dir. Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Honorable Mention: SKIN, dir. Jordana Spiro
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: SLOMO, dir. Josh Izenberg
MIDNIGHT SHORTS: The Apocalypse, dir. Andrew Zuchero
ANIMATED SHORT: Oh Willy…, dir. Emma De Swaef & Marc James Roe
MUSIC VIDEOS: Stamina by Vitalic, dir. Saman Keshavarz
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS: The Benefactress, dir. Alina Vega
SXSW Film Design Awards
EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN: Akiko Stehrenberger, Kiss of the Damned
Special Jury Recognition: Erik Buckham, We Always Lie To Strangers
EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN: Pablo González, Joven & Alocada
Special Jury Recognition: Raleigh Stewart, Crave
SXSW Special Awards
SXSW CHICKEN & EGG EMERGENT NARRATIVE WOMAN DIRECTOR AWARD: Hannah Fidell, A Teacher
Special Mention: Katie Graham, Zero Charisma
LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD: Geoff Marslett, Loves Her Gun
KAREN SCHMEER FILM EDITING FELLOWSHIP: Jim Hession