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SXSW Fest Wrap & Competition Award Winners

SXSW Fest Wrap & Competition Award Winners

Austin’s South By Southwest Film Festival is enriched by taking place each March alongside the Interactive conference, which offered back-to-back keynotes from Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. 

Thus SXSW brings together two worlds that are usually far apart, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. This year especially, the Film Fest drew big crowds to its keynote speaker and panels, from Lena Dunham--who broke out with her second film to play the fest, “Tiny Furniture,” which was followed by unveiling the first three episodes of “Girls” before the HBO series hit the zeitgeist–to “Joe” star  Nic Cage, who surprised everyone with his thoughtfulness. At a film panel, Cinetic Media’s John Sloss begged for transparency on VOD numbers, which is long overdue, while producer Dana Brunetti (“Captain Phillips”) railed against celebrity crowdfunding. Yes, “Veronica Mars” played well to the faithful.

Meanwhile VOD distributors Magnolia, IFC and TWC’s RADiUS were trawling for pickups, although RADiUS’s Tom Quinn admitted that seven years after he started attending the fest, it’s not as easy to find diamonds in the rough. Now everyone’s looking. Bob Berney’s Picturehouse scooped up Sundance entry Adam Wingard’s”The Guest” before its SXSW screening. The film was produced by the same team, Snoot Entertainment, behind rookie Riley Stearns’ “Faults,” a twisty comedy-drama about cults starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Smashed”). She’s so well-known in the festival universe that the small-budget film directed by her husband did not wind up in the competition. (Here’s The Playlist’s review.)

Truth is, SXSW follows well after Sundance and its competition selection of eight films (awards winners are listed below) is not the be-all-and-end-all of its programming. Fest producer Janet Pierson, six years in, says she’s most interested in giving filmmakers and participants a great experience, offering networking and career building, then who wins awards. (Still, last year’s “Short Term 12” proved a major calling card for SXSW.) 

It’s true that over the years, the likes of Joe Swanberg, Ti West, David Lowery, Amy Seimetz, Mark Duplass and yes, Dunham have built friendships and collaborators that have enriched all their films. They share and help each other, within an emerging barter indie economy. Duplass was back at the festival as the writer-star-producer of micro-budget two-hander found-footage movie “Creep,” from rookie director Patrick Brice. (Interview with Duplass and producer and SXSW keynoter Jason Blum here.)

Television continues to make its mark on this festival as well as Comic-Con, as Mike Judge put audiences into rolls of laughter with hilarious HBO series “Silicon Valley,” Sam Mendes and Juan Antonio Bayona’s Showtime series “Penny Dreadful” terrified the SXSW crowds, Robert Rodriguez played to the hometown gang with the TV series “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and keynote speaker Neil Degrasse Tyson introduced his mindbending revamp of Carl Sagan’s series “Cosmos.” 

This year’s film festival over the course of nine days hosted a total of 133 features with 89 World Premieres, 11 North American Premieres and 8 U.S. Premieres, with a remarkable 70 first-time directors. 113 shorts screened as part of 11 overall shorts programs. The 246 films were selected from a record number of overall submissions, nearly 6,500, comprised of approximately 2,200 features and 4,300 shorts, with an overall increase of 14% over 2013.

An interactive gathering of speakers and panels that functions as a Silicon Valley conference, SXSW pushes together disparate groups in the halls of Austin’s convention center and nearby hotels. They learn from each other, share new apps, tweet each other’s panels, and congregate at various watering holes. And if they’re running short on time, they can order food at entrepreneur Tim League’s Alamo Drafthouse, which enforces a strict no-phone policy in their theaters.

The Jury and Special Award-winners of the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival were announced Tuesday night at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony at the Paramount Theatre. The awards were hosted for the second year by comedian Jerrod Carmichael, who also starred in Nick Stoller’s hilarious fest hit “Neighbors,” starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron. Other movies that made their mark in the wide-ranging SXSW sections, including the Spotlight, Midnight and Vision sections, include opener “Chef,” a scruffy father-son road comedy from Jon Favreau (with Gary Clarke Jr. performing at the after party) and Diego Luna’s riveting and sincere biopic “Cesar Chavez,” starring Michael Pena and America Ferrara as the farm worker activist and his stalwart wife, which roused the Paramount to multiple standing ovations. 

Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics and IFC used the fest as press launches for Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel,” Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” and richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” respectively. And Participant Media mounted a day long conference of its own to accompany five films at the fest, including “Cesar Chavez” and corporate oil expose “The Great Invisible.”

According to a SXSW press release:

Jury Awards were selected from the Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature Competition categories. Films in these categories, as well as all feature categories (with the exception of Headliners and Special Events), and the Poster and Title Design Competition entrants, are also eligible for 2014 SXSW Film Festival Audience Awards. All Audience Awards will be announced separately on Saturday, March 15, (with the exception of the 24 Beats Per Second category, which will be announced on Monday, March 17 due to first screenings scheduled for Saturday, 3/15). SXSW continues showing films through Saturday, March 15, details can be found here.

The full list of award winners is below.


The 2014 SXSW Film Festival Award Winners:

Feature Film Jury Awards

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Grand Jury Winner: Fort Tilden

Director: Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers

Special Jury Recognition for Courage in Storytelling: Animals

Actor & Screenwriter: David Dastmalchian

Special Jury Recognition for Best Acting Duo: 10,000KM (Long Distance)

Natalie Tena

David Verdaguer  

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Grand Jury Winner: The Great Invisible

Director: Margaret Brown

Special Jury Recognition for Political Courage: Vessel

Director: Diana Whitten

Special Jury Recognition for Editing & Storytelling: Print the Legend

Directors: Luis Lopez & Clay Tweel

Short Film Jury Awards

NARRATIVE SHORTS 

Winner: Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire

Director: Monia Chokri

Special Jury Recognition: Person to Person

Director: Dustin Guy Defa

Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography: Krisha

Director: Trey Edward Shults

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS 

Winner: Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace

Director: Jeff Dupre

MIDNIGHT SHORTS

Winner: Wawd Ahp

Directors: Steve Girard & Josh Chertoff

ANIMATED SHORTS 

Winner: Coda

Director: Alan Holly

MUSIC VIDEOS 

Winner: Joel Compass, “Back to Me”

Director: Ian and Cooper

TEXAS SHORTS

Winner: Some vacation.

Director: Anne S. Lewis

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS

Winner: Seawolf

Director: Caila Pickett & Max Montoya

SXSW Film Design Awards

EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN 

Winner: Starry Eyes

Designer: Jay Shaw

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN 

Winner: True Detective

Designer: Patrick Clair for Elastic

Special Jury Recognition: The Lego Movie

Designer: Brian Mah for Alma Matter

SXSW Special Awards 

SXSW GAMECHANGER EMERGENT WOMAN DIRECTOR AWARD

Winner: Jen McGowan, Kelly & Cal

Special Mention: Kat Candler. Hellion

LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD

Winner: Boyhood

Director: Richard Linklater

KAREN SCHMEER FILM EDITING FELLOWSHIP

Presented to: Colin Nusbaum

The 2014 SXSW Film Festival Juries consisted of:

Narrative Feature Competition: Kate Aurthur, Michael Hogan, Oliver Platt

Documentary Feature Competition: David Ehrlich, Dave Karger, Amy Nicholson

Shorts Program: Bret Berg, Dan Nuxoll, Saschka Unseld

Documentary Shorts: Heather Courtney, Daniel Dreifuss, Adam Roffman

Animated Shorts: Geoff Marslett, Carson Mell, Julia Pott

Midnight Shorts: Meredith Borders, Adam Montgomery, Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Music Videos: John T. Kunz, Tyler Pratt, Shakey Graves

Texas Shorts: Elizabeth Avellán, Eugenio del Bosque, Heather Page

Texas High School Shorts: Emily Hagins, Bob Ray, Bart Weiss

Title Sequence Design: Ian Albinson, Pamela Green, Yen Tan

Poster Design: Christian Helms, Tim League, Kurt Volk

Louis Black “Lone Star”: Peter Debruge, Victor Diaz, Harry Knowles

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