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Seattle International Film Festival Announces 2015 Winners

Seattle International Film Festival Announces 2015 Winners

READ MORE: Exclusive: Seattle Film Fest Programs 6 American Indies in Catalyst Lineup

The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) has announced its set of winners.

The festival, which is in its 41st year, ran for 25 days and featured 450 movies, representing 92 countries. An eclectic collection of films of all genres screened at SIFF, in addition to a handful of revivals that were played in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation. 

Read on below for the list of winners:

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AUDIENCE AWARDS 

Audience Award for Best Film:
“The Dark Horse,” directed by James Napier Robertson (New Zealand).
“The Dark Horse” explores triumph through hardship as a genius New Zealand chess player who suffers from bipolar disorder pays forward his chess expertise to young and underserved people in his community. 

Audience Award for Best Documentary:
“Romeo is Bleeding,” directed by Jason Zeldes (USA).
A poet works through the perils of intense community violence to help local youth create a modern-day adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Audience Award for Best Director:
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (USA).
A high school senior who is exclusively concerned with reimagining old movies and hanging out with his only friend, Earl, is forced by his mother to befriend a very ill classmate. He eventually becomes close to her as she suffers through her disease.

Audience Award for Best Actor:
Cliff Curtis, “The Dark Horse” (New Zealand).
Curtis portrays a bipolar chess player, recently released from a psychiatric facility, who uses his chess skills and brilliance to connect with youth in his community.

Audience Award for Best Actress:
Nina Hoss, “Phoenix” (Germany).
Hoss plays a Holocaust survivor who emerges from the brutal conflict with a reconstructed face and a newfound understanding of the ways in which her life could be in danger.

Audience Award for Best Short Film:
“Even the Walls,” directed by Sarah Kuck, Saman Maydáni (USA). 
Nine public housing residents of Yesler Terrace explore the ways in which their neighborhood is changing.

Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision:
“Frame by Frame,” directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan).
Explores the rebuilding of the ability to exercise free press since the Taliban ruled Afghanistan through photojournalism. 

COMPETITION AWARDS

Best New Director (Grand Jury Prize):
Károly Ujj-Mészáros for “Liza, the Fox-Fairy” (Hungary). 
JURY STATEMENT: “For its lively, inventive visual wit and offbeat look at romantic delusion involving a haunted Hungarian nurse, a long-suffering police sergeant, and the ghost of a ’50s Japanese pop singer, we have given this year’s New Directors Prize to Károly Ujj-Mészáros.”

Best Documentary (Grand Jury Prize):
“The Great Alone,” directed by Greg Kohs (USA).
JURY STATEMENT: “Our Grand Jury Prize goes to a film that stopped all of us in our tracks.  One of the joys of the film festival experience is discovering a film that works so well on every level. This is an inspiring film about one man’s story that is both intimate and epic – we were knocked out by the filmmaker’s achievement in crafting a visually stunning, completely engrossing narrative about one extraordinary human being.”

Best New American Cinema (Grand Jury Prize):
“Chatty Catties,” directed by Pablo Valencia (USA).
JURY STATEMENT: “The FIPRESCI jury at the 41st edition of the Seattle International Film Festival bestows its International Critics’ Prize to a film that – with an enormous amount of risk-taking – innovatively expands stylistic and narrative boundaries. With a fresh view on intimate relationships, director Pablo Valencia creates an unexpected and utterly original emotional landscape in ‘Chatty Catties.'”

FUTUREWAVE AND YOUTH JURY AWARDS

Best Futurewave Feature:
“Seoul Searching,” directed by Benson Lee (USA/South Korea).
JURY STATEMENT: “For its diverse and relatable characters, quality mix of emotion and comedy, and accurate and respectful representation of teens, the 2015 FutureWave Youth Jury Prize goes to ‘Seoul Searching.'”

Best Films4Families Feature:
“When Marnie Was There,” directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Japan).
JURY STATEMENT: “For its beautiful and detailed animation, realistic sound design, and original, bittersweet tale of mystery the Films4Families Jury awards ‘When Marnie Was There.'”

Wavemaker Award (Grand Prize):
“Audio Input,” directed by Sho Schrock-Manabe (USA).
JURY STATEMENT: “For its insightful and engaging portrait of podcasting, an audio art form, through a collage of interviews and images.”

Futurewave Audience Award:
“Minimum Max,” directed by Josh Ovalle (USA).

Prodigy Camp Scholarships 
“I’m Not Here,” directed by Jack Markovitz (South Africa).
“Minimum Max,” directed by Josh Ovalle (USA).

SHORT FILM JURY AWARDS

Grand Jury Prize (Live Action):
“The Chicken,” directed by Una Gunjak (Croatia, Germany).
JURY STATEMENT: “An expertly crafted narrative that explores life and death through the eyes of a young girl. With a film full of authentic performances, Iman Alibalic is extraordinary as the six-year-old protagonist who receives a live chicken from her father for her birthday, and soon realizes it’s meant for dinner. This is an emotional film with a production quality that continues to move the story along and underscore the realities of life in a war zone.”

Special Jury Prize (Live Action):
“Hole,” directed by Martin Edralin (Canada). 
JURY STATEMENT: “‘Hole’ is a brave exploration of human sexuality and yearning for intimacy through the eyes of a lonely, forgotten, disabled man in the heart of Toronto. Ken Harrower delivers a captivating performance that transcends any labels or limitations and speaks to the need for human connection.”

Grand Jury Prize (Documentary):
“Bihttoš,” directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Canada).
JURY STATEMENT: “For its ambitious approaches to visual storytelling and imaginative recounting of an exceptional family history.”

Grand Jury Prize (Animation):
“The Mill at Calder’s End,” directed by Kevin McTurk (USA).
JURY STATEMENT: “There exists a tendency to laud the new—new stories, new techniques, new talent. With the animation award, the jury is pleased to celebrate a film that is decidedly old-school, breathing life into a bygone style, iterating in a story tradition that is centuries old. For this fusion of the modern and classic, we are happy to award Kevin McTurk for ‘The Mill at Calder’s End.'”

READ MORE: Seattle Film Fest Books Scorsese, Greenaway, ‘Overnight,’ ‘Inside Out,’ ’54’ and More

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