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AFI Fest: ‘James White,’ ‘Mustang,’ ‘Ma’ Lead Audience Award Winners

AFI Fest: 'James White,' 'Mustang,' 'Ma' Lead Audience Award Winners

The last big festival of 2015 has wrapped up with organizers at AFI Fest putting away the red carpet for another year. While the fest boasted starry premieres for Angelina Jolie Pitt‘s “By The Sea” (our review) and Will Smith‘s “Concussion” (our review), it wasn’t those films that walked with away with big prizes.

READ MORE: Check Out Our Coverage Of AFI Fest 2015

This year, the Audience Award favored foreign films and challenging work. Among those honored is the already hotly buzzed Sundance breakout “James White” starring Cynthia Nixon and Christopher Abbott, Cannes sensation “Mustang,” and the experimental “Ma” (read our review). 

Check out the press with the full list of winners below, and mark ’em down as ones to keep an eye on.

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LOS ANGELES, CA, November 12, 2015 — AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi announces today the feature and short films receiving this year’s Jury and Audience Awards. The New Auteurs Grand Jury Award was presented to LAND AND SHADE, while DISORDER received a Special Jury Mention for Direction, and DESDE ALLÁ received a Special Jury Mention for Screenplay. BOYS received the Grand Jury Award for Live Action Short, and WORLD OF TOMORROW received the Grand Jury Award for Animated Short. This year’s Audience Award recipients in the New Auteurs, World Cinema and Breakthrough sections included MUSTANG, JAMES WHITE and MA. The full list of winners is below.

The Jury Awards honored works from the New Auteurs section, which highlighted 11 films from first and second-time feature film directors, and the Shorts section, which included 53 films representing diverse international perspectives. The Audience Award winners were selected from among 54 films in these festival sections: American Independents, Breakthrough, New Auteurs and World Cinema.

Select award-winning films will screen again today at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. Admission is available to AFI FEST 2015 passholders and the general public via rush line, which begins forming one hour before each film’s scheduled screening start time. For screening times visit AFI.com/AFIFEST.

NEW AUTEURS AWARDS

This year’s New Auteurs jury was comprised of Inkoo Kang (TheWrap), Sheri Linden (The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times) and Nigel M. Smith (The Guardian).

New Auteurs Grand Jury Award: LAND AND SHADE (DIR César Augusto Acevedo)

Jury Statement: “For its visual eloquence, formal rigor and emotional power, the New Auteurs Grand Jury Award goes to LAND AND SHADE. Its observations of economic exploitation and environmental degradation are as incisive as its characters are fully realized. Writer/director César Augusto Acevedo’s debut feature is an indelible portrait of a family in rural Colombia, told with unwavering compassion and Bressonian grace.”

Special Jury Mention for Direction: DISORDER (DIR Alice Winocour)

Jury Statement: “For the taut and muscular direction of her viscerally entertaining thriller DISORDER, the jury recognizes writer/director Alice Winocour with a Special Jury Mention. Through precise execution of her material, Winocour subverts expectations commonly associated with genre films to deliver a bracing experience that stuns and surprises.”

Special Jury Mention for Screenplay: DESDE ALLÁ (DIR/SCR Lorenzo Vigas)

Jury Statement: “A tense, sensitive and unpredictable exploration of an improbable but emotionally believable relationship, the screenplay for DESDE ALLÁ merits a Special Jury Mention for its heartbreaking characters and its keen insights into the prejudices, alienation, social divides and desperate need for control that allow love to both bloom and wither.”

GRAND JURY AWARDS, LIVE ACTION AND ANIMATED SHORT

Grand Jury winners in the Shorts categories are eligible for Academy Award® consideration. This year’s Shorts Jury featured filmmaker Janicza Bravo, producer Keith Calder and the British Film Commission’s Tara Halloran.

Grand Jury Award for Live Action Short: BOYS (DIR Isabella Carbonell)

Jury Statement: “This film tackles the abominable with courage, confidence and dignity. It shows us humanity in the places where we would least expect to find it.”

Grand Jury Award for Animated Short: WORLD OF TOMORROW (DIR Don Hertzfeldt)

Jury Statement: “Funny. Scary. Heartbreaking. Original. And beautiful. This film hit us all hard.”

Live Action Short Special Mention for Innovative Storytelling: RATE ME (DIR Fyzal Boulifa)

Jury Statement: “This film pushes the boundaries not only of filmmaking technique but also social convention.”

Live Action Short Special Mention for Nonfiction Filmmaking: The Reagan Shorts — RONALD REAGAN LIGHTS THE LIGHTS, RONALD REAGAN PARDONS A TURKEY, MARYLAND PUBLIC TELEVISION INTERVIEWS THE REAGANS (DIR Pacho Velez)

Jury Statement: “By selecting and editing these gems from years worth of archival footage, these shorts shine a light on the marriage of politics and performance.”

Animated Short Special Jury Mention for Screenwriting: TEETH (DIRS Tom Brown, Daniel Gray)

Jury Statement: “This film has many merits, but we were struck most by its sharp wit, character and spirit.”

Animated Short Special Jury Mention for Creative Vision: MANOMAN (DIR Simon Cartwright)

Jury Statement: “This film creates a world unlike any we’ve seen before. It was a privilege to have been invited in.”

AUDIENCE AWARDS

World Cinema Audience Award: LANDFILL HARMONIC (DIRS Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley, Juliana Penaranda-Loftus)

New Auteurs Audience Award: MUSTANG (DIR Deniz Gamze Ergüven)

American Independents Audience Award: JAMES WHITE (DIR Josh Mond)

Breakthrough Audience Award: MA (DIR Celia Rowlson-Hall)

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