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Film Festival Roundup: Hot Docs Announces Awards, Human Rights Watch Festival Unveils Lineup and More

Plus, Nantucket adds more programs and films, Montclair announces awards, and Wizard World launches a festival.

Nobody Speak

“Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press”

Courtesy of Sundance

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.

Lineup Announcements

– The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will be presented June 9 – 18, with 21 topical and provocative feature documentaries and panel discussions that showcase courageous resilience in challenging times. In an era of global advances by far-right forces into the political mainstream, assaults on the free press, and the rise of “citizen journalism,” festival organizers hope that the films in this year’s program can serve as inspiration and motivation for the audience, from seasoned activists to those searching for a role in local and global movements.

Now in its 28th edition, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival is co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center. All screenings will be followed by in-depth discussions with filmmakers, film subjects, Human Rights Watch researchers, and special guests. Highlights include “Nowhere to Hide,” “Lost in Lebanon,” “The Good Postman,” “The Blood Is at the Doorstep,” “The Force,” “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press,” and “The Force.” Check out the full lineup right here.

“In these trying times for human rights, this year’s festival lineup champions activism—from people demanding accountability and major reform in the US police and justice institutions, to Chinese workers battling an electronics giant’s unsafe working conditions, to Mayan women at the forefront of political accountability and change in Guatemala, to the remarkable work of digital activists in Brazil and Tibet,” said John Biaggi, the festival’s creative director. “The festival highlights the outstanding work of activists at home and around the world, presenting a broad array of urgent human rights issues beyond those that command today’s headlines.”

The Keepers Netflix Documentary

“The Keepers”

Courtesy of Netflix

– The Nantucket Film Festival has announced additional programming for the 2017 line-up, including brand new and returning Signature Programs, Short Films and Virtual Reality, and an additional honoree. NFF also revealed this year’s jurors for the Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions. The 22nd annual Nantucket Film Festival runs June 21 – 26.

This year’s Signature Programs will include a mixture of returning and brand new programs. Returning to NFF is the popular All-Star Comedy Roundtable, Presented by Ben Stiller, featuring Whitney Cummings (“2 Broke Girls”) and Kristen Schaal (“The Last Man on Earth”), and hosted by Pete Holmes (“Crashing”); In Their Shoes…®, a conversation with honoree Tom McCarthy and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews; Afternoon Tea Talk with Academy Award®-nominee Gabourey Sidibe (“Empire”), which will feature a screening of her directorial debut “The Tale of Four,” created as part of Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology short film series; a 30th anniversary Beach Screening of “La Bamba,” accompanied by a conversation with star Esai Morales; and Morning Coffee With…®, a free flowing daily conversation with filmmakers at the festival, hosted by actor and director Tom Cavanagh (“The Flash,” “Ed”).

New to NFF this year: TV and Talks, which offers audiences a look at special episodes of new television series paired with conversations with series creators or talent, including a sneak preview of episodes of EPIX’s new series “Get Shorty,” as well as a special episode of Netflix’s docuseries “The Keepers”; and Late Night Letters, an evening of curated missives from notable writers read by special guests and hosted by NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg. Full information on all Signature Programs below.

Geremy Jasper will receive the New Voices in Screenwriting Award, presented by comedian, actress, and performer Bridget Everett. Jasper’s film “Patti Cake$,” starring Danielle Macdonald and Everett, will screen at the festival as a Spotlight Film. Previous recipients of this award include Sian Heder, Leslye Headland, Ben Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar, Michael Arndt, Lake Bell, and Mike Cahill. Jasper joins previously announced honorees Oscar®-winning writer/director Tom McCarthy, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield, and Emmy-nominated writing team David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik at the Screenwriters Tribute on Friday, June 23.

– The Oak Cliff Film Festival (OCFF) has announced its Feature Program for the 6th edition of the festival, taking place June 8 – 11. The schedule is comprised of 25 feature-length films, seven of which will make their Texas premieres at the hyper-local festival that filmmakers and film-lovers alike call their favorite retreat of the year.

Highlights include “A Ghost Story,” “Endless Poetry,” “Lemon,” “The Little Hours,” “Scarred Hearts,” and “Super Dark Times.” You can check out the full lineup right here.

brett gelman lemon

“Lemon”

– The fiercely independent film festival Dances With Films (DWF) has announced its 2017 lineup of narrative and documentary features and short films for its 20th annual edition. Opening the festival on June 1 are two alumni projects: filmmaker David Heinz’s modern musical, “American Folk” in its Los Angeles debut and the world premiere of Tamar Halpern’s intellectual thriller, “Missing in Europe.” Another DWF alumni project, “Austin Found,” by director Will Raée, closes the festival with its world premiere on June 11.

The festival is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of innovative independent cinema in the U.S., presenting amazing, undiscovered talent to an industry audience in Hollywood. DWF will run June 1 – 11 in Los Angeles, CA at the TCL Chinese Theaters. You can check out the full lineup right here.

“We consider ourselves a true festival of discovery,” said festival co-founders Michael Trent and Leslee Scallon. “Our aim is to showcase films that have unique voices from the indie scene,  stories that bring a touch of magic to the screen.  We have discovered a great many of them over these last two decades, so we are excited to present this year’s slate of knock-out talent.”

– Wizard World, Inc. and Bloody-Disgusting are teaming to present the Wizard World Horror Fest, held in conjunction with Wizard World Comic Cons in select cities, beginning in Philadelphia, June 1-4 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Programmed by Josh Goldbloom, founder and artistic director of The Awesome Fest, with whom Wizard World has previously collaborated on the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival and Brad Miska (co-founder of Bloody-Disgusting), the tour will feature special guests Q&A’s, horror icons, film premieres, repertory event screenings, meet & greets with actors, writers and directors and more.

Kicking off on Thursday, June 1 and, the lineup for the first stop, Philadelphia, will include anniversary screenings of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” with special guest Kristy Swanson, “The Monster Squad” with stars Andre Gower & Ryan Lambert, and perhaps the very best screening of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.” Other highlights include premiere screenings of “Dark Signal,” “Super Dark Times,” and “Found Footage 3D.”

Find out more information at the official Wizard World website.

"A Ghost Story"

“A Ghost Story”

– Returning to San Francisco for the 16th year, SF IndieFest will fun for 16 days and will screen real life stories about rock’n’roll, activism, art, sport, animals, business, disability, the environment, spirituality and the just plain weird. Screenings will take place May 31 – June 15 at the Roxie Theater, Vogue Theater and the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater in San Francisco.

Highlights include “Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk,” “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton,” and “The Work.” You can check out the full lineup right here.

Awards and Honors

– Hot Docs has announced this year’s award-winning Festival films and filmmakers. The Hot Docs Awards Presentation, hosted by Garvia Bailey, host of “Good Morning Toronto!” on Jazz.FM91, took place on Friday, May 5, at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto. Twelve awards and $67,000 in cash and prizes were presented to Canadian and international filmmakers, including awards for Festival films in competition and those recognizing emerging and established filmmakers.

The Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award was presented to “Unarmed Verses.” The Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary was presented to “Resurrecting Hassan.” The Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award, sponsored by Jameson First Shot, is given to a first or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program. The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs and was presented to François Jacob for “A Moon of Nickel and Ice.”

The Best International Feature Documentary Award was presented to “The Other Side of the Wall.” The Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary was presented to “A Cambodian Spring.” The Emerging International Filmmaker Award was presented to director Egil Håskjold Larsen for “69 Minutes of 86 Days.”

“A Cambodian Spring”

The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to “Death in the Terminal.” In the Best Mid-Length Documentary category, the jury also acknowledged the film “The Lives of Thérèse.” The Best Short Documentary Award was presented to “Sovdagari.” In the Best Short Documentary category, the jury also acknowledged the film “Volte.”

The Lindalee Tracey Award, which honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour, was presented to Thyrone Tommy for his film “Mariner.” The Hot Docs Board of Directors acknowledged Tony Palmer as the recipient of the 2017 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award.

Montreal-based producer Daniel Cross was presented with the Don Haig Award, which is given to an outstanding independent Canadian producer with a film in the festival in recognition of his/her creative vision, entrepreneurship and track record for nurturing emerging talent. Earlier in the week, Monique Simard, President and CEO of SODEC, the government agency dedicated to the promotion and support of Quebec culture, received the 2017 Doc Mogul Award at a special luncheon.

– The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) has announced that they will honor Oscar-winning actress Julie Andrews with a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the festival’s 25th anniversary. The 25th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place over Columbus Day Weekend, October 5 – 9.

Screen and stage legend, Julie Andrews, will be the recipient of this year’s HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award. Well known for her defining roles on stage in “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot,” and her classic screen performances in “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music,” the multi-talented and award winning actress is a Kennedy Center Honoree (2001), a Disney Legend inductee and the recipient of the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a bestselling author of over 30 children’s books as well as the first installment of her autobiography, “Home: A Memoir of My Early Years” (2008) and is now working on the companion sequel. Ms. Andrews just completed directing a hugely successful revival of “My Fair Lady” which is currently touring though Australia, and is the co-creator and star of “Julie’s Greenroom,” a newly released series on Netflix which teaches young children about the theater and the arts.

“Julie Andrews is a true icon and captured the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike the moment she first appeared on screen in “Mary Poppins”,” said HIFF Co-Chairman Alec Baldwin. “Since then she has never ceased to amaze and stands as a true role model and inspiration. We are proud to honor her at the festival and celebrate her incredible career.”

– The Montclair Film Festival (MFF) has announced the winners of the 2017 film competitions. This year’s festival featured four competitive categories with five films in each: Fiction, Documentary, Future/ Now, and New Jersey Filmmaking. The 2017 festival featured over 150 feature and short films screened over ten days. Winners included “Lady Macbeth,” “Strong Island,” “Beach Rats,” “The Reagan Show,” “Swim Team,” “City of Ghosts,” “Acorn & the Firestorm,” “Maudie,” “Edith + Eddie,” “Casting JonBenet,” and “Elian.”

“Strong Island”

– SIFF has announced the Grand Prize winner of its second-annual Catalyst Screenplay Competition.Taking home the gold is “The Tiger & the Protected” by Jeff Scott, a moving drama about a high-school basketball star who jeopardizes his future after assaulting a student and the endless lengths his mother goes to protect him. “The Tiger & the Protected” will receive a live read-through at the SIFF Film Center on Saturday, June 10 during SIFF’s Closing Weekend, with screenwriter Jeff Scott scheduled to attend as a distinguished guest of the Festival.

The SIFF Catalyst Screenplay Competition connects strong scripts with independent directors and producers, all alumni of SIFF’s Catalyst program. It emphasizes the importance of the screenwriter in the creative process and closes the loop of mentorship and collaboration by drawing on industry professionals who have participated in and graduated from Catalyst over its five years of existence.

“We at SIFF are extremely excited by the incredible array of talent brought to the Festival through the Catalyst Screenplay Competition. The filmmaking process all begins with a strong screenplay, and we are honored to take part in supporting new talent in the independent film industry,” says Executive Director Sarah Wilke.

Submissions and Calls for Entry

– The 5th annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival regular submissions are open. For submission rules and more details, please visit their dedicated Nitehawk Shorts Festival website, right here.

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