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"Burma VJ" Leads SFIFF Winners

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 7, 2009 at 6:02AM

Anders Østergaard's "Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country" took home the Golden Gate Award for best investigate documentary, which comes with a $25,000 cash prize, last night as the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival came to a close. The film, being released in theaters next week through Oscilloscope, follows the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), aka the Burma VJs. Compiled from the handheld footage of the DVB, the film details the VJs as they themselves become the target of the Burmese government.
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Anders Østergaard's "Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country" took home the Golden Gate Award for best investigate documentary, which comes with a $25,000 cash prize, last night as the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival came to a close. The film, being released in theaters next week through Oscilloscope, follows the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), aka the Burma VJs. Compiled from the handheld footage of the DVB, the film details the VJs as they themselves become the target of the Burmese government.

Other major winners include Gaël Métroz's "Nomad's Land," which won the $20,000 Golden Gate Award for best documentary feature. Previous winners in this category include Yung Chang's "Up The Yangtze," Shahar Cohen and Halil Efrat's "Souvenirs," and Michael Glawogger's "Workingman's Death." Jim Granato's "D Tour" won the award for Bay Area doc, while Aida Begic's "Snow" won the New Directors Award. Both carry $15,000 prizes.

The San Francisco Film Society, which puts on SFIFF, additionally announced the SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant, which they co-award with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The $35,000 grant, given to "a filmmaker for a narrative feature film, with a social justice theme, being made in the San Francisco Bay Area," was awarded to Richard Levien for the screenwriting/script development of "La Migra." The film follows eleven-year-old Alondra, who comes home from school to find that her mother, Guadalupe, has been taken by the immigration police. "Every day across the U.S. families are separated, often for life, by the deportation process," SFFS stated. "'La Migra' makes this story personal."

The complete list of Golden Gate Award winners is below. Check back with indieWIRE for a dispatch from the festival.


Golden Gate Award Documentary Feature Winners

Investigative Documentary Feature:
Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, Anders Østergaard (Denmark/Sweden 2008)
· Winner receives a $25,000 cash prize

Bay Area Documentary Feature:
D tour, Jim Granato (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $15,000 cash prize, Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 software courtesy of Apple and $2,000 worth of lab services from EFILM Digital Laboratories

Documentary Feature:
Nomad's Land, Gaël Métroz (Switzerland 2008)
· Winner receives a $20,000 cash prize and Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 software courtesy of Apple

Golden Gate Award Short Film Winners

Adobe Youth Film for Change:
A Generation of Consolidation, Samantha Muilenburg, Brooke Noel (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $1,500 cash prize and an Adobe production suite certificate

Youth Work:
No Light at the End of the Tunnel, Charlotte Burger (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $1,500 cash prize and an Adobe production suite certificate

Honorable Mention:
Poetry in the Dark, Daniel Kharlak (USA 2008)

Work for Kids and Families:
Mutt, Glen Hunwick (Australia 2008)
· Winner receives a $1,500 cash prize

Animated Short:
Kanizsa Hill, Evelyn Lee (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $2,000 cash prize

New Visions:
Circles of Confusion, Phoebe Tooke (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $1,500 cash prize and 1,000 feet of Kodak film stock

Bay Area Short, First Prize:
Immersion, Richard Levien (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $2,000 cash prize

Bay Area Short, Second Prize:
Utopia, Part 3: The World's Largest Shopping Mall, Sam Green, Carrie Lozano (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $1,500 cash prize

Documentary Short:
Tongzhi in Love, Ruby Yang (USA 2008)
· Winner receives a $5,000 cash prize

Narrative Short:
Angels Die in the Soil, Babak Amini (Iran 2008)
· Winner receives a $5,000 cash prize and 1,000 feet of Kodak film stock

New Directors Award
Snow, Aida Begic (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008)
· Winner receives a $15,000 cash prize and Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 software courtesy of Apple

FIPRESCI Prize
Everything Strange and New, Frazer Bradshaw (USA 2008)

This article is related to: Burma VJ





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