By Jay A. Fernandez | Indiewire April 26, 2012 at 8:1PM
Kim Nguyen's "War Witch" and Lucy Mulloy's "Una Noche" were the big winners of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival narrative competition, while Nisha Pahuja's "The World Before Her" took the top documentary competition prize at the fest. The winners were announced Thursday night at an awards ceremony at the Conrad New York.
Nguyen's "War Witch," about a 14-year-old African girl forced to become a child soldier, took the Founders Award for best narrative feature. The film's young star, non-professional actor Rachel Mwanza, was awarded the top actress prize.
"Una Noche" leads Dariel Arrechada and Javier Nuñez Florian were awarded the best actor prizes, while Mulloy was handed best new narrative director and the film's DPs, Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder, took the prize for best cinematography. The story of three Cuban teenagers trying to escape to Florida took on an unexpected extra dimension last week when Florian and co-star Anailin de la Rua de la Torre fled into Miami during a stop on the way from Cuba to New York for the film's premiere. [Go HERE for our interview with the director and cast of "Una Noche."]
"Unit 7" cinematographer Alex Catalan was given a special jury mention, while Daniel Burman and Sergio Dubcovsky were awarded the best narrative screenplay prize for "All In (La Suerte en Tus Manos)."
Jeroen van Velzen was chosen best new documentary director for "Wavumba." Bryan Buckley's "Asad" took best narrative short. Best feature film in the TFF online festival, which was voted on by visitors to the Tribeca Film website, is Fredric Golding's "On the Mat."
“We salute the courage of the jury to award films that not only tell stories about real issues in the world, but are beautifully constructed and crafted,” said TFF artistic director Frederic Boyer. "The amazing first-time performances by young actors are a tribute to the creativity of the films and filmmakers."
In all, the winners received $180,000 in cash awards, production services and original works of art.
Patricia Clarkson, Dakota Fanning, Mike Newell, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Jim Sheridan, and Irwin Winkler comprised the narrative competition jury. Julia Bacha, Kim Cattrall, K’naan, Michael Moore and Lucy Walker made up the jury for the documentary competition.
The complete list of winners at the 11th annual Tribeca fest, which runs through April 29, is on the Tribeca Film Festival website. (The Heineken Audience Award winners will be announced on April 28.)