The films at the Boston Underground Film Festival all compete for the festival’s singular award: a vibrating bunny statuette. The award is given to winners from all categories, with this year’s recipients being announced Sunday night.
Usama Alshaibi’s “Profane” was the unanimous winner of the Best of the Fest Award. The same prize went to Can Evernol’s “To My Mother and Father” in the Shorts section.
“I am very honored and grateful for this award, and it gives me hope to continue to make these difficult films,” said Alshabi. “BUFF is truly a significant and vital underground film festival.”
The Director’s Chair awards went to Trent Haaga’s feature “Chop,” and Matthew Garrett’s short “Beating Hearts.” “Hobo with a Shotgun,” is still alive with audiences after its Sundance premiere, winning the BUFF Audience Award. The film, however, did not win the prize for Most Effectively Offensive, an honor that went to Alexander Yan’s “A Safe Distance Away.”
Some of the stand-out filsm of this year’s edition will screen on March 31 at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Below is the full release…
13th Annual Boston Underground Film Festival Winners Announced
CAMBRIDGE, MA—The winners of the 13th Annual Boston Underground Film Festival (BUFF) were announced Sunday night, March 27, at Tommy Doyle’s in Cambridge. Award winners receive Bacchus, the festival’s signature vibrating bunny statuette. The festival runs a repeat schedule of some of the best films through March 31 at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Usama Alshaibi’s Profane, about a faithless Muslim sex worker who loses her Jinn (the Islamic term for fiery spirit or demon) and desperately wants to win it back to feel connected to her lost heritage, was the unanimous winner of the festival’s Best of the Fest Feature award, while Best of the Fest Short went to Can Evernol for To My Mother and Father. Jonathan Caouette’s (2004’s Cannes Film Fest hit Tarnation) was the runner up for his first short, All Flowers in Time.
“I am very honored and grateful for this award, and it gives me hope to continue to make these difficult films,” said Profane’s Alshaibi. “BUFF is truly a significant and vital underground film festival.”
Chop, Deadgirl screenwriter Trent Haaga’s directorial debut, received the Director’s Choice award for Best Feature, while Beating Hearts by Matthew Garrett won Best Short. Hobo With a Shotgun, the festival’s opening night film that stars Rutger Hauer, won the Audience Award. The festival’s most idiosyncratic award—Most Effectively Offensive—was given to A Safe Distance Away by Alexander Yan The “Best of” awards are selected by a panel of judges, including: Boston Weekly Dig Associate Editor J. Patrick Brown; Emerson College Department of Visual and Media Arts Professor Ken Feil; Coolidge Corner Theatre Program Manager and experimental filmmaker Jesse Hassinger; musician, actor, filmmaker and New England Institute of Art Associate Professor Tim Jackson, who is currently working on a film about singer/ songwriter Robin Lane with whom he’s worked for 30 years; and video artist BriAnna Olson whose work has premiered at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and on Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Spin, as well as being featured in MTV rotation. The festival’s four directors select the Director’s Choice award.
“Our 13th annual festival was anything but unlucky,” said Festival Director Anna Feder. “We had a record number of world and North American premieres, and we screened films from some of the film industry’s most cutting edge filmmakers, including Jason Eisener, Usama Alshaibi, and Jonathan Caouette.”
Founded in 1999 by veteran film curator David Kleiler, the Boston Underground Film Festival features films that celebrate an alternative vision and sound, offering a platform for filmmakers that encourages new work and ideas and pushes the envelope in style and content.