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55th San Francisco International Film Festival Announces Awards and Prizes at Golden Gate Awards Party

55th San Francisco International Film Festival Announces Awards and Prizes at Golden Gate Awards Party

While the Golden Gate Awards party was going on at the Rasselas Jazz Club and Restaurant on Fillmore, I was some 33 miles south, at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, watching Howard Hawks’ “A Girl in Every Port,” accompanied by Dennis James on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

This meant that I did not know the winners until I read the press release, which further meant that I had only a few seconds (I’m a fast reader) of embarrassment, regret, incomprehension, and amusement at my own expense rather than an entire evening. As seems to be my lot, I had only seen one movie of the six named as winners or honorable mentions for the four top awards (and I’d seen that one last September, at the New York Film Festival, and hadn’t much liked it).

The Golden Gate Award for Documentary Feature (which includes a $20,000 cash prize) went to “It’s The Earth Not the Moon,” (Portugal 2011) by Gonçalo Tocha. Honorable mention: “Meanwhile in Mamelodi,” (Germany/South Africa 2011), by Benjamin Kahlmeyer.

Bay Area Documentary Film winner was “The Waiting Room,” (US 2011), and director Peter Nicks won $15,000 in cash and $2,000 lab services from EFILM Digital Laboratories.

The New Directors Prize went to “Policeman,” (Israel 2011), by Nadav Lapid, who won a $15,000 cash prize. The Honorable Mention went to “OK, Enough, Goodbye,” (Lebanon/UAE 2010), by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia. (“Policeman” was the film I saw last fall in NY. And I was on my way to see ”OK, Enough, Goodbye” on the first full day of SFIFF when I got distracted by a friend and accompanied her to “The Fourth Dimension,”  which was probably the most disappointing thing I saw altogether. Ah well.)

And the FIPRESCI international critic’s prize went to “The Exchange,” by Eran Kolerin (Israel/Germany 2011). I’d loved his first feature film, “The Band’s Visit” (2007), which I saw at an earlier SFIFF, and marked it down as one of the films I absolutely had to see at the year’s festival. Somehow it slipped away from me.

Eight additional awards were given to short films, which I can’t comment upon, because I didn’t go to any of the short film programs.

I note with absolutely no sense of irony that none of the awards winners are listed as having US distribution as of now.  

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