Announced last night during the festival’s awards ceremony, in a rare feat, “Sweet Micky for President” picked up 2 top honors: both the audience and the jury prize for best documentary.
The 21st annual Slamdance Film Festival ran from Jan. 23–29 in Park City, Utah.
This year’s selection of 11 narrative films and 8 documentaries included, or most interest to this blog, the world premiere of “Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang,” Colin Offland’s documentary on Dennis Rodman’s so-called “hoops diplomacy” in North Korea, when he met with dictator Kim Jong-un; and the world premiere of the aforementioned, now award-winning “Sweet Micky for President,” also a documentary, directed by Ben Patterson, featuring the contributions of Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel of the Fugees, as well as presidential candidate Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, who campaigns against all odds in Haiti’s third ever democratic election.
Here’s an official description of the doc: Music and politics collide when international music star Pras Michel of the Fugees returns to his homeland of Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010 to mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician: Michel Martelly aka Sweet Micky. The politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupted government, civil unrest and a fixed election. When Pras’ former bandmate – superstar Wyclef Jean – also enters the presidential race, their chances seem even further doomed. But despite the odds, they never give up on their honest dream of changing the course of Haiti’s future forever.
S&A wasn’t at the festival this year, but we thankfully did receive a few screeners (including one for “Sweet Micky”), so expect reviews soon.
The awards ceremony took place at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, UT.
The full list of winners with a brief description of the work is below.
Audience Award for Narrative Feature: “Across the Sea,” directed by Nisan Dağ & Esra Saydam
Damla is a Turkish immigrant estranged from her homeland; she lives in New York City with her husband, Kevin, and they’re expecting their first child. But Damla is still haunted by memories of her first love and when she returns to Turkey with Kevin she has to confront a troubling secret from her past.
Audience Award for Documentary Feature: “Sweet Micky for President” by Ben Patterson
Music and politics collide when international music star Pras Michel of the Fugees returns to his homeland of Haiti, following the devastating earthquake of 2010, to mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician: Michel Martelly aka Sweet Micky. The politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupt government, civil unrest, and a fixed election.
JURY AWARDS – NARRATIVE
Jury Award for Narrative Feature: “Tired Moonlight,” directed by Britni West
“A masterful fusion of cinematic vision and poetic narrative, Tired Moonlight effortlessly transports you from the prosaic surroundings of its poignant characters’ lives into a realm of unexpected beauty and spiritual authenticity with an unforced craftsmanship.” The award winner was granted $3,500 in legal services from Pierce Law Group.
Jury Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature: “They Look Like People,” directed by Perry Blackshear
“With rare filmmaking skill, brains, precision and outstanding performances, Perry Blackshear and his cast and crew silence critics who claim very small and contained films like this can’t be riveting and brilliant.
Jury Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature: “Across the Sea,” directed by Nisan Dağ & Esra Saydam
“Through transcendent cinematography trained on the mystical Mediterranean setting and wonderful minute of uncertain love, directors Nisan Dağ and Esra Saydam provide a beautiful, intense and honest look at a relationship in peril.”
JURY AWARDS – DOCUMENTARY
Jury Award for Documentary Feature: “Sweet Micky for President” by Ben Patterson
“Sweet Micky For President takes the audience on an unbelievable, wild ride through difficult Haitian politics, in a story that is both entertaining and educational. The film is an enormous accomplishment for first-time director Ben Patterson and is a great example of why Slamdance exists – to celebrate new works by new directors whose films can help change our perspective on the world – one story at a time.” The award winner was granted $3,500 in legal services from Pierce Law Group.
Jury Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature: “20 Years of Madness,” directed by Jeremy Royce
“Reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, 20 Years of Madness is brimming with stunning cinematography, eccentric characters and a heartfelt story about the desire to do something great while confronting the reality of failure.”
Jury Award for Documentary Short: “The Solitude of Memory,” directed by Juan Pablo González
“Juan Pablo González paints a vivid and eloquent portrait of a devoted father and the love for his son, drawing deep emotions from the viewer through his use of gorgeous cinematography, moving music and an incredibly honest, trusting main subject.” The award winner qualifies for the Annual Academy Awards.
Jury Honorable Mention for Documentary Short: “Dolphin Lover,” directed by Kareem Tabsch
“Storytelling is an art form, and this film is a prime example of using this medium in a beautiful way to tell a seriously fucked-up, but very true and engaging story.”
JURY AWARDS – SHORT FILMS
Jury Award for Narrative Short: “Stay Awake,” directed by Jamie Sisley
Jury Honorable Mention for Narrative Short: “09:55 – 11:05, Ingrid Ekman,Bergsgatan 4B,” directed. by Christine Berglund & Sophie Vukovic
Jury Award for Animation Short: “The Pride of Strathmoor,” directed by Einar Baldvin
Jury Honorable Mention for Animation Short: “Hipopotamy” directed by Piotr Dumala
Jury Award for Experimental Short: “Red Luck” directed by Mike Olenick
Jury Award for Anarchy Short: “Deviance,” directed by Aron Kantor
Jury Honorable Mention for Anarchy Short: “Sea Devil” directed by Dean C. Marcial
Spirit of Slamdance Award: “Think Ink,” directed by Wally Chung
Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Grand Prize: “Coming To,” directed by Lindsey Haun, DP Spencer Rollins, starring Jacob Demonte-Finn
Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: “The Character Study,” directed & DP Luke Pelizzari
Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: “Isobel,” directed by Marie Jamora, DPJason McLagan
Kodak Director’s Prize: “Detritus,” directed by T.J. Misny