At a Wednesday afternoon cocktail reception on the downtown LA Live rooftop, the festival revealed its 2015 winners. Hosted by LA Film Fest programmers Roya Rastegar and Jennifer Cochis, the event feted many of the festival’s world and North American premieres, and twice toasted Mexico-set crime melodrama “Pocha (Manifest Destiny),” which nabbed both a special jury honor and an audience award.
Special prizes went to runners-up that also included “The Babushkas of Chernobyl,” “White Moss,” “Ayana and the Mechanic,” “Crumbs,” “Dude Bro Party Massacre” and to “French Dirty” supporting actress Elsa Biedermann.
Altogether the festival hosted juried awards for U.S. Fiction, World Fiction, Documentary, Zeitgeist, LA Muse, and Nightfall, as well as Best Short Fiction and Best Short Documentary. Audience awards were presented to Best Fiction Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature Film, Best Short Film and Best Web Series.
LAFF closes tomorrow night, with an Eli Roth-hosted live read of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” with Lily Collins and Haley Joel Osment among the celebrity script-readers.
Herewith, the winners. Juries listed out below:
US Fiction: “Out of My Hand,” dir. Takeshi Fukunaga
Documentary Award: “My Love, Don’t Cross That River,” dir. Mo-Young Jin
World Fiction Award: “Flocken,” dir. Beata Gårdeler
Nightfall Award: “Crush the Skull,” dir. Viet Nguyen (world premiere)
Zeitgeist Award: “Stealing Cars,” dir. Bradley Kaplan (world premiere)
Jury Award for Best Short Fiction: “Drama,” dir. Tian Guan
Jury Award for Best Short Doc: “Dolphin Lover,” dir. Kareem Tabsch
LA Muse Award: “Can You Dig This,” dir. Delila Vallot
Best Fiction Film: “Pocha (Manifest Destiny),” dirs. Michael Dwyer and Kaitlin McLaughlin
Best Documentary (TIE): “I Am Thalente,” dir. Natalie Johns and “Be Here Now,” dir. Lilibet Foster
Best Short: “In Her Place,” dir. Kevin Hamedani
Best Web Series: “The Genderton Project,” dirs. Anna Martemucci and Victor Quinaz
The U.S. Fiction jury consisted of writer and director Nicholas Jasenovec (“Paper Heart,” “Delocated,” “Broad City”); Gretchen McCourt, Executive Vice President of Programming at ArcLight Cinemas, and Sean Berney, Manager of Acquisitions at Fox Searchlight Pictures.
On the World Fiction jury were comprised of Alesia Weston, International Film Consultant, actor, producer and DJ, Tony Okungbowa (“Echo Park,” Ellen DeGeneres, “Mother of George”), producer and Music Supervisor Maureen Crowe (“The Young Victoria,” “Chicago,” “True Romance”).
The Documentary jury consisted of filmmaker Marta Cunningham (“Valentine Road”), writer and producer Grace Lee (“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs,” “Makers: Women in Politics,” “American Zombie”), writer and director Tamar Halpern (“Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life,” “Llyn Foulkes One Man Band,” “Shelf Life”). The LA Muse jury included producer Mary Rohlich (“The Goldbergs,” “Horrible Bosses,” “Four Christmases”), actress and writer Jane Adams (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Happiness,” “Hung”) and Anderson Le, Director of Programming at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
The Nightfall jury consisted of writer and director Daniel Stamm (“The Last Exorcism,” “13 Sins,” “A Necessary Death”), producer Terry Leonard (“Mojave,” “Cold Comes the Night,” “Before I Disappear”) and journalist Jen Yamato.
The Zeitgeist jury included cinematographer Amy Vincent, A.S.C. (“Footloose,” “Black Snake Moan,” “Hustle & Flow”), writer and director Justin Simien (“Dear White People”), writer and producer Drew Dowdle (“No Escape,” “Devil,” “Quarantine”). The Shorts jury consisted of actor Bobby Naderi (“Argo,” “The Taqwacores,” “Fear the Walking Dead”), writer and producer Cody Heller (“Deadbeat,” “The Inbetweeners,” “Wilfred”) and editor Suzanne Spangler (“Benny & Joon,” “Wyatt Earp,” “The Anniversary Party”).