SIFF Awards Brunch

I had eggs and potatoes and salad and apple turnovers and salmon and lots and lots of bacon at the brunch where the awards for the 33rd annual Seattle International Film Festival were given out. The various juries doled out $23,000 in cash prizes, plus some budgeting and scheduling software, and all the winners received a beautifully blobtastic award that was hand-crafted at Dale Chihuly's glass studio. In addition, the winner of the short film audience award received a tricked-out laptop, a video iPod and $1,000 in Kodak film stock. Nice.


New Directors Showcase

Grand Jury Prize: Sons, directed by Eric Richter Strand (Norway)

Director's comments upon receiving the award, spoken with a heavy Norweigan accent: "This was my first film as a director, and it's special to get this recognition. It's a film with a sensitive topic that can be tough to watch. I'm extremely happy. I'm going to go straight home to Norway and work my ass off on my next film and hopefully come back one day."

New American Cinema

Grand Jury Prize: Shotgun Stories, written and directed by Jeff Nichols

Jury Statement: "Shotgun Storiesis a starkly powerful tale told with a distinctively American voice."

Special Jury Prize: Lovely by Surprise, directed by Kirt Gunn

Director's comments upon receiving the recognition: "Through a crazy set of events it came around that I had this opportunity and made this film, after having two kids. So this whole week I have been away from the two of them, and it's father's day today. I talked to my four-year-old, and I said, 'Do you want to tell me happy father's day?' And she told me, 'No, I want to tell you to come home.' I told her that I was going to stay one more day to see if I was going to win anything, and she said, 'Daddy you probably didn't win.' [Laughter] I'm going to take this award back and rub it in their nasty little faces."

Best Documentary

Grand Jury Prize: Out of Time, directed by Harald Friedl (Austria)

Jury Statement: "The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to Out of Time for its courage in choosing an unfashionable constituency, a group of old Viennese merchants, examining the passing of an era of craft and service, and opening up into a meditation on the universal question of the meaning of an individual life."

Special Jury Prize: Angels in the Dust, directed by Louise Hogarth (USA)

Jury Statement: "Angels in the Dust is a rousing act of consciousness-raising about the human toll and bravery of living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, told at the most personal and therefore the most political level."

Best Short

Narrative Short Grand Jury Prize: Wigald, directed by Timon Modersohn (Germany)

Animated Short Grand Jury Prize: Everything Will Be OK, directed by Don Hertzfeldt (USA)

Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize: Chocolate Country, directed by Robin Blotnick (Dominican Republic/USA)


Best Film: Outsourced, directed by John Jeffcoat (USA)

Best Documentary: For the Bible Tells Me So, directed by Daniel Karslake (USA)

Best Director: Daniel Waters, Sex and Death 101 (USA)

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose (France/Czech Republic)

Best Actor: Daniel Brühl, Salvador (Spain)

Best Short: Pierre, directed by Dan Brown (USA)

A few of the winners were in the audience.

Best Film director John Jeffcoat (Outsourced) talked about how his writing partner George Wing and his production team are Seattle-based, and how it is a Seattle film even though much of it was shot in India. They also announced that they are going to self-distribute the film in the fall.

Best Director winner for Sex and Death 101, Daniel Waters talked about how his movie mixes genres and how "Seattle audiences are the only people who get it and don't go running from the theater."

Best Short director Dan Brown admitted, "I had a bad morning, but it turned out okay."


Heineken Red Star Award: Kyrill Mikhanovsky, Fish Dreams (Brazil)

Jury Statement: "The Heineken Red Star Award for originality, innovation and vision in film goes to Fish Dreams from Brazil, directed by Kyrill Mikhanovsky, for his remarkable debut in which he perfectly realizes a milieu very far removed from his own, for his empathetically drawn characters and beguiling beauty of his images."

Women in Cinema Lena Sharpe Award: Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern, The Devil Came on Horseback (USA)

WaveMaker Award for Excellence in Youth Filmmaking: Jewmaican, directed by Melinda Tenenzapf

FutureWave Audience Award: Laundry, directed by Darrow Stettes, Allex Bullard and Hanna Overman

And that's that. I'll file one more report later this week that comments on the last batch of films that I saw in the festival and wraps everything up with a nice little bow.


Andy Spletzer is already feeling withdrawal from the steady diet of films he had gotten used to.