BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE AWARD: Corral (Curral) by Dir. Marcelo Brennand
US Premiere
| Brazil | 2020 | 84 min

“Corral” by Marcello Brennand is a gripping story well told, a powerful emotional story of systemic abuse of a rural community in Brazil. The director takes us on a journey down the slippery slope of compromise that activists find themselves on in the fight against corruption. The film is blessed with the muscular and moving performance of the lead, Thomas Aquino alongside the untrained actors, real people from the local community lending a heartbreaking authenticity to the film.

BEST FEATURE DOC AWARD: Life & Life by Dir. NC Heikin
East Coast Premiere | USA | 2021| 80 min

All of the films in the Feature Documentary category were commendable, and the jury was especially impressed by Life & Life. The filmmaker crafted a powerful narrative about the possibilities of redemption within a flawed system of mass incarceration, and used several unique storytelling techniques to navigate a story both tragic and hopeful, of aging parolees trying to find their way after decades behind bars.

BEST NARRATIVE SHORT AWARD: Seiva Bruta (Under the Heavens) by Dir. Gustavo Milan
East Coast Premiere | Brazil | 2019| 17 min

SEIVA BRUTA was one of the most powerful films in the line up this year, as it successfully told an intimate story within an epic landscape.  Boasting amazing technical attributes while maintaining a tight grip on storytelling, augmented by subtle but very heartfelt performances all around, the film left the viewer with the satisfaction one gets after having seen a great feature… but this is a short subject and that is a unique achievement for a film of this length. It feels complete; it looks amazing; it remains memorable.

BEST SHORT DOC AWARD: Make Him Known by Dir. Rudy Valdez
NY Premiere
| USA | 202o | 20 min

When a documentary not only rocks you to the core but then continues to haunt you afterward, it has perhaps succeeded in its highest form of potency in education and power. Not only does MAKE HIM KNOWN do just that with grace and simplicity, it also represents the imperative conversations of today’s cultural and socio-political landscape regarding racism, policing, and criminal justice reform. It’s imperative that we celebrate the true heroes, like Maya, who have rejected the idea of a spotlight and instead taken the platform of their celebrity and turned it into the most selfless form of service. Less selfie/TikTok culture and more of that, please.

BEST EXPERIMENTAL AWARD: Our Mine by Dir. Shayna Strype
World Premiere
| USA | 2021 | 11 min

Our Mine wins the Best Experimental Film Award as it comes together on so many levels: the animation and puppet and set design are excellent, the script is clever and amusing, and the music carries us all along beautifully! In other words, it had to win! It also has a great pace to it.

BEST ANIMATION AWARD: The Great Malaise by Dir. Catherine Lepage
East Coast Premiere | Canada |2019 | 6 min

THE GREAT MALAISE showcases a wide range of beautifully illustrated visual metaphors to bring to life the internal thought process of a young woman. It’s a relatable story to anyone with self-doubt or anxiety, accentuated by it’s careful but frantic sound design and mixed-media animation style.