2023 JURY STATEMENTS ON WINNERS
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE AWARD: COYOTE by Dir. KATHERINE JERKOVIC
East Coast Premiere | Canada | 2022 | 89 min
“Coyote” is a portrait of an immigrant (a strong, simmering performance by Jorge Martinez Colorado), whose life is disrupted by a rare professional opportunity and a rare familial duty, is one that might have become a simplistic, feel-good tale. But Jerkovic’s steady, unsentimental approach denies easy conclusions, preferring the complications of a life on the margins. For this rich character study, and its density of real-world detail (beautifully and warmly lensed in 16 mm), the jury finds Coyote a deserving winner of the Narrative Feature award.
National Society of Film Critics
Critics Choice Awards
BFF Feature Narrative Judge/Panelist
BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY AWARD: SWEETHEART DEAL by ELISA LEVINE and GABRIEL MILLER
East Coast Premiere | USA | 2022 | 99 min
In Elsa Levine and Gabriel Miller’s “Sweetheart Deal,” three courageous women in highly vulnerable situations fight back against a predatory figure in their midst. This clear-eyed view of the realities of sex work, homelessness, and substance abuse does not merely portray these women as victims of a person they thought they could trust. They are resilient, part of a community, and they never give up on themselves or each other. The jury is proud to name “Sweetheart Deal” the best feature documentary of the festival.
Director of Community Engagement
BFF Feature Doc Judge/Panelist
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT AWARD: CIELA by MAURICIO SIERRA
WORLD PREMIERE | Mexico | 2022 | 15 min
Captivating, compelling, uniquely beautiful and timeless, the short film CIELA echoes like a memory in real time as it unspools. The sublime visual articulation of this story is supported by expertly crafted, ambitious production led by confident direction that transports us from scene to scene, moment by moment, through surprising emotional labyrinths to a complex and satisfying conclusion. The unity of the performances, production design, cinematography and editing all combine to create a magical experience of a world seen through the eyes of the young protagonist. The legacy of great Mexican cinema reverberates through this short film and introduces us to a new powerful voice from Mexico, director Mauricio Sierra in his narrative debut. The masterful storytelling of CIELA makes all of us on the festival jury excited to see more narrative work by this ambitious filmmaker. Honored to host the world premiere of this fantastic debut, BFF presents the Best Narrative Short prize and the festival’s highest honor the Grand Chameleon Award to director Mauricio Sierra for the film CIELA.
Mechanical Reproductions Inc.
BFF Short Narrative Judge/Panelist
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY AWARD: THE BLAKE by COURTNEY SPOSATO and MARK SPOSATO
NY Premiere | USA | 2022 | 15 min
The Blake approaches an emotionally challenging time of loss, by creating a memory parallel with a historic space launch. I learned, I laughed, I cried. The editing, pacing, and timing were extraordinary. The glimpses of nostalgic memories represent the way our mind and memory works in times of hardship and grief, allowing us to understand the feeling of the memories.
BFF Short Documentary Judge/Panelist
BEST EXPERIMENTAL AWARD: VISION OF PARADISE (Visão do Paraíso) by LEONARDO PIRONDI
East Coast Premiere | Brazil | 2022 | 16 min
“Visions of Paradise” by Leonardo Pirondi from Brazil offered in the BFF Experimental Film category both to the judges and the audience an exploration of reality and its perspectives. The film infused a unique language of visuals, sound, and docu-storytelling techniques to delve into the depths of the human experience. Its a thought-provoking narrative and vision that provides a glimpse into a world where imagination and reality intertwine, encouraging viewers to reflect and contemplate.
Fatrin Krajka I
BFF Experimental Judge/Panelist
BEST ANIMATION AWARD: TULPA by PARIS BAILLIE
East Coast Premiere | USA | 2022 | 7 min
What is a Tulpa? In Tibetan it is the physical embodiment of thoughts or emotions, which can become a comforting companion. in this surreal animation, the narrations introduce a variety of Tulpas and their benefits. The odd but charming knitted puppets, their gentle movements, and the distinctive lighting, staging and sound design immerse us in a world that straddles dream and reality. According to one judge, everybody needs a Tulpa!
Animation Professor at SVA
BFF Animation Judge/Panelist