Here we go; Cinequest is over for another year, and here’s how the awards went: Maverick Spirit Award (Cinequest’s top prize) went to Alan Brown’s Superheroes; about survivors of the Iraq War (happy fifth birthday, Iraq War! You may not have been the best, but you sure are the longest!). First-rate acting in this upstate New York film, yep, and the toenail-painting scene certainly made the men get out their handkerchiefs.
Best First Feature: Sergio Umansky’s It’s Better If Gabriella Doesn’t Die; glad to see a Mexican film get it, naturally, I would have chosen Around the Bay, the one about the unforgivably deal-breaking negligent father who lets his 5-year-old son wander around a swimming pool unsupervised, thus proving his complete lack of worth as a human being, no one would ever do that in real life, etc.
Andrew James got the Special Jury Award for Narrative Feature for A Better Life; and, my favorite choice so far, the New Visions Award for Who Is K.K. Downey?’s directors Darren Curtis and Pat Kiely. Autism: The Musical won director Tricia Regan the best Documentary Feature; the Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature went to former area man Kurt Kuenne’s Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. Am happy to hear that Kuenne plans to use the proceeds to set up a scholarship in honor of his dead friend.
The shorts awards go like this: Best Student Short Film is Mamitas by Nick Ozeki; David Washburn’s Broadcast Cowboy, a favorite around the Metro offices, won Best Documentary Short, and Papiroflexia by Joaquin Baldwin won Best Animated Short. Centigrade by Colin Cunningham came home with the Best Narrative Short film.
In the screenwriting competition, Bill Schreiber’s Switchback won first place. Caitlin McCarthy’s Vera came in second, and Diane Stredicke’s The Orchard came in third.
Did you know that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts picks short film contestants for honors at worldwide film fests? Now you do. Out of the shorts at Cinequest, BAFTA/LA honored Soft by Simon Ellis and Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s Rattlesnakes; Brett Wagner’s Chief came in for honorable mention. The audience awards are coming up …