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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Seattle International Film Festival Award Winners

Full press release after the jump …

Seattle, WA – The 35th Seattle International Film Festival concludes today with the announcement of juried SIFF 2009 Competition Awards and Golden Space Needle Audience Awards, bringing to a close the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States. Over the last 25 days, SIFF presented 203 narrative features, 11 archival features, 54 documentary features, and 124 short films from 62 countries, including 31 World Premieres (10 features, 21 shorts), 45 North American Premieres (36 features, 9 shorts), and 13 US Premieres (10 features, 3 shorts).
“SIFF was filled with individual triumphs this year, and the entire programming lineup was as successful as it’s ever been,” says SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence. “Loyal audiences braved tough times and beautiful weather to find the unexpected in the thriving tradition of SIFF. Our flourishing local filmmaking community especially showed us that they are making the films they want to make – and the films that we want to see.”
“There were more than 80 sold-out shows this year, and overall Festival attendance actually surpassed last year,” says Spence. “As SIFF moves forward towards a permanent home in the SIFF Film Center, the tremendous appreciation shown by our audiences is stronger than ever.”
More than 370 directors, actors, and film industry professionals attended this year’s Festival, including Tribute honoree Spike Lee, who brought his film, Passing Strange, and Francis Ford Coppola with a special presentation of his new film, Tetro. Paul Giamatti introduced the screening of Cold Souls with director Sophie Barthes. Mimi Kennedy, David Rasche, Anna Chlumsky, and Zach Woods from In the Loop walked the Red Carpet for SIFF’s Opening Night Gala, and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne accepted an award for TCM’s contribution to showcasing our cinematic heritage. Acclaimed directors including Kathryn Bigelow and Barbet Schroeder, and celebrated performers such as Benjamin Bratt, Justin Kirk, and Rachael Dratch also graced the screening venues of SIFF over the past three-and-a-half weeks.
The Golden Space Needle Award winners were announced at a ceremony earlier today. More than 60,000 ballots were cast by SIFF audiences to determine the winner in six categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Short Film.
Also presented were five juried SIFF 2009 Competition Awards: New Directors Showcase Award, Best Documentary Award, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Animated Short.
SIFF 2009 New Directors Showcase Competition
Statement from the Jury Introducing SIFF: Now in its 35th year, the Seattle International Film Festival is distinctive for another kind of longevity; it runs for 25 days and consequently, has a less feverish and more sane tempo than most other festivals, which also gives the festival time to take special care of its guests. This is a festival designed for a serious film-going community evocative of the Toronto International Film Festival before industry interests started dominating it. Therefore, it seems logical that Francis Ford Coppola came to present Tetro here and said that when he did so, he tested all of his films in Seattle. – Sheila Johnston, Jonathan Rosenbaum, André Roy
Grand Jury Prize
The Other Bank, directed by George Ovashvili (Georgia/Kazakhstan, 2009)
Jury Statement: We give our prize to The Other Bank. It is a picaresque narrative with a powerful mise-en-scène and an exceptional skill in addressing a complex post-war situation through a remarkable character incarnated by a 12-year-old nonprofessional.
SIFF 2009 Documentary Competition
Grand Jury Prize
talhotblond, directed by Barbara Schroeder (USA, 2009)
Jury Statement: Because it tells a shocking, true crime story that reveals the Internet’s power to unleash our most dangerous fantasies.
Documentary Competition Special Jury Prize
Manhole Children, directed by Yoshio Harada (Japan, 2008)
Jury Statement: For its emotionally brutal depiction of children surviving underground in Mongolia; the film both repulses and engages at the same time.
Winners of the feature film competitions receive $2,500. Short Film Jury winners receive $1,000. All winners receive FrameForge 3D Studio software and Write Brothers Screenwriter software, and a hand-made glass award from the James Mongrain Glass Studio.
SIFF 2009 Short Film Jury Awards
Narrative Grand Jury Prize
Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, USA
Jury Statement: For its raw and honest depiction of life in a teen detention center, which blurs the lines between caretaker and patient, through exceptionally written characters, humorous dialogue, and a captivating sense of immediacy.
Special Jury Prizes
Lowland Fell, directed by Michael Kinirons, Ireland
Next Floor, directed by Denis Villeuneuve, Canada
Animation Grand Jury Prize
Photograph of Jesus, directed by Laurie Hill, United Kingdom
Jury Statement: For answering the public’s ludicrous questions with a playful flair and a firm hand in filmmaking.
Documentary Grand Jury Prize
The Herd, directed by Ken Wardrop, Ireland
Jury Statement: For its unflinching portrayal of interspecies bonding and its celebration of hopping.
As a qualifying festival of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, short films that receive the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative short film and Best Animation short film awards at SIFF may qualify to enter the Short Films category of the Academy Awards® for the concurrent season without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.
WaveMaker Award for Excellence in Youth Filmmaking
A Generation of Consolidation, directed by Samantha Muilenberg
Jury Statement: For its technical precision in depicting motivated youth who exercise more bravery than most adults.
Special Jury Award
If U Want 2 Get Technical, directed by Riaebia Robinson
Jury Statement: for its timely and important subject matter portrayed with exceptional familial intimacy.
SIFF’s WaveMaker Award for Excellence in Youth Filmmaking was awarded at the FutureWave Shorts program, June 6 at the Egyptian Theatre. More than 100 short films were submitted from young filmmakers ages 13-18, from Canada, USA, United Kingdom, and China. The award was selected from eleven finalists by the directors of this year’s Fly Filmmaking Challenge, Laura Jean Cronin, Shannon Hart-Reed, Shawn Telford, and Tran Quoc Bao.
FutureWave Shorts Audience Award
A Generation of Consolidation, directed by Samantha Muilenberg
SIFF 2009 Youth Jury Award for Best FutureWave Feature
For the first year, SIFF selected a jury of five high-school-aged students to view eight of the ten FutureWave features and award their favorite film in the program. The 2009 FutureWave Youth Jury was comprised of Cameron Alexander, Katherine Long, Ruby Rivchun, Erin Kelly Smith, and Alyse Young.
Youth Jury Award for Best FutureWave Feature
My Suicide, directed by David Lee Miller
Jury Statement: For its ability to bring an issue clouded by controversy bravely into focus for a breadth of audiences through exceptional editing and organic character progression.
Special Jury Award
Sounds Like Teen Spirit, directed by Jamie J. Johnson
Jury Statement: For excellence in capturing the universal experience of young adults discovering their place in the world.
SIFF 2009 Golden Space Needle Audience Awards
Best Film Golden Space Needle Award
Black Dynamite, directed by Scott Sanders (USA, 2009)
First runner up: The Necessities of Life, directed by Benoît Pilon (Canada, 2008)
Second runner up: (500) Days of Summer, directed by Marc Webb (USA, 2009)
Third runners up (tie): ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, directed Kevin Hamedani (USA, 2009) and Morris: A Life With Bells On, directed by Lucy Akhurst (United Kingdom, 2008)
Fourth runner up: North Face, directed by Philipp Stolzl (Austria, 2008)
Rounding out the top ten: Marcello Marcello (Denis Rabaglia, Switzerland, 2008); Departures (Yojiro Takita, Japan, 2008); Patrik Age 1.5 (Ella Lemhagen, Sweden, 2008); Amreeka (Cherien Dabis, Canada, 2009) Humpday (Lynn Shelton, USA, 2009)
Best Documentary Golden Space Needle Award
The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos (USA, 2009)
First runner up: Sweet Crude, directed by Sandy Cioffi (USA, 2008)
Second runner up: William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, directed by Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler (USA, 2009)
Third runner up: Every Little Step, directed by James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo (USA, 2008)
Fourth runners up (tie): Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner (USA, 2008) and Facing Ali, directed by Pete McCormack (Canada, 2009)
Rounding out the top ten: Gotta Dance (Dori Berinstein, USA, 2008); Afghan Star (Havana Marking, Afghanistan, 2008); Dancing Across Borders (Anne H. Bass, USA, 2009); The Garden (Scott Hamilton, USA, 2008); Icons Among Us (Michael Rivoira, LarsLarson, Peter J. Vogt; USA, 2009)
Best Director Golden Space Needle Award
Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker (USA, 2008)
First runner up: Lynn Shelton, for Humpday (USA, 2009)
Second runner up: Kari Skogland for Fifty Dead Men Walking (UK/Canada, 2008)
Third runner up: Spike Lee for Passing Strange (USA, 2009)
Fourth runner up: Marc Webb for (500) Days of Summer (USA, 2009)
Best Actor Golden Space Needle Award
Sam Rockwell for Moon (United Kingdom, 2009)
First runner up: Jim Sturgess for Fifty Dead Men Walking (United Kingdom, 2008)
Second runner up: Natar Ungalaaq for The Necessities of Life (Canada, 2008)
Third runner up: Mark Duplass for Humpday (USA, 2009)
Fourth runner up: Toni Servillo for Il Divo (Italy, 2008)
Best Actress Golden Space Needle Award
Yolande Moreau for Séraphine (France/Belgium, 2008)
First runner up: Catalina Saavedra for The Maid (Chile, 2008)
Second runner up: Trine Dyrholm, for Little Soldier (Denmark, 2009)
Third runner up: Nathalie Press for Fifty Dead Men Walking (UK/Canada, 2008)
Fourth runner up: Iben Hjejle for The Escape (Denmark, 2009)
Best Short Film Golden Space Needle Award
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, directed by Nick Park, (UK)
First runner up: Treevenge, directed by Jason Eisener (Canada)
Second runner up: Full Employment, directed by Thomas Oberlies and Matthias Vogel (Germany)
Third runner up: French Roast, directed by Fabrice O. Joubert (France)
Fourth runner up: Make My Day, directed by Pelle Møller (Denmark)
Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision, Presented by Women in Film/Seattle
Sweet Crude, directed by Sandy Cioffi (USA, 2008)
SIFF 2009 Golden Space Needle Award winners receive a hand-made glass award by artist James Mongrain, FrameForge 3D Studio software, and Write Brothers Screenwriter software. Golden Space Needle Award Best Short Film winner receives $1,000 of Color Negative Motion Picture Film from the Eastman Kodak Company Entertainment Imaging Division, and the latest Apple Laptop Computer from The Mac Store and IrisInk.
Please contact the SIFF Communications office for Festival photographs of Award winners.
SIFF’s Northwest Connections program featured an unprecedented sixteen features from and about the Northwest, including The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, and a hugely successful Centerpiece Gala presentation of Lynn Shelton’s breakout hit, Humpday, among others. The Closing Night Gala welcomed director Michel Hazanavicius and his new film, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, the uproarious follow-up to the SIFF 2006 Golden Space Needle winner, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.
Among the successes at this year’s Festival was the second ShortsFest Weekend, a festival within the Festival over three days at SIFF Cinema. Twelve short film packages showcased the finest in short narrative, documentary, and animation, with the Grand Jury winners in the Best Narrative and Best Animation categories now eligible to qualify for the Short Films category of the Academy Awards®.
SIFF 2009 also highlighted youth participation with FutureWave: Expanding Cinema Through Education. FutureWave programs reached more than 3000 students at 66 schools and youth organizations, with 58 events, including filmmaker visits to schools, free screenings for school classes, and participation in SIFF’s Digital Media Lab. Over 2500 students purchased tickets for SIFF 2009.
Highlights included a screening of William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe and Q&A with director Emily Kunstler for 300 students at Nathan Hale High School. Other filmmaker visits stretched from Renton to Lynnwood with Kathrine Windfeld and Iben Hjejle (The Escape), Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls), Kevin Hamedani (ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction), and many more.
Another popular component of FutureWave was the SuperFly Filmmaking Workshop in partnership with Longhouse Media, during which 57 students and 31 mentors created six films in 36 hours.
Presented within the Archival program were two films from the Gucci Cinema Visionaries series, a preservation program underwritten by Gucci and The Film Foundation. The program featured two recently restored classic films, John Cassavetes’ psychological drama A Woman Under the Influence (1974), and Michelangelo Antonioni’s little seen Le Amiche (1955).
SIFF presented a special live event as part of the Face the Music program at the Triple Door with acclaimed LA noise pop duo and Sub Pop recording artist No Age performing an original live score commissioned by SIFF to Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Césár winning, bear-cub adventure film The Bear (France, 1988).
SIFF’s mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. In addition to the Festival, SIFF operates SIFF Cinema, its year-round flagship theater at McCaw Hall. In 2010, SIFF will open the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center’s Alki Room, thereby fulfilling its long-standing vision of creating a permanent home where SIFF’s successful film, education, and community outreach programs can thrive.
The 35th Seattle International Film Festival is made possible in part by support from Comcast, Digital Kitchen, Modern Digital, POP, Wong Doody, American Airlines, Brotherton Cadillac Pontiac Buick GMC, The W Seattle Hotel, City Arts Magazine, Cinerama, Alpha Cine, ZonePerfect, Victorinox, Alaska Airlines, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Boom Noodle, Don Q Rums, Davis Wright Tremaine, and The Wallace Foundation.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon