By MCN Editor


ONLY THE YOUNG, PLANET OF SNAIL and KINGS POINT Receive Festivals Prestigious Sterling Awards


Competitive Whole Foods/Silverdocs Green Grants Go to SEED and CANT STOP THE WATER

Audience Award Winners to be Announced Sunday, June 24


Silver Spring, Maryland, June 23, 2012 – AFI-Discovery Channel SilverdocsDocumentary Festival announced its distinguished award winners, culminatingthe week-long festival activities that included the screening of 114 filmsrepresenting 44 countries, a free outdoor screening, live performances and afive-day professional documentary conference.  The Festival hosted over27,000 attendees, including more than 1,000 filmmakers, film and televisionexecutives and media professionals celebrating the art and business ofdocumentary filmmaking.

This year’s Sterling Award for Best U.S. Feature went to ONLY THE YOUNGdirected by Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims.  The film follows three teens stuck in a chaste love triangle in a depressed Southern California suburb, and explores different paths to maturity, independence and romance, portrayed with cinematic tenderness, unexpected beauty and nascent wisdom in a foreclosed wasteland.  The prize is accompanied by a $5,000 cash award.

The Sterling U.S. Feature Jury noted: “We loved this film for its striking and beautiful cinematography and its innovative editing.  But above all, we loved it for its sensitive and startlingly honest portrayal of adolescence.  Neither saccharine nor snarky, the film captures the depth and absurdity of being a teenager without cliché or caricature.”


This year’s Sterling Award for Best World Feature went to PLANET OF SNAILdirected by Seungiun Yi.  The poetry of the cinema merges fantastically with the poetry of touch, taste and smell when the filmmaker encounters the deaf and blind South Korean poet Young-Chan, who is unwilling to accept as limitations the world of sight and sound from which he is isolated.  The prize isaccompanied by a $5,000 cash award.


The Sterling Award World Jury noted:  “This film immersed us into the sensorial experience of love unbound.  The poetic cinematography of life’s seemingly ordinary moments underscores the complexity of life itself.  Seungiun Yi’s PLANET OF SNAIL is a tranquil meditation on the resilience of the human spirit.”


The Sterling Award for Best Short Film was given to KINGS POINT directedby Sari Gilman. 

Inhabited by numerous transplants from New York who were lured by the promise of sunshine and palm trees, Kings Point is a place where retirees have begun a new part of their lives, for some the final chapter.  The prize isaccompanied by a $2,500 cash award.


The Sterling Award Short Jury noted: “For its bittersweet exploration of the universal needs and challenges of creating human connections – even within a seemingly close-knit community of peers – the jury recognizes KINGS POINT by Sari Gilman with the Sterling Award for Best Short.”


Notable Special Jury Mentions:


Special U.S. Feature Jury Mention went to THE WAITING ROOM directed byPeter Nicks.  The complexity of the nation’s public health care system is etched in intimate detail in this poignant vérité portrait of an American public hospital and the community of patients and caregivers that intersect with it.  The ER waiting room in Oakland’s Highland Hospital serves as the backdrop to an encounter with a diverse community of largely uninsured patients alongside an indefatigable staff charged with caring for them.


The Jury noted: “The best documentaries immerse us in new worlds and connect us with people we’ve never met.  This vérité film gives us a personal experience with patients and caregivers trying to navigate a complicated and flawed healthcare system.  For a film that uses powerful and intimate moments to persuade, we are honored to give a Special Jury Mention to THE WAITING ROOM.


Special World Feature Jury Mention went to SPECIAL FLIGHT (VOL SPECIAL) directed by Fernand Melgar.  Who gets two years incarceration for a traffic violation?  Undocumented immigrants!  Even in tolerant Switzerland, the benign administration and guards of the Frambois detention center near Geneva can do little to alleviate the fate of those entrapped in its system.


The Jury noted: “This film patiently portrays what life looks and feels like inside the walls of injustice where a group of detained immigrants and their sympathetic caretakers are bound together by a complex web of inequality. Through his powerful vérité filmmaking and access, Fernand Melgar lays bare a life without freedom.  SPECIAL FLIGHT (VOL SPECIAL) is a sometimes uncomfortable, always honest remark on society’s divided attitude towards migrants.”

Sterling Short Honorable Mention went to MONDAYS AT RACINE, directedby Cynthia Wade.  In the film, sisters Cynthia and Rachel, who watched their mother suffer the indignities and pain of struggling with cancer when they were younger, now own a beauty salon in Islip, Long Island.  They open their doors every third Monday of the month to women living with cancer.  With great compassion and support, the women undergoing treatment face their fears together and rediscover their beauty in a whole new way.


The Jury noted: “For its ability to engage the viewer on a raw, emotional level through the moving testimony of two indelible characters facing illness, the jury recognizes MONDAYS AT RACINE by Cynthia Wade with an Honorable Mention.”


A second Sterling Short Honorable Mention went to PARADISE by Nadav Kurtz. Three immigrant workers from Mexico make their living in a most unusual way:  by rappelling down some of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers to clean windows.  PARADISE gives a hair-raising view of this precarious profession and the men who risk life and limb to do it.


The Jury noted: “For taking the audience to new heights in experiencing a unique perspective on immigrant labor through beautifully-lensed and adventurous cinematography, the jury recognizes PARADISE by Nadav Kurtz with an Honorable Mention. ”


The Sterling Award winners were chosen by an eminent Festival jury, including:


Sterling U.S. Feature JuryHeather Courtney, Filmmaker (WHERE SOLDIERSCOME FROM); Marshall Curry, Filmmaker (IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OFTHE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT); Adella Ladjevardi, Grants Manager,Cinereach.


Sterling World Feature JuryCharlotte Cook, Director of Programing, Hot Docs;Jigar Mehta, Filmmaker (18 DAYS IN EGYPT) and Journalist; StephanieWang-Breal, Filmmaker (WO AI NI MOMMY).


Sterling Short Film JuryLisa Collins, Filmmaker, (OSCAR’S COMEBACK,TREE SHADE); Cara Cusumano, Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival; BasilTsiokos, Film Consultant and Programming Associate, Sundance Film Festival.


Other Awards include:


The WGA Documentary Screenplay Award went to ANN RICHARDS TEXASwritten by Keith Patterson. In a state known for outsized political personalities, a silver-haired lady from Austin became one of the biggest and boldest by speaking her mind and sticking to her guns.  The high-energy ANN RICHARDS’ TEXAS celebrates her rise in the Democratic Party, her improbable turn as governor and her legacy as a feisty liberal icon.  The Prizeis accompanied by a $1,000 cash award and a five-year membership in theWGAE Nonfiction Writers Caucus.
The films ESCAPE FIRE: THE FIGHT TO RESCUE AMERICAN HEALTHCAREdirected by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke and THE HOUSE I LIVE IN directed by Eugene Jarecki won the inaugural React to Film Social Issue Awards at this year’s Silverdocs, which is given to two well-crafted and compelling documentaries on a critical social issue that has the greatest potential, through the medium of film, to have an impact on that issue through reaching the broadest audience, particularly young people. In ESCAPE FIRE, the filmmakers examine the nuts and bolts of the current battle raging over a healthcare system that is desperately broken.  Drawing from harrowing personal stories and the ongoing efforts of those trying to make a positive difference, this hard-hitting film focuses on finding workable solutions.  In THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (WHY WE FIGHT) offers a sobering comprehensive view of contemporary drug culture and examines the troubling realities of a broken system whose very existence, he argues, is making the problem worse rather than better.


The Cinematic Vision Award went to ¡VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS! directed byVictor Kossakovsky.  The filmmaker reveals the sheer kinetic and visual splendor of the corners of our planet when he explores four pairs of dry-land antipodes:  Argentina and China, Russia and Chile, Hawaii and Botswana, and Spain and New Zealand.  In the end, it is not the differences, but the uncanny similarities that are most striking.  The prize comes with $4,000 in-kind servicesfrom the Alpha Cine Labs in Seattle.


The Whole Foods/Silverdocs Green Grant went to SEED directed by Taggart Siegel for a project in development. SEED investigates the untold story of seeds, the basis of life on earth. As many irreplaceable seeds are nearing extinction, the film follows heroes working tirelessly to preserve agricultural security and seed diversity in an uphill battle against high-tech industrial seed companies and an impending global food crisis.


The Whole Foods/Silverdocs Green Grant for completion of a project went toCAN’T STOP THE WATER directed by Rebecca and Jason Ferris.  The film tells the story of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, and the Native American community that are fighting to save their culture as their land washes away.


The prize is accompanied by a $25,000 cash grant to each filmmaker for a totalof $50,000.


The Audience Award winners for Best Feature and Short will be announced onSunday, June 24, 2012, the closing day of the festival.


American Airlines, the official airline of AFI, is a proud sponsor of AFI-DiscoveryChannel Silverdocs.


About AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs

AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival is a seven-dayinternationally recognized event that honors excellence in filmmaking, supportsthe diverse voices and free expression of independent storytellers andcelebrates the power of documentary to improve our understanding of theworld.  Celebrating its tenth edition this year, the 2012 festival runs June 18-24at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in the Washington, DC area,attracting over 27,000 documentary enthusiasts and motion picture artsprofessionals from around the world.  AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs’ five-day International Documentary Conference presents thought-provokingpresentations and engages a diverse group of over 1,000 filmmakers andindustry leaders concerned with the future of non-fiction storytelling, productionand distribution.  For more information about Silverdocs, visit orconnect with Silverdocs at


About the American Film Institute

AFI is Americas promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, tohonor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation ofstorytellers.  AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and isdedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of themoving image arts.


AFI preserves the legacy of America’s film heritage for future generationsthrough the AFI Archive, comprised of rare footage from across the history ofthe moving image and the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, an authoritativerecord of American films from 1893 to the present.


AFI honors the artists and their work through a variety of annual programs andspecial events, including the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI Awards. Celebrating its 40th year in 2012, the AFI Life Achievement Award hasremained the highest honor for a career in film while AFI Awards, the Institute’salmanac for the 21st century, honors the most outstanding motion pictures andtelevision programs of the year.  AFIs 100 Years100 Movies televisionevents and movie reference lists have introduced and reintroduced classicAmerican movies to millions of film lovers.  And as the largest nonprofitexhibitor in the United States, AFI offers film enthusiasts a variety of eventsthroughout the year, including AFI Fest presented by Audi, the Institute’sannual celebration of excellence in global cinema; AFI-Discovery ChannelSilverdocs, the largest documentary festival in the U.S., celebrating its 10thedition this year; and year-round programming at the AFI Silver Theatre in theWashington, DC area.


AFI educates the next generation of storytellers at its world-renowned AFIConservatory, named the #1 film school in the world by The HollywoodReporter for the quality of its instructors and speakers, and its “glittering paradeof alumni.”  AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in sixfilmmaking disciplines:  Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing,Production Design and Screenwriting.  Aspiring artists learn from the masters ina collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis onstorytelling.


For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI



About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulativesubscribers in over 200 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated tosatisfying curiosity through more than 140 worldwide television networks, ledby Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and InvestigationDiscovery, as well as US joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network,The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Discovery also is a leadingprovider of educational products and services to schools and owns andoperates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including For more information, please visit


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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