Santa Barbara Film Festival Announces Winners
Photos by Fritz Olenberger
By edhat staff
On Saturday the Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced the 34th annual winners during a breakfast held at the Belmond El Encanto.
"We're so grateful to all of our honorees, filmmakers, attendees, sponsors, press, and volunteers for making the 34th edition our best yet. We're adjusting our dates and we're already looking forward to celebrating our 35th anniversary! - SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.
All awards were announced, culminating in the coveted Audience Choice Award, which went to Kasper Torsting's "In Love and War" (I krig & kærlighed). The films were chosen by jury members Anthony and Arnette Zerbe, David and Sandy Wasco, Joe Medjuck, Katharine O'Brien, Leslie Zemeckis, Margaret Lazarus, Olivia Hamilton, Paul Brickman, Roger Avary, and Tamara Asseyev.
Three awards were handed out for short films. The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film went to Christopher Wollebekk's "My Brother Amal" (Min bror Amal). The Jury remarked, “My Brother Amal displayed shining performances, brilliant directing and quite simply - it made us feel.“ The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short Film went to Rachel Johnson's "Henrietta Bulkowski". The Jury awarded the film “for its inventive story, craft and heart - it is a film that sticks in your mind long after you see it.“ Best Documentary Short Film was awarded to Leslie Iwerks's "Selling Lies." The Jury called the film “eye-opening and chilling, Selling Lies clarified, disturbed and shifted our perspective.”
Sponsored by SEE International, the Best Documentary Film Award went to Johnny Sweet's "Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story." The jury remarked that "The power of this Doc cannot be denied, a testament to its subject and all involved. The gathering of top-notch Interviewees and historical footage, the editing, camera, sound, all make for perfectly paced and gripping film."
Bettina Oberli's "With the Wind" (Le vent tourne) is the recipient of the Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for Best International Film. The Jury remarked that “With extraordinary moments of natural life beautifully captured, and equal portions dystopic nightmare, director Bettina Oberli’s eulogy for luddite optimism acknowledges that only part of us is sane and wanting for creation, while simultaneously exists an opposing primal need to burn one’s own house down until the foundations are blackened."
Sam Friedlander's "Babysplitters" took home the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. The Jury remarked that “'Babysplitters' was presented to the festival as a work in progress. Even so, we appreciated the strong comic timing, the good heart, and a slew of laugh-out-loud moments. With some editorial discipline, this has the potential to become a true comic treat."
The Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film was awarded to Kasper Torsting 's "In Love and War" (I krig & kærlighed). The Jury remarked that the film “Intricate tale of the anguish of war. Totally unpredictable, highly original. Amazing Photography, editing and acting.”
Sponsored by Santa Barbara and Tri-Counties ADL, The ADL Stand Up Award went to Javier Fesser's "Champions" (Campeones). "Campeones champions the value of inclusion, which is a touchstone of ADL's worldwide effort to embrace diversity, to foster mutual respect, and to fight hate," said Regional Director, Cyndi Silverman. "This is also a film about community," she continued, "and we are thrilled for our community to see it."
The Social Justice Award for Documentary Film went to Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei's "Laila at the Bridge." The jury remarked that "The filmmaker's access to life and death events that unfolded right in front of our eyes, the personal force and dynamism of Laila fighting the powers that control money and drugs in Afghanistan on behalf of the addicts kept us riveted. Laila's openness and deep understanding of addiction combined with the horror of the police keeping the addicts under a bridge and letting them die there was astounding."
The Audience Choice Award sponsored by the Santa Barbara Independent went to Kasper Torsting's "In Love and War" (I krig & kærlighed). 1917: A Danish soldier fighting under the German regime fakes his own death to escape the horrors in the trenches and return to his wife and son—only to find that everything has changed.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG®, will return for the 35th edition January 15 – 25, 2020. 200+ Films featuring over 120 World and US premieres, Industry Panels, Celebrity Tributes, and Educational and Free Community Programs will be held throughout Santa Barbara, including the Arlington and Lobero Theatres.