Denver Film Fest

Award Recipients Include: Minari, Beyond Zero, Nomadland, Atlantis, The Reason I Jump, and Hudson Geese

The Denver Film Festival (DFF) has announced the recipients of its annual Audience Awards and Festival Juried Awards in multiple categories following the conclusion of its 43rd annual event.

“The curatorial excellence of DFF43 was on full display and in line with the elevated level we have exhibited to our audiences for decades,” said Festival Director, Britta Erickson. “While the number of films we presented this year was less than previous years and delivered almost entirely through our virtual platform, it truly represented the best in world cinema. From buzzy award films to an incredibly strong lineup of independent and international narratives, documentaries, and shorts, and an amazingly strong Colorado Spotlight — there was something for every Colorado film lover to engage with.”

“Although a bit daunting in the earliest stages of our planning process, reinventing this year’s Festival into a virtual and drive-in experience was the absolute right path for us to deliver the best films, docs, and so much more to our long-term and many new audiences,” said Denver Film Festival Artistic Director, Matthew Campbell. “We were blown away by the positive response and engagement from cinema lovers throughout the state. We could not be more pleased with the outcome and are so proud of the award-winning films selected from such a strong class of DFF43 titles.”

Rare Pearl Award
Director: Chloé Zhao
Country: USA

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Frederick Wiseman

Emerging Filmmaker Award
Edson Oda

Excellence in Acting Awards
Zazie Beetz
Winston Duke
Steven Yeun

DFF43 Audience Awards
The following films were recognized as the People’s Choice Award winners for the 43rd Denver Film Festival by a tally of ballots.

Narrative Feature:
Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Country: USA

Documentary Feature:
Director: Nathan Havey
Country: USA

Short Subject Film:
Director: Michael Mazzanti
Country: USA

Music Video:
Director: Sebastián Valbuena
Country: Ecuador/USA

Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film

Austin Kennedy, Director of Sales and Marketing of Cargo Film & Releasing
Brian Brooks – VP Documentary Projects, Cinetic Marketing / Programmer, SeriesFest
Hebe Tabachnik – Senior Programmer Seattle and Cartagena Int. Film Festivals / Artistic Director Cine Latino Minneapolis Saint Paul 

Director: Valentyn Vasyanovych
Country: Ukraine

The jury statement reads:
“ATLANTIS offers a well-crafted story with a vision that is hard to forget. In a hauntingly stark yet poetically charged vision of a life in a post-war land, the film offers a profound reflection on the futility of violence of universal relevance. The story of human resilience despite all cause for despair, lingers and grows in one’s mind with its outstanding production and sound design, a testament to the creative power of its director who is also writer, producer, cinematographer and editor. He is able to convey a story devoid of sensationalism or sentimentality while giving a ray of hope for humanity’s future.”

Special Jury Mention for its storytelling originality:
Director: Christos Nikou
Country: Greece/Poland/Slovenia

The jury statement reads:
“Christos Nikou’s APPLES offers a unique and dystopian world that is not so far from the reality of today and questions our very own existence and experiences.The director’s portrayal of a nostalgically analog civilization looking to reset their memories becomes a refreshing and highly original tale of an eerily and yet absurdist look at loss and reinvention.

Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary

Doug Jones, Executive Director, Images Cinema
Annie Eastman, Documentary Producer/Editor
donnie l. betts, Filmmaker and Citizen of the World

Director: Jerry Rothwell
Country: UK/USA

The jury statement reads:
“After considerable reflection, we chose THE REASON I JUMP for the Maysles Brothers Award. We found the premise unique and the aim ambitious. The filmmakers use the full extent of the medium to explore new dimensions and draw us into the inner world of five remarkable young people living with autism. The choice to cast characters from around the globe further humanized and universalized this touching film. 

Special mention:
Director: Radu Ciorniciuc
Country: Romania/Germany

The jury statement reads:
“We were compelled to add a Special Mention to ACASA, MY HOME for so beautifully and intimately immersing us in the lives of complex characters in the midst of a profound transition. We were struck by the seemingly invisible hand of the filmmakers and for this reason hail this film as a true achievement.”

American Independent Award

James Faust, Artistic Director, Dallas International Film Festival
Emilie Upczak, Filmmaker
Sherly Glubok, Writer/Director

Director: Ekwa Msangi
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:
“The jury found FAREWELL AMOR to be an important film that takes a needed look at the immigrant experience in America. The filmmaker deftly weaves an intimate portrayal of one family and gives us an interior view into their emotional landscape. We loved how the film’s nuanced approach takes a chisel to the perceived monolithic diasporic experience while staying true to the characters’ cultural paradigm.”

Special mention for New Comedic Voice:
Director: Emma Seligman
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:
“The jury loved SHIVA BABY’s unique comedic approach and are excited by this emerging female voice on the cinematic scene.”

Special mention for Best Ensemble Cast:
Director: David Gutnik
Country: USA

Short Film Awards


Jeanne Liotta, Artist, Filmmaker and Professor at CU Boulder
Theresa Mercado, Programmer and Host of Scream Screen
Joseph Kolean, Filmmaker

Short Film Grand Jury Prize

Director: Bernardo Britto
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:
“A heartwarming yet gut wrenching tale of family, traditions, love and death, our award for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize goes to HUDSON GEESE. Sometimes the most humanistic stories are best told through the lens of animals, this ‘ripped from the headlines’ news story puts an anthropomorphic spin on the fragility of life and how quickly everything can be taken away. We appreciated the use of delicate yet simplistic animation to illustrate a raw and topical story where geese could easily be replaced by POC or immigrants…’all we ever were were background scenery.’ A masterful, tender yet darkly humorous piece of work that we found very deserving of this award.”

Special mention:
Director: Bridget Moloney
Country: USA

The jury statement reads:
“Humorous, satirical and thought-provoking, we’d like to award a Short Film Grand Jury Prize Honorable Mention to BLOCKS. A very welcome comedy about the stresses and pressures of motherhood written and directed by a woman. Sometimes it’s only through laughing at the absurdity of our lives that we’re able to cope.”  

Liberty Global Domestic Student Filmmaker Award

Director: Karishma Dev Dube
Country: India/USA

The jury statement reads:
“In an unanimous decision, we have chosen to present BITTU, a film we found to be thrillingly powerful and surprising, with the Liberty Global Domestic Student Filmmaker Award. Its masterful combination of impeccable cinematic technique, captivating and heartrending storytelling, and lived-in, sensitive performances completely floored us. Basking in filmmaking this refined and intuitive film is both an honor and a pleasure.”

Liberty Global International Student Filmmaker Award

Director: Anthony Nti
Country: Ghana/Belgium

The jury statement reads:
“Possessing a deft and delicate sense of story and place, our selection for the Liberty Global International Student Filmmaker Award, DA YIE, gave us a window into the curious, terrifying, and hopeful world of its characters. We were amazed by the performances of the child actors, delighted with the expert handling of mounting intrigue, and enriched by the strong emotional responses the film evoked.”

Marilyn Marsh Saint-Veltri Award for Best Student Animated Short Film

Director: Nina Hopf
Country: Germany

The jury statement reads:
“The jury is proud to present the Marilyn Marsh Saint-Veltri Award for Best Student Animation to EADEM CUTIS: THE SAME SKIN, a powerful film about gender, family relationships, and the transitioning body. This tender portrait of the artist’s twin brother comes to life with a surprising use of the xerography technique– the animation of face, hand and body prints made on a copy machine. As the images of human body parts morph, tumble and shift on screen, we listen in as the siblings converse intimately about living life in a changing body. This smart and deeply felt film brought honest storytelling and smashed all our expectations of animation.”


To keep up to date with DFF43 on social media: like the DFF Facebook ( page, follow @DenverFilm on Twitter, @TheDenverFilm on Instagram, and join the conversation by using the hashtag: #DFF43.

2020 Denver Film Festival Sponsors:

MARQUEE: Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, AOR, Barbara Bridges, Sheila K. O’Brien, Capital One Café, Liberty Global

SPOTLIGHT: SeriesFest, University of Denver – Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, William LaBahn, Xfinity

CAMEO: Davis Graham & Stubbs, The Palm Group – Baird, Eldorado Natural Spring Water, Molly’s Spirits, Red Bull, TV5MONDE, Waterloo Sparkling Water, Visit Denver

MEDIA: 5280, CBS4, Do303, El Comercio de Colorado, KBCO, OutFront, Placewise, The Denver Post, Westword

GOVERNMENT: Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media, Consulate General of Canada, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Riverfront Park Community Foundation, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD); 

FILM: Ballard Spahr, Colorado Film and Video Association (CFVA), Metropolitan State University of Denver – Department of Journalism & Media Production, Rise Above Colorado, SAGindie, Stillwater Brands; 

PARTNERS: Crested Butte Film Festival, Denver Arts & Venues, Denver Jewish Film Festival, Pearl Street Marketing, Ratio Beerworks, Ken’s Reproductions

About Denver Film:

Founded in 1978, Denver Film is a membership-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural institution that produces film events throughout the year, including the award-winning Denver Film Festival and the popular, summertime series Film on the Rocks. With a vision to cultivate community and transform lives through film, the organization provides opportunities for diverse audiences to discover film through creative, thought-provoking experiences.

The permanent home of Denver Film, the Sie FilmCenter, is Denver’s only year-round cinematheque, presenting a weekly-changing calendar of first-run exclusives and arthouse revivals both domestic and foreign, narrative and documentary—over 600 per year, all shown in their original language and format. Denver Film programs annually reach more than 200,000 film lovers and film lovers-in-training.

To help protect the health and safety of its guests and staff, the Sie FilmCenter remains closed for regular screenings through the end of 2020. The organization will revisit the situation and evaluate a reopening timeline in early 2021.


Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here