The 16th Tribeca Film Festival announced the winners of its competition categories at the awards ceremony tonight at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Top awards went to Keep the Change for Best U.S. Narrative, Son of Sofia for Best International Narrative, and Bobbi Jene for Best Documentary. The Festival, presented by AT&T, runs through April 30, 2017.
Awards were distributed in the following feature film competition categories: U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary, New Narrative Director, The Albert Maysles New Documentary Director, and the Nora Ephron Prize, honoring a woman writer or director. Awards were also given in the short film categories: Narrative, Documentary, Student Visionary and Animation.
For the fifth year, Tribeca awarded innovation in storytelling through its Storyscapes Award for immersive storytelling, which went to TREEHUGGER: WAWONA.
“It is more important than ever to celebrate artists both in front of and behind the camera who have the unique ability to share different viewpoints to inspire, challenge and entertain us,” said Jane Rosenthal, Executive Chair and Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Festival. “The winning creators from across the Festival program shared stories that did exactly that, and we are honored to recognize them tonight. And how wonderful is it that the top awards in all five feature film categories were directed by women.”
This year’s Festival included 97 feature length films, 57 short films, and 30 immersive storytelling projects from 41 countries.
The Festival’s competition categories continue to incorporate storytelling in all its forms with two awards that were given out earlier in the week, the Tribeca X Award, a juried section recognizing the intersection of advertising and entertainment, and the first Tribeca Snapchat Short Award, a new official category.
Screenings of the award–winning films will take place throughout the final day of the Festival: Sunday, April 30, at various venues. Specific times and ticketing information are available at www.tribecafilm.com/festival
The winners of the Audience Awards, powered by AT&T, which are determined by audience votes throughout the Festival via the Festival app, will be announced on April 29.
In addition to cash awards and in-kind services provided by sponsors including AT&T, CHANEL, CNN Films, Netflix, and Nutella, the Festival presented the winners with original pieces of art created by contemporary artists: Urs Fischer, Walton Ford, John Giorno, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Jorge Pardo, R.H. Quaytman, Sterling Ruby, Aurel Schmidt, Ryan Sullivan, as well as longtime supporter Stephen Hannock.
The winners, awards, and comments from the jury who selected the recipients are as follows:
U.S. NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2017 U.S. Narrative Competition were Josh Lucas, Melanie Lynskey, Denis O’Hare, Alex Orlovsky, and Stephanie Zacharek.
- The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Keep the Change, written and directed by Rachel Israel. Winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Untitled” by Ella Kruglyanskaya. The award was given by Jane Rosenthal joined by Fiona Carter, AT&T Chief Brand Officer, and Josh Lucas, Denis O’Hare, Alex Orlovsky, and Stephanie Zacharek on behalf of the jury.
Jury Comment: “For her heartwarming, hilarious and consistently surprising reinvention of the New York romantic comedy, which opens a door to a world of vibrant characters not commonly seen on film, the U.S. Narrative Jury gives the Founders Award to Rachel Israel for Keep the Change.”
- Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Alessandro Nivola in One Percent More Humid. The award was given by Josh Lucas.
Jury Comment: “For his raw, complex and deeply human portrayal of middle-aged teacher and writer who tries to rekindle his creativity by plunging into an ill-advised affair with a student, the award for Best Actor goes to Alessandro Nivola, in Liz W. Garcia’s One Percent More Humid.”
- Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Nadia Alexander in Blame. The award was given by Denis O’Hare.
Jury Comment: “For her powerful, multilayered and risky portrayal of a troubled teenager in Quinn Shepard’s accomplished directorial debut Blame, the award for Best Actress goes to Nadia Alexander.”
- Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Chris Teague for Love After Love. The award was given by Alex Orlovsky
Jury Comment: “For creating a visual style that beautifully mirrors the fraught and messy landscape of grief, the cinematography award goes to Love After Love, shot by Chris Teague.”
- Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Abundant Acreage Available written by Angus MacLachlan. Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by Stephanie Zacharek.
Jury Comment: “For its portrayal, both universal and intimate, of two families who meet, clash and ultimately discover what it means to call a place home, the best screenplay award goes to Abundant Acreage, written and directed by Angus MacLachlan.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2017 International Narrative Competition were Willem Dafoe, Peter Fonda, Tavi Gevinson, Alessandro Nivola, and Ruth Wilson.
- The Best International Narrative Feature – Son of Sofia (O Gios tis Sofias) written and directed by Elina Psykou (Greece, Bulgaria, France). Winner receives $20,000, sponsored by Netflix, and the art award “Study for La Brea” by Walton Ford. The award was given by Alessandro Nivola and Willem Dafoe, on behalf of the jury.
Jury Comment: “When we were watching these movies we were looking for something we hadn’t seen before. We unanimously agree that one film challenged us to see in a new way, and we were seduced by the surprising humanity ofits difficult characters. The direction was assured, and its tone unique, and we look forward to seeing Elina Psykou’s next work. The Best International Narrative Feature Award goes to Son of Sofia.”
- Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Guillermo Pfening in Nobody’s Watching (Nadie Nos Mira) (Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Spain). The award was given by Alessandro Nivola and Willem Dafoe, on behalf of the jury.
Jury Comment: “For a performance of extraordinary vulnerability and commitment that anchored the film, the Best Actor Award goes to Guillermo Pfening for Nobody’s Watching.”
- Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Marie Leuenberger in The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung) (Switzerland). The award was given by Alessandro Nivola and Willem Dafoe, on behalf of the jury.
Jury Comment: “For a performance that is patient, intelligent and graceful, that captured the liberation of a young woman the Best Actress Award goes to Marie Leuenberger for The Divine Order.”
- Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Mart Taniel for November (Estonia, Netherlands, Poland). The award was given by Alessandro Nivola and Willem Dafoe, on behalf of the jury.
Jury Comment: “We were particularly impressed by the high level of the cinematography of the films we’ve just seen which had very different styles and demands. One film was particularly audacious and showed supreme command of its visual language. The Best Cinematography Award goes to Mart Taniel for November.”
- Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ice Mother (Bába z ledu) written by Bohdan Sláma (Slovakia, France). Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by Alessandro Nivola and Willem Dafoe, on behalf of the jury.
Jury Comment: “A screenplay can create a world. With warmth and humor, this movie leads us into a specific and eccentric world driven by an unlikely love story. The Best Screenplay Award goes to Bohdan Sláma for Ice Mother.”
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2017 Documentary Competition were R.J. Cutler, Alma Har’el, Barbara Kopple, Anne Thompson, and David Wilson.
- Best Documentary Feature – Bobbi Jene, directed by Elvira Lind (USA, Denmark, Israel). Winner receives $20,000, sponsored by Netflix, and the art award “THE REAPER” by Sterling Ruby. The award was given by Barbara Kopple.
Jury Comments: “In a diverse field of worthy films, one work captivated our jury with its exquisite blend of emotional depth and rigorous craft. Fulfilling the promise of classic cinema verite, where camera serves as both observer and provocation, this film connected two artists, filmmaker and subject, pushing nonfiction intimacy to bold new places. Our winner documents the deeply personal process of a brilliant woman finding her voice – paired with a director whose own artistic vision dances elegantly with that of her subject. We the jury give the Best Documentary Feature to Elvira Lind’s Bobbi Jene.”
- Best Documentary Cinematography – Cinematography by Elvira Lind for Bobbi Jene (USA, Denmark, Israel). Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by David Wilson.
Jury Comments: “For the film’s extraordinary relationship to an artist who is willing to go bare not only in performance but in stunningly intimate scenes that are poetic, honest and moving, seemingly without barriers between camera and subject, we give Best Cinematography to Elvira Lind for Bobbi Jene.”
- Best Documentary Editing – Editing by Adam Nielson for Bobbi Jene (USA, Denmark, Israel). Winner receives $2,500. The award was given by David Wilson.
Jury Comments: “For a film whose precise economy of construction creates space for the rich sensual palette of a committed artist going through a life change, and whose internal rhythms mirror the art it portrays, we give Best Editing to Adam Nielson for Bobbi Jene.”
o Special Jury Mention – True Conviction. “For its compelling storytelling and for introducing us to three heroic characters who transform the injustice they suffered into active change, we give a Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary Feature to Jamie Meltzer’s True Conviction.”
BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2017 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Bryan Buckley, Clea Duvall, and Michael Pitt.
- Best New Narrative Director – Rachel Israel, director of Keep the Change (U.S.). Winner receives $10,000 sponsored by Netflix, and the art award “Veridical” by Jorge Pardo. The award was given by Clea Duvall and Michael Pitt.
Jury Comments: “For this award, we were looking for a filmmaker with a fearless, authentic voice. Our decision was unanimous. This filmmaker created a world full of vibrant characters often under-represented in cinema. It is a unique, yet universal love story told in a way we’ve never seen. We anxiously await to see what this filmmaker does next. We are so thrilled to present the award for Best New Narrative Director to Rachel Israel for Keep the Change.”
BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2017 Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award were Amy Berg, Alice Eve, Marilyn Ness, Zachary Quinto, and Shaul Schwarz.
- Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra for A Suitable Girl (U.S./India). Winner receives $10,000 sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “GOD IS MANMADE” by John Giorno. The award was presented by Shaul Schwarz, Amy Berg, and Zachary Quinto on behalf of the jury, along with Alexandra Hannibal from CNN Films.
Jury Comments: “For the top prize we chose a film that helped us to rethink the dynamics of love through a moving portrayal of a cultural tradition. With incredible access, heartfelt scenes and it’s strong verite style, The Albert Maysles Prize for first documentary feature goes to A Suitable Girl.”
o Special Jury Mention – Hondros. “In considering a wide range of subjects in our category we were moved by two different kinds of love stories. The film we decided to honor with a special mention delves into the fractured worlds of chaos and violence and the interconnectedness of humanity. A childhood friend carries on his legacy to show the enduring power of love. The special mention goes to Hondros.”
THE NORA EPHRON PRIZE
The 2017 Nora Ephron Prize, presented by CHANEL, jurors were Dianna Agron, Joy Bryant, Diane Lane, Zoe Lister-Jones, and Christina Ricci.
- The Nora Ephron Prize: Petra Volpe, writer/director of The Divine Order (Switzerland). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by CHANEL, and the art award “Fashion Voodoo 3” by Aurel Schmidt. The award was given by Diane Lane on behalf of her jurors Joy Bryant, Dianna Agron, Christina Ricci, Zoe Lister-Jones.
Jury Comments: “For its intrepid and compassionate storytelling, beautiful cinematography (DP-ed by a woman), complex characterization of the female experience, seamless navigation of both drama and comedy, and true embodiment of the personal being political, we award the Nora Ephron Prize to Petra Volpe for her film The Divine Order.”
- Special Jury Mention: Keep the Change
SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The 2017 Best Narrative Short and Best Animated Short jurors were Udi Aloni, Brennan Brown, Gilbert Gottfried, Amy Heckerling, Sheila Nevins, Mark O’Brien, and Jesse Plemons.
- Best Narrative Short – Retouch, directed by Kaveh Mazaheri(Iran). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella, and the art award: “Study: Flooded Oxbow for Ophelia (MM#3800)” by Stephen Hannock. The award was given by Udi Aloni, Brennan Brown, and Amy Heckerling on behalf of the jury, along with Eric Berger representing Nutella.
Jury Comments: “For its message of choice, liberty, and renewal where the lines of morality and honesty are blurred, leaving the audiences own projection of the events open for discussion and introspection. We appreciated the unification of the aesthetic and the ethical. The winner of the Best Narrative Short goes to Retouch.”
- Best Animated Short – Odd is an Egg (Odd er et egg) directed by Kristin Ulseth (Norway). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella. The award was given by Udi Aloni, Brennan Brown, and Amy Heckerling on behalf of the jury, along with Eric Berger representing Nutella.
Jury Comments: “We found the story of this animated short sweet and moving. We were also very impressed with beautiful visuals, which were artistic, cool and haunting. The filmmaker shows great promise. Best Animated Short goes to Kristin Ulseth for her film, Odd is an Egg.”
The 2017 Best Documentary Short and Student Visionary Award jurors were Priyanka Chopra, Olivia Thirlby, Ryan Eggold, Brendan Fraser, and Ileen Gallagher.
- Best Documentary Short – The Good Fight directed by Ben Holman (U.S., UK, Brail). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella, and the art award “Untitled” by Ryan Sullivan. The award was given by Ileen Gallagher and Ryan Eggold along with Eric Berger representing Nutella.
Jury Comments: “An unflinching portrait of finding hope in a world of danger; a journey of perseverance in the face of tragedy; an uplifting and visually compelling story of redemption. The winner of the Best Documentary Short is The Good Fight.”
o Special Jury Mention – Resurface: “Shedding light on the struggle for normalcy, hope, and recovery that US Veterans face every day, this is the story of reviving the human spirit through connecting with something deeply powerful and larger than the self: the Natural World.”
- Student Visionary Award – Fry Day directed by Laura Moss (U.S.). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella. The award was given by the Jury along with Eric Berger representing Nutella.
Jury Comments: “For its success in balancing an immersive coming of age experience with relevant social commentary in a historically specific context; compelling performances and expert filmmaking, the student visionary award goes to Fry Day.”
o Special Jury Mention – Dive: “Visceral, deeply moving meditative and exquisitely constructed / A nuanced examination of love and moving on after grief. Dive receives a Special Jury Mention.”
The 2017 Storyscapes Award, presented by AT&T, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology, jurors were Lily Baldwin, Charlotte Cook, Julia Kaganskiy, Michael Premo, and Sarah Wolozin.
- Storyscapes Award: TREEHUGGER: WAWONA created by Barnaby Steel (Co-Founder, Creative Director), Ersin Han Ersin (artist, Creative Director) and Robin McNicholas (Co-founder, Creative Director) of Marshmallow Laser Feast. Winner receives $10,000, presented by AT&T. The award was given by Lily Baldwin, Charlotte Cook, Julia Kaganskiy, Michael Premo, and Sarah Wolozin, along with Ryan Luckey, AVP, Corporate Sponsorships, AT&T.
Jury Comments: “The project we chose exemplifies the highest standards of artistry and inventiveness. It explores the potential for new visual forms and investigates unique modes of storytelling that allow us to tap into aspects the world and our lived experience that are intuitively known but seldom articulated. Through its use of poetic abstraction, embodiment, and the viewer’s own imagination and interpretation, we are able to unlock new ways of understanding and experiencing the world around us. We’ve selected this piece because we hope it will inspire others to start creating in ways that take risks and use the limitations of technology to revamp story and experience. The Storyscapes Award goes to TREEHUGGER: WAWONA.”
The Festival’s competition categories continue to incorporate storytelling in all its forms with two awards that were given out earlier in the week. The Tribeca X Award is a juried section recognizing the intersection of advertising and entertainment and Tribeca also presented the first Tribeca Snapchat Short Award, a new official category.