I headed to New York City for business meetings and the DLD Conference last week, which was held in and around Tribeca, I somehow overlooked the dates of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, a known and popular film festival in the Big Apple that draws celebrities and film lovers from around the world, not just the states.
Now in its 13th annual, the festival, which was co-founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, announced the winners of its competition categories last week at a ceremony presided over by Pat Kiernan and hosted at the Conrad New York in New York City.
The Festival ran through April 27, 2014, which made finding a hotel room nearly impossible and that didn’t apply just to SOHO and Tribeca hotel properties. I sadly discovered that nearly every hotel in New York, even in mid-town, was around double their normal price.
Alas, while I was socializing with technologists, visionaries, entertainers and thought leaders, within blocks of the venue, there were countless films and festivities being held. We were able to experience some of the cultural energy of the festival on the streets at night as people poured into bars, bistros, pubs and cafes after hours.
And now for the …..drum roll please, WINNERS of this year’s festival.
The world competition winners for narrative and documentary films were chosen from 12 narrative and 12 documentary features from 10 countries. Best New Director prizes were awarded to a first-time director for both narrative and documentary films, selected from a pool of 39 feature films throughout the program. Awards were also given for the best narrative short, best documentary short, and student visionary films in the short film competitions. This year’s Festival included 89 features and 57 short films from 40 countries, programmed by a team led by Tribeca’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Gilmore, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer, Director of Programming Genna Terranova, and Programmer Cara Cusumano.
This year the Festival introduced a new award, Best Narrative Editing sponsored by Manhattan Edit Workshop. Also announced at the awards were the Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia for the Storyscapes section, created in collaboration with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, the Nora Ephron Prize, sponsored by Coach, Inc., and the Tribeca Online Festival feature and short film winners selected by the online audience. The winners of the Heineken Audience Awards, determined by audience votes throughout the Festival, will be announced on April 26, 2014.
The winners, awards and comments from the jury who selected the recipients are as follows:
World NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2014 World Narrative Competition were Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke, and Ben Younger.
- The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Zero Motivation, written and directed by Talya Lavie (Israel). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Central Park, NY” by Tony Bennett. The award was given by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal joined by Esther Lee, SVP Brand Marketing/Advertising, AT&T.
Jury Comments: “The winner of this year’s Founder’s Award follows young women who must find their place and establish their identity in a world normally dominated by men and machismo. They do so with humor, strength and intellect. The filmmaker mirrors these same qualities. We believe a new, powerful, voice has emerged.”
- Special Jury Mention: The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, directed by Guillaume Nicloux (France). The announcement was made by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal.
- Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film –Paul Schneider as Otto in Goodbye to All That, directed by Angus MacLachlan (USA). Winner receives $2,500 sponsored by Allen and Deborah Grubman. The award was given by Lake Bell.
Jury Comments: “This performance reminded us that even in the most ordinary settings, our lives can summon extraordinary humor, pain, awkwardness, and if we earn it …. dignity.”
- Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film – Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as Carla Bernaschi inHuman Capital, directed by Paolo Virzi (Italy, France). Winner receives $2,500 sponsored by Allen and Deborah Grubman. The award was given by Catherine Hardwicke.
Jury Comments: “In her elegant portrayal of a profoundly conflicted wife and mother, this actress crafts a complex performance of a woman wrestling between love, family and obligation. She layers both strength and fragility without self-consciousness, with a fearlessness to exercise both subtlety and restraint.”
- Best Cinematography – Cinematography by Damian García, for Güeros, directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios (Mexico). Winner receives $5,000, and $50,000 in post-production services provided by Company 3. The award was given by Ben Younger.
Jury Comments: “The film perfectly captured the energy and hope of the youth in its nation’s capital.”
- Best Screenplay – The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, written and directed by Guillaume Nicloux (France). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by DreamWorks Animation. The award was given by Bart Freundlich.
Jury Comments: “This screenwriter put a bodybuilder, a gypsy, a prostitute, and a world renowned poet in handcuffs at a dinner table and made it feel right. When a film’s language feels so natural as to make the viewer completely forget that a screenplay was written, the writer deserves special acknowledgement.”
- Best Narrative Editing – Five Star, edited, directed and written by Keith Miller (USA). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Manhattan Edit Workshop. The award was given by Lake Bell along with Josh Apter, Owner, Manhattan Edit Workshop.
Jury Comments: “The winning film pulls the viewer into its world from its first decision — to live in the subtle emotional cues of the character’s face for nearly four minutes. The hypnotic pace keeps the stakes rising throughout. The attention to detail in the transitions lets us know we are being guided by a true filmmaker.”
World DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2014 World Documentary Competition were David Edelstein, Nick Fraser, Andrea Meditch, Jenni Wolfson, and Marina Zenovich.
- Best Documentary Feature – Point and Shoot, directed by Marshall Curry(USA). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “Stanley Kubrick, Director’s Chair” by Matthew Modine. The award was given Nick Fraser along with David Edelstein, Andrea Meditch, and Amy Entrails, SVP, Talent and Content Development, CNN Films.
Jury Comments: “The award goes to a film that makes its own rules. Working with hundreds of hours of first-person—selfie—footage by Matthew Van Dyke, director Marshall Curry creates an unsettlingly ambivalent and often darkly amusing portrait of a generation hellbent on documenting itself. Do we celebrate the so-called “manliness” of its protagonist—or wonder what the hell he’s doing inserting himself into the middle of a violent revolution, like a Zelig with his own camera? It’s a question viewers will brood on—much as this jury did.”
- Special Jury Mention: Regarding Susan Sontag, directed by Nancy Kates (USA).
- Best Documentary Editing – Ne Me Quitte Pas, edited, written and directed by Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden (Netherlands, Belgium). Winner receives $5,000. The award was given by Jenni Wolfson.
Jury Comments: “This year’s prize for editing celebrates a pair of filmmakers’ ability to give shape, rhythm, and even mythic beauty to a story that might have been, frankly, a sodden mess. For finding luster in the most unlikely places, the winners of this year’s prize for Best Documentary Editing goes to Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden for their bittersweet portrait of two Belgian boozers.”
BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2014 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Jeff Goldblum, Nadine Labaki, Dorothy Lyman, Adepero Oduye, and Mickey Sumner.
- Best New Narrative Director – Josef Wladyka director of Manos Sucias (Columbia, USA). Winner receives $25,000 sponsored by Warner Bros., $50,000 in post-production services provided by Company 3, and the art award “The Ballad of the Great Eastern” by Stephen Hannock. The award was given by Jeff Goldblum along with Dorothy Lyman and Adepero Oduye.
Jury Comments: “We have chosen a filmmaker whose journey should truly be an (is an) example to all of us about the commitment to the process of researching and developing a film. Not only did this director spend several years immersed in a marginalized community in order to tell the story in the most truthful way possible, he impacted and contributed to that community. We felt this film was an eye and mind opener, that transported us to a different place, stimulating our thinking, allowing us to meditate on the relationship between violence and circumstance.”
- Special Jury Mention: Güeros, directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios (Mexico). The announcement was made by Nadine Labaki and Mickey Sumner.
BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2014 Best New Documentary Director were Rebecca Cammisa, Heather Graham, Nate Parker, Doug Pray, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
- Best New Documentary Director – Alan Hicks for Keep On Keepin’ On (USA). Winner receives $25,000, and the art award “Still Life with View of Hoboken and Manhattan” by Catherine Murphy. The award was given by Heather Graham along with Rebecca Cammisa, Nate Parker, Doug Pray, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Jury Comments: “We have chosen to honor a filmmaker whose storytelling profoundly affected us all. This director’s work was not loud, did not call attention to itself, it displayed no excess. The filmmaking showed incredible focus, artistry, love and dedication. It told one simple story and told it well. This film has a beautiful soul, and to some extent it’s about soul. It inspired us, and we wish to honor its filmmaker so that they may continue to inspire others.”
Short Film Competition Categories:
The 2014 Best Narrative Short Competition jurors were Alfonso Arau, Whoopi Goldberg, Christine Lahti, Sheila Nevins, and Paul Wesley.
- Best Narrative Short – The Phone Call, directed by Mat Kirkby (UK). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Paul Hastings, LLP, and the art award “Water XIX” by Clifford Ross. The award was given by Sharon Badal, Director of Short Film Programming and Initiatives, along with Luke Lovine, Partner, Paul Hastings, LLP.
Jury Comments: “This film demonstrates the sheer power of the human voice to convey compassion and understanding via a one-on-one telephone conversation. We have selected it for its simplicity and directness in showing how emotional bonds can be formed by empathetic communication and for its beautifully-measured performances.”
The 2014 Best Documentary and Student Short Competition jurors were Lindsay Burdge, Toni Collette, Regina Dugan, Simon Kilmurry, and Anton Yelchin.
- Best Documentary Short – One Year Lease, directed by Brian Bolster (USA). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by FLATT Magazine, and the art award “Untitled” by James Nares. The award was given by Lindsay Burdge along with Christina Lessa from FLATT Magazine.
Jury Comments: “One Year Lease is a clever and humorously-constructed story that shows the tension of our human imperfections and our desire for connectedness, using an economy of language to construct a clear portrait of a woman we never see.”
- Special Jury Mention: The Next Part, directed by Erin Sanger (USA). The announcement by Lindsay Burdge
- Student Visionary Award – Nesma’s Bird, directed by Najwan Ali and Medoo Ali (Iraq). Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by AKA. The award was given by Regina Dugan and Larry Korman, President, Korman Communities.
Jury Comments: “Tough, intimate, and with a clarity of vision, the winning film is a story of a fiercely strong young woman who is unapologetically herself. The directors have finely crafted a film of coherence and texture.”
- Special Jury Mention: Cycloid, directed by Tomoki Kurogi (Japan). The announcement was made by Regina Dugan.
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE AWARD FOR TRANSMEDIA
The 2014 BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Award for Transmedia jurors were Paola Antonelli, Kira Pollack, and Caspar Sonnen.
- Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia: Clouds, created by Jonathan Minard and James George (USA). Winner receives $10,000, presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin. The award was given by Paola Antonelli, Kira Pollack, and Caspar Sonnen along with Victoria Perez along with Brand Manager, Bombay Sapphire Gin.
Jury Comments: “The winning Storyscapes project is a tentacular documentary that explores a network of ideas thanks to digitally rendered, ectoplasmic talking heads selected and 3D-scanned quotes and questions from the interaction design community. Coders riffing about code, captured through the lens of code. It does not get more meta and abstract than this, and yet it is also surprisingly real and moving.”
THE NORA EPHRON PRIZE
The 2014 Nora Ephron Prize jurors were Delia Ephron, Carol Kane, Natasha Lyonne, Meera Menon, and Tanya Wexler.
- The Nora Ephron Prize: Zero Motivation, written and directed by Talya Lavie (Israel). Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by Coach, Inc. The award was given by Delia Ephron, Carol Kane, Natasha Lyonne, and Tanya Wexler along with Stephanie Stahl, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, Coach Inc.
Jury Comments: “In her unique and ambitious first feature, this filmmaker deftly handled such difficult themes as the military, sexism, love, ambition, and friendship. This filmmaker also pulled off the awesome feat of managing multiple characters and storylines. In, what was definitely the most hilarious film we saw at the festival…the winning film is a fresh, original, and heartfelt comedy about life behind the scenes in the Israeli army.”
- Special Jury Mention: I Won’t Come Back, directed by Ilmar Raag (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Kazhakstan, Russia).
TRIBECA ONLINE FESTIVAL CATEGORIES:
The 2014 Tribeca Online Festival winners were voted on by visitors to tribecafilm.com.
- Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film: Vara: A Blessing, directed by Khyentse Norbu (Bhutan). Winner receives $10,000. The award was given by Paula Weinstein, EVP, Tribeca Enterprises.
- Tribeca Online Festival Best Short Film: Love in the Time of March Madness, directed by Melissa Johnson and Robertino Zambramo (USA). Winner receives $5,000, sponsored by Dianne B. Bernhard/Angela Bernhard Thomas/Art Spirit Films. The award was given by Geoff Gilmore along with Angela Bernhard Thomas, Producer.
Full List of Eligible 2014 TFF Films in Each Category of Competition:
World Narrative Feature Competition:
- Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature: 12 films
- Best Actress in a Narrative Feature: 8 actresses
- Best Actor in a Narrative Feature: 11 actors
- Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature: 12 films
- Best Screenplay for a Narrative Feature: 12 films
World Documentary Feature Competition:
- Best Documentary Feature: 12 films
- Best Editing in a Documentary Film: 15 filmmakers (or 12 films)
All feature sections, first time directors with films making their North American, International, or World Premiere
- Best New Narrative Director: directors selected from 19 films
- Best New Documentary Director: directors selected from 10 films
Short Films in Competition:
- Best Narrative Short: 33 films
- Best Documentary Short: 16 films
- Student Visionary Award: 9 films
Storyscapes Projects in Competition:
- Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia: 5 projects
Nora Ephron Prize:
- Awarded to female director or screenwriter, selected from 11 eligible films, with 12 female writers and 8 female directors (confirm language).
Photo credit: Filmschoolrejects.