With the screenings complete, Sunday evening brought the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Award ceremony and after party. With so many worthy contenders, choosing winners was difficult for jury members, but choose they did.
Documentary winner: 52 Trolley depicts colorful riders on a trolley bus in the Ukraine, an insightful look at the region and its people, directed by David Auerbach.
Narrative winner: Flowereyes – director Chris Brady created a touching piece about a man haunted by love who sells white noise machines door to door.
Animated winner: Laura Harrison’s Little Red Giant, the Monster That I Was is the hilarious story of an unhinged artist who loses it an an academic’s barbecue.
Feature length winners:
Documentary Audience Award: The lustrous Strad Style, director Stefan Avalos involving and emotionally satisfying portrait of isolated Ohio violin maker Daniel Houck.
Documentary Jury Award: a second deserved nod for Strad Style. Director Avalos said “It keeps getting better.”
The film’s subject, violin maker Daniel Houck added “It’s been nice to share my life with so many people, when I’ve been in seclusion for so many years. It means a lot to share my life with everyone.”
Other documentary awards:
Bravery Award: Forever B, with director Skye Borgman tackling the difficult subject of a pedophile’s attack on a family.
Narrative Audience Award: Withdrawn, the smart and funny story of a slacker/grifter drifting after his college graduation.
On the right, above, is presenter Vincent Spano.
Narrative Foreign Language Jury award: Cold Breath from Iranian director Abbas Raziji, the story of a transsexual single parent forced to keep her secret.
Narrative Jury Award: Space Detective the inventively filmed creation of director Antonio Llapur and writer/producer/lead actor Matt Sjafiroeddin, was according to Sjafiroeddin, “A decade in the making. What a great weekend. Thank you guys so much. I hope to be back. And I hope you all come back too.”
Along with the filmmakers awards, well-deserved thanks were given to festival director Shira Dubrovner, who did a masterful job of creating and running the MLFF’s third year, and programmer Paul Sbrizzi, who combed through over 1100 entries this year, four times as many as last year.
As festival gold sponsors Paul & Kathleen Rudder remarked, the festival makes a real difference to the town of Mammoth Lakes. “It’s the difference between Mammoth Lakes being a bus stop to the ski slopes and a center for the arts,” Paul Rudder said.
- Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke