NEBRASKA, and FOREIGN LETTERS were voted winners of Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature; and COMEDY WARRIORS, and THE PRIME MINISTERS: THE PIONEERS were voted winners of Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2013 Gold Coast International Film Festival which took place October 21 to 27, 2013 in Long Island, New York.
2013 Award-Winning Films
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature:
In Alexander Payne’s new sharply observed comedy-drama, Woody (Bruce Dern, winner of Cannes best actor prize and our first GCIFF Artist of Distinction recipient) is a broke, bitter, recovering alcoholic who barely speaks to his shrewish wife (June Squibb, in a scene stealing performeance) or grown sons. After falling under the delusion that he’s won a mail-order sweepstakes, he embarks on a cross-country journey to claim the dough with his youngest son David (Will Forte) playing Sancho to his Don Quixote, and making discoveries about his father he never could expect. Alexander Payne (The Descendants, About Schmidt, Sideways, Election) is back on Middle American turf to chronicle Dern’s, grumpy, often confused Woody who has knuckled down to a life of quiet desperation, but he just may open up a little more to his son. Backed with a terrific supporting cast (Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk and Squibb), Nebraska is both tough, tender and gently humorous in looking at one family’s life in the America’s heartland.
Ellie, a 12-year-old immigrant girl from Israel, is lonely and homesick in her new Connecticut surroundings. Between learning English and American social customs (“You can say ‘Jewish,’ but not ‘Jew’”), her only solace is corresponding with her best friend back in home. But life brightens when she meets Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee her age. Trust slowly builds as the two teach each other about life in America. Ellie and Thuy become inseparable, but they eventually hurt and betray each other. Ellie must give up her most prized possession in order to save their friendship. Based on the filmmaker’s own experience, Foreign Letters is a story about prejudice, poverty, shame, and the power of friendship to heal us. Director Ela Their creates a touching yet unsentimental portrait of the bond between two friends in this film that features the music of iconic Israeli musician Chava Alberstein, who was the director’s favorite musician when her family immigrated to the US in 1982.
Audience Award for Best Documentary:
Five severely wounded Iraq/Afghanistan veterans are given the opportunity to explore their experiences through the healing power of humor as they work with professional comedy writers, and A-List comedians: Zach Galifianakis, Lewis Black, Bob Saget, and B.J. Novak, who help them write and perform their own personal stand-up comedy routines, culminating in one big night performing at LA’s top comedy clubs.
THE PRIME MINISTERS: THE PIONEERS
Based on the best selling bok by Ambassador Yehuda Avner. In The Prime Ministers, the audience gets a highly personal insider’s view of some of the most important events in 20th century history. Told from the point of view of those who witnessed history first-hand, this film shares intimate moments from the offices of Israel’s Prime Ministers and the thoughts of the men and women who have shaped modern Israel. The film includes never-before-told stories about Golda Mier, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres. Weaving a rich and highly intimate tapestry of history, this is a film about the hearts and minds of people at the center of the modern world.
Audience Award for Best Short Film:
Jury Award for Best Short Film: