The 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival award winners were announced this afternoon at the festival’s annual Awards Barbecue. The Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award was presented to Evolution of a Criminal, directed by Darius Clark Monroe. Ten years after robbing a bank as teenager, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe returns home and turns the camera on himself — to tell the story of what happened and look at the fallout from his actions.
Jury members Shola Lynch, Robb Moss, and Christine O’Malley stated: “For its mix of autobiographical storytelling and inventive use of recreations, for its ability to disrupt what has become a familiar narrative, we award the Grand Jury Award to Evolution of a Criminal.”
The Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short was given to White Earth, directed by J. Christian Jensen. Against the backdrop of an ethereal North Dakota winter, three children and their immigrant mother describe scenes of isolation and exertion — the impact of the oil boom to their everyday lives.
Jury members Brian McGinn, Rick Prelinger, and Toby Shimin stated: “Short filmmaking is the art of working within the constraints of limited resources. For its elegant images of an environmentally precarious practice, its enigmatic and often surprising characters, and its vivid depiction of a place undergoing rapid transition, we recognize White Earth with the Jury Award for Best Short.”
The Hand That Feeds, directed by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick, received the Full Frame Audience Award for Feature. The film, a moving story of a bitter labor dispute, follows a group of New York City restaurant workers who stand up for their rights, despite the threat of job loss and deportation.
The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed, directed by Scott Calonico, received the Full Frame Audience Award Short. The film is a humorous retelling of how JFK handled a scandal over some pricey bedroom furniture during the last summer of his presidency.
The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award was given to Evolution of a Criminal, directed by Darius Clark Monroe. Provided by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, this award honors a documentary artist whose work is a potential catalyst for education and change. Representatives from the Center for Documentary Studies juried the prize: Randy Benson, Wesley Hogan, Katie Hyde, Lynn McKnight, Dan Partridge, Elena Rue, Teka Selman, and April Walton.
Return to Homs, directed by Talal Derki, was awarded the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award. The film takes viewers to the frontlines of the Syrian Civil War as two friends who are determined to defend their city abandon peaceful resistance and take up arms, heading straight for the heart of the warzone. Provided by the Charles E. Guggenheim family, this prize honors a first-time documentary feature director. Zak Piper, Roger Ross Williams, and Martha Shane juried this award.
The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss, received the Full Frame Inspiration Award. The film deals with a pastor in an oil boomtown who opens his doors to desperate and disillusioned jobseekers, and the unintended consequences that result from his good intentioned actions. Sponsored by the Hartley Film Foundation, this award is presented to the film that best exemplifies the value and relevance of world religions and spirituality. Sarah Masters, Jason Osder, and Dawn Porter juried this award.
The Full Frame President’s Award was presented to Santa Cruz del Islote, directed by Luke Lorentzen. The film is about the remote island of Santa Cruz del Islote, one of the most densely populated on the planet, where a community struggles to main its way of life as resources and opportunities dwindle. Sponsored by Duke University, representatives on behalf of the President’s Office juried the prize.
Private Violence, directed by Cynthia Hill, won the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights. This urgent and inspiring film confronts the question, “Why didn’t you leave?” through two women’s complex stories of survival, while exploring the way we talk about and deal with domestic violence as a society. Provided by the Julian Price Foundation, this award is presented to a film that addresses a significant human rights issue in the United States. Representatives from the Kathleen Bryan Edwards family juried the prize: Anne Arwood, Laura Edwards, Clay Farland, Margaret Griffin, and Pricey Harrison.
The Nicholas School Environmental Award was presented to The Great Invisible, directed by Margaret Brown. The film is a chilling investigation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, told through the stories of people still experiencing its after effects — from oil executives to Gulf Coast residents — long after the media moved on. The Nicholas School Environmental Award honors the film that best depicts the conflict between our drive to improve living standards through development and modernization, and the imperative to preserve both the natural environment that sustains us and the heritages that define us. Representatives from the Nicholas School of the Environment juried the prize: Lisa Campbell, Erin Espelie, Cindy Horn, Rebecca Patton, and Tom Rankin.