WHITE GOD and WALKING UNDER WATER Win Top Awards at 2015 Sarasota Film Festival

Kornel Mundruczo’s Cannes award-winning White God (pictured above) took home the Narrative Feature Jury prize at the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival. Walking Under Water, directed by Eliza Kubarska, was the Documentary Jury Prize winner, with  Actors Blythe Danner, Jane Seymour and Rachel Weisz among this year’s festival attendees.

Four special jury prizes were awarded; in the Narrative Feature Competition category, Radiator directed by Tom Browne took home two Special Jury Prizes, one for Excellence in Acting to Gemma Jones and one for Excellence in Production Design to Sarah Kane. In the Documentary Feature Competition category, a Special Jury Prize was awarded to Almost There, directed by Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden, for complex hands-on storytelling. A second Special Jury Prize for Artistic Portraiture was awarded to Scott Teems’ Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey.

The festival’s Independent Visions Award, presented by FACTORY 25, went to Lamb, directed by Ross Partridge. In addition, the jury gave a Best Ensemble Cast Award to Uncertain Terms, directed by Nathan Silver, and an Excellence in Cinematography Award to Adam Ginsberg for Tired Moonlight.

The festival’s Shorts Jury awarded Angel Kristi Williams’ Charlotte for their Narrative Competition, Meg Smaker’sBoxeadora for their Documentary Competition, and Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow their Animation Competition.

The Terry Porter Visionary Award went to Khalik Allah for Field Niggas, and the Tangerine Juice Award went to Maya Vitkova for Viktoria.

This year’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature was The End of the Tour, directed by James Ponsoldt.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary was presented to The Surgery Ship, directed by Madeleine Hetherton.

The Best in World Cinema Audience Award went to The Connection, directed by Cédric Jimenez.

Pony and director Candice Carella won the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

In addition, I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS’ Blythe Danner received the Impact Award, Ondi Timoner received the Dramatic Storytelling in Documentary Award for BRAND: A SECOND COMING. Rachel Weisz presented director Tom Browne the Emerging World Cinema Auteur Award for their film RADIATOR, and Lynda Obst received the Polly Platt Award for Producing.  Charles E. Williams received the Poitier Family Award.

“We had a very competitive line up this year.  It is an honor for us to award and spotlight these talented filmmakers for the 17th installment of our festival,” said Mark Famiglio, President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “These films thrive on genuine passion and ambition, which is a sentiment we truly capitalize on at the Sarasota Film Festival.  We continue to lay the groundwork and look forward to many more engaging and exciting years ahead.”

Congratulations to the 2015 winners of The Sarasota Film Festival Awards:

Narrative Feature Competition Winner
White God
Director – Kornél Mundruczó

Narrative Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Acting
Actor – Gemma Jones
Director – Tom Browne

Narrative Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Production Design
Production Designer – Sarah Kane
Director – Tom Browne

Documentary Feature Competition Winner
Walking Under Water
Director – Eliza Kubarska

Documentary Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize for Complex Hands-on Storytelling
Almost There
Directors – Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden

Documentary Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize for Artistic Portraiture
Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey
Director – Scott Teems

Independent Visions Competition Winner
Presented by Factory 25
Director – Ross Partridge

Independent Visions
Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Cast
Uncertain Terms
Director – Nathan Silver

Independent Visions
Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Cinematography
Tired Moonlight
Cinematographer – Adam Ginsberg

Shorts Narrative Competition
Director – Angel Kristi Williams

Shorts Documentary Competition
Director – Meg Smaker

Shorts Animation Competition
World of Tomorrow
Director – Don Hertzfeldt

Audience Award Winner
Best Narrative Feature
The End of the Tour
Director – James Ponsoldt

Audience Award Winner
Best Documentary Feature
The Surgery Ship
Director – Madeleine Hetherton

Audience Award Winner
Best Short Film
Director – Candice Carella

Audience Award Winner
Best in World Cinema
The Connection
Director – Cédric Jimenez

The Jurors

Narrative Feature
David Edelstein – Chief Film Critic, New York Magazine
Louis Black – Co-founder of SXSW and Austin Chronicle
Ilyse McKimme – Lab Director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program

Documentary Feature
Steve Dollar – Feature Film Writer, Wall Street Journal
Maureen Masters – Director of Regional Publicity, Magnolia Pictures
Jess Weixler – Actor, APARTMENT TROUBLES

Independent Visions
Matt Grady – Founder, Factory 25
Regina Weinreich – Feature Film Writer, The Huffington Post
Alicia Witt – Actress and singer/songwriter

Leah Meyerhoff – Director (Student Academy Award Winner)
Robin Fryday – Director (Academy Award nominee)
Emily Best – Producer, Founder of Seed & Spark

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