The Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson

The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival announced the winners of the 2015 Golden Space Needle Audience and Competition Awards. The Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson is the big winner, taking the Golden Space Needle Audience Award for Best Film, and Best Actor for Cliff Curtis.  In The Dark Horse – winner of six New Zealand Film Awards including Best Picture, Director, and Actor – Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider) gives a stunning and inspirational performance as New Zealand legend Genesis Potini, a bipolar speed chess champion who helps turn around the lives of some 15,000 Maori children by teaching them the intricacies the game.

Other winners include Alfonso Gomez-Rejon of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” wins Best Director,  “Romeo is Bleeding” wins Best Documentary; Nina Hoss (“Phoenix”) wins Best Actress, “Liza, The Fox-Fairy,” “The Great Alone,” and “Chatty Catties” Win Grand Jury Prize Awards for Best New Director, Documentary and New American Film

Carl Spence, SIFF’s Artistic Director, says, “Our 41st Festival was another fantastic celebration of storytelling in all its forms. We presented everything from the storied cinematic past (archival screenings celebrating Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation and live read of the late Stewart Stern’s Rebel Without a Cause), to the iconic (Kevin Bacon!), to the independent (Jason Schwartzman and his new comedy 7 Chinese Brothers). With a record 92 countries represented this year and sold-out shows every night, this year’s Festival was bigger than ever, but it also fittingly included a proper send-off of an iconic movie house, the Harvard Exit. It also highlighted Seattle’s great continuing movie houses including our own SIFF Cinema Egyptian and SIFF Cinema Uptown. And I love that we bookended the Festival this year with two stellar comedies, kicking off with our Opening Night film Spy (the number one movie in America this weekend) and finishing with our hilarious Closing Night indie The Overnight. Starting and ending with laughter while traveling the world in between is a great way to mark another whirlwind 25-day celebration of cinema.”

SIFF 2015 GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AUDIENCE AWARDS

SIFF celebrates its films and filmmakers with the Golden Space Needle Audience Awards. Selected by Festival audiences, awards are given in five categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Short Film. This year, nearly 90,000 ballots were submitted.

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST FILM
The Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson (New Zealand 2014)

First runner-up: Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter (USA 2015)
Second runner-up: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (USA 2015)
Third runner-up: Shaun the Sheep, directed by Richard Starzak, Mark Burton (UK 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Good Ol’ Boy, directed by Frank Lotito (USA 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY
Romeo is Bleeding, directed by Jason Zeldes (USA 2015)

First runner-up: Paper Tigers, directed by James Redford (USA 2015)
Second runner-up: The Glamour & The Squalor, directed by Marq Evans (USA 2015)
Third runner-up: The Great Alone, directed by Greg Kohs (USA 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (USA 2015)

First runner-up: George Ovashvili, Corn Island (Georgia 2014)
Second runner-up: Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Netherlands 2015)
Third runner-up: Susanne Bier, ASecond Chance (Denmark 2014)
Fourth runner-up: Ross Partridge, Lamb (USA 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTOR
Cliff Curtis, The Dark Horse (New Zealand 2014)

First runner-up: Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (UK 2015)
Second runner-up: Jason Segel, End of the Tour (USA 2014)
Third runner-up: Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon, Henri Henri (Canada (Québec) 2014)
Fourth runner-up: Jacir Eid, Theeb (Jordan 2014)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTRESS
Nina Hoss, Phoenix (Germany 2014)

First runner-up: Kalki Koechlin, Margarita, with a Straw (India 2014)
Second runner-up: Rebecka Josephson, My Skinny Sister (Sweden 2015)
Third runner-up: Regina Case, The Second Mother (Brazil 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Ghita Nørby, Key House Mirror (Denmark 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST SHORT FILM
Even the Walls, directed by Sarah Kuck, Saman Maydáni (USA 2015)

First runner-up: Submarine Sandwich, directed by PES (USA 2014)
Second runner-up: Stealth, directed by Bennett Lasseter (USA 2014)
Third runner-up: Personal Development, directed by Tom Sullivan (Ireland 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Bihttoš, directed by Elie-Máijá Tailfeathers (Canada 2014)

LENA SHARPE AWARD FOR PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)

This award is given to the female director’s film that receives the most votes in public balloting at the Festival. Lena Sharpe was co-founder and managing director of Seattle’s Festival of Films by Women Directors and a KCTS-TV associate who died in a plane crash while on assignment. As a tribute to her efforts in bringing the work of women filmmakers to prominence, SIFF created this special award and asked Women in Film Seattle to bestow it.

SIFF 2015 COMPETITION AWARDS

SIFF announced three Competition Awards for Best New Director, Best Documentary, and Best New American Film (FIPRESCI). Winners in each juried competition received $2,500 in cash, while the New American Cinema competition winner was also awarded the FIPRESCI prize.

SIFF 2015 BEST NEW DIRECTOR
GRAND JURY PRIZE
Liza, the Fox-Fairy (Hungary 2015), directed by Károly Ujj-Mészáros
JURY STATEMENT: For its lively, inventive visual wit and offbeat look at romantic delusion involving a haunted Hungarian nurse, a long-suffering police sergeant, and the ghost of a ’50s Japanese pop singer, we have given this year’s New Directors Prize to Károly Ujj-Mészáros.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
Corrections Class (Russia/Germany 2014), directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky
JURY STATEMENT: For the director’s brave and unflinching handling of a young ensemble.

Festival programmers select 12 films remarkable for their original concept, striking style, and overall excellence. To be eligible, films must be a director’s first or second feature and without U.S. distribution at the time of their selection. The New Directors Jury is comprised of Brandon Harris (Filmmaker Magazine), Amy Nicholson (L.A. Weekly), and Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed).

2015 Entries:
A Blast (d: Syllas Tzoumerkas, Greece/Germany/Netherlands 2014, North American Premiere)
Bonifacio (d: Enzo Williams, Philippines 2014, North American Premiere)
Corrections Class (d: Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Russia/Germany 2014, North American Premiere)
Liza, the Fox-Fairy (d: Károly Ujj-Mészáros, Hungary 2015, North American Premiere)
Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (d: Muayad Alayan, Palestine 2015, North American Premiere)
A Matter of Interpretation (d: Kwang-kuk Lee, South Korea 2014, North American Premiere)
Morbayassa (d: Cheick Fantamady Camara, Guinea 2015, North American Premiere)
My Skinny Sister (d: Sanna Lenken, Sweden/Germany 2015, North American Premiere)
Short Skin (d: Duccio Chiarini, Italy 2014, North American Premiere)
Under Construction (d: Rubaiyat Hossain, Bangladesh 2015, World Premiere)
Vincent (d: Thomas Salvador, France 2014)
Waterline (d: Michal Otlowski, Poland 2014, North American Premiere)

SIFF 2015 BEST DOCUMENTARY
GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Great Alone (USA 2015), directed by Greg Kohs
JURY STATEMENT: Our Grand Jury Prize goes to a film that stopped all of us in our tracks. One of the joys of the film festival experience is discovering a film that works so well on every level. This is an inspiring film about one man’s story that is both intimate and epic – we were knocked out by the filmmaker’s achievement in crafting a visually stunning, completely engrossing narrative about one extraordinary human being.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZES
Romeo is Bleeding (USA 2015), directed by Jason Zeldes
JURY STATEMENT: For its strength in demonstrating the power of art to change lives.

Sergio Herman: F**king Perfect (Netherlands 2015), directed by Willemiek Kluijfhout
JURY STATEMENT: Which we found to be an exquisitely made film about a FUCKING PERFECT artist.

Unscripted and uncut, the world is a resource of unexpected, informative, and altogether exciting storytelling. Documentary filmmakers have, for years, brought these untold stories to life and introduced us to a vast number of fascinating topics we may have never known existed-let alone known were so fascinating. The Documentary Jury is comprised of Jannat Gargi (Vulcan Productions), Janet Pierson (SXSW), and Anne Rosellini (producer, Stray Dog, Winter’s Bone).

2015 Entries:
Cooking Up a Tribute (d: Luis González & Andrea Gómez, Spain 2015, North American Premiere)
Dreams Rewired (d: Martin Reinhart, Thomas Tode, & Manu Luksch, Austria 2015, North American Premiere)
The Glamour & The Squalor (d: Marq Evans, USA 2015, World Premiere)
The Great Alone (d: Greg Kohs, USA 2015, World Premiere)
In Utero (d: Kathleen Gyllenhaal, USA 2015, World Premiere)
License to Operate (d: James Lipetzky, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Mountain Spirits (d: Singing Chen & Kuo-Liang Chiang, Taiwan 2014, US Premiere)
Paper Tigers (d: James Redford, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Romeo Is Bleeding (d: Jason Zeldes, USA 2015)
Sergio Herman, F**KING PERFECT (d: Willemiek Kluijfhout, Netherlands 2015, North American Premiere)
War of Lies (d: Matthias Bittner, Germany 2014, US Premiere)

SIFF 2015 BEST NEW AMERICAN CINEMA
GRAND JURY PRIZE
Chatty Catties (USA 2015), directed by Pablo Valencia
JURY STATEMENT: The FIPRESCI jury at the 41st edition of the Seattle International Film Festival bestows its International Critics’ Prize to a film that – with an enormous amount of risk-taking – innovatively expands stylistic and narrative boundaries. With a fresh view on intimate relationships, director Pablo Valencia creates an unexpected and utterly original emotional landscape in Chatty Catties.

Festival programmers select 9 films without U.S. distribution that are sure to delight audiences looking to explore the exciting vanguard of New American Cinema and compete for the FIPRESCI Award for Best New American Film. The New American Cinema Jury is comprised of members of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI): Pamela Cohn, André Roy, and Dennis West.

2015 Entries:
Chatty Catties (d: Pablo Valencia, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Circle (d: Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Fourth Man Out (d: Andrew Nackman, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Front Cover (d: Ray Yeung, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Good Ol’ Boy (d: Frank Lotito, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Happy 40th (d: Madoka Raine, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Me Him Her (d: Max Landis, USA 2015, World Premiere)
A Rising Tide (d: Ben Hickernell, USA 2015, World Premiere)
Those People (d: Joey Kuhn, USA 2015, World Premiere)

SIFF 2015 FUTUREWAVE AND YOUTH JURY AWARDS

YOUTH JURY AWARD FOR BEST FUTUREWAVE FEATURE
Seoul Searching (USA/South Korea 2015), directed by Benson Lee
JURY STATEMENT: For its diverse and relatable characters, quality mix of emotion and comedy, and accurate and respectful representation of teens, the 2015 FutureWave Youth Jury Prize goes to Seoul Searching.

YOUTH JURY AWARD FOR BEST FILMS4FAMILIES FEATURE
When Marnie Was There (Japan 2014), directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
JURY STATEMENT: For its beautiful and detailed animation, realistic sound design, and original, bittersweet tale of mystery the Films4Families Jury awards When Marnie Was There.

WAVEMAKER AWARD (GRAND PRIZE)
In recognition of superior artistic and technical achievement.
Audio Input(USA), directed by Sho Schrock-Manabe
JURY STATEMENT: For its insightful and engaging portrait of podcasting, an audio art form, through a collage of interviews and images.

FUTUREWAVE AUDIENCE AWARD
Minimum Max (USA), directed by Josh Ovalle

PRODIGY CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS
Each winner will be awarded a $1000 scholarship to the Prodigy Camp.
I’m Not Here (South Africa), directed by Jack Markovitz
Minimum Max (USA), directed by Josh Ovalle

SIFF 2015 SHORT FILM JURY AWARDS

All short films shown at the Festival are eligible for both the Golden Space Needle Audience Award and Jury Award. Jurors will choose winners in the Narrative, Animation, and Documentary categories. Each jury winner will receive $1,000 and winners in any of the three categories may also qualify to enter their respective films in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards®.

LIVE ACTION

GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Chicken (Croatia, Germany), directed by Una Gunjak
JURY STATEMENT: An expertly crafted narrative that explores life and death through the eyes of a young girl. With a film full of authentic performances, Iman Alibalic is extraordinary as the six-year-old protagonist who receives a live chicken from her father for her birthday, and soon realizes it’s meant for dinner. This is an emotional film with a production quality that continues to move the story along and underscore the realities of life in a war zone.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Hole (Canada), directed by Martin Edralin
JURY STATEMENT: Hole is a brave exploration of human sexuality and yearning for intimacy through the eyes of a lonely, forgotten, disabled man in the heart of Toronto. Ken Harrower delivers a captivating performance that transcends any labels or limitations and speaks to the need for human connection.

DOCUMENTARY

GRAND JURY PRIZE
Bihttos (Canada), directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
JURY STATEMENT: For its ambitious approaches to visual storytelling and imaginative recounting of an exceptional family history.

ANIMATION

GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Mill at Calder’s End (USA), directed by Kevin McTurk
JURY STATEMENT: There exists a tendency to laud the new-new stories, new techniques, new talent. With the animation award, the jury is pleased to celebrate a film that is decidedly old-school, breathing life into a bygone style, iterating in a story tradition that is centuries old. For this fusion of the modern and classic, we are happy to award Kevin McTurk for The Mill at Calder’s End.

Short Film Juries 2015:

Live Action: Stefanie Malone (NFFTY), Bobby McHugh (World Famous), and Tracy Rector (Longhouse Media).

Documentary and Animation: Courtney Sheehan (Northwest Film Forum), Jason Sondhi (Vimeo curator), Alex Stonehill (Seattle Globalist).

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