The Other Kids directed by Chris Brown of San Francisco, California, and Psychedelia directed by Pat Murphy of Brooklyn, New York are winners of top awards of the 2016 New Jersey International Film Festival Competition.
The Suitor directed by Alvaro Congosto of Woodside, New York is the winner of the award for Best Short Film.
A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure directed by Augusta Palmer of Brooklyn, New, York) is the winner of the award for Best Animation Film.
2016 NJ International Film Festival Awards Grand Prize Winners:
Winner Best Feature Film
The Other Kids – Chris Brown (San Francisco, California)
The Other Kids follows six teenagers as they struggle through their final days of high school in the small, gold rush town of Sonora, CA. This unique and moving film is a hybrid mix of documentary and fiction, and emerged via a collaboration between the filmmaker and the teenagers who crafted and improvised the various stories. Impending graduation and adulthood brings each of these 17-year-olds to the edge of an emotional precipice. When safety nets prove illusory, it’s up to each of them to find a way to save themselves – and each other.
Winner Best Documentary Film
Psychedelia – Pat Murphy (Brooklyn, New York)
This documentary thoughtfully chronicles the use of mind-altering drugs, and their ability to induce mystical, or religious, experiences, in controlled psychotherapy studies that took place prior to the counterculture of the 1960s. Blending archival footage, artistic images, and interviews with leading experts in the field of psychedelic research, Psychedelia reveals a fascinating and little-known history, that culminates with stories from participants in current research studies, whose experiences have transformed the way that they look at their inner lives and the outside world.
Winner Best Short Film
The Suitor – Alvaro Congosto (Woodside, New York)
A thrilling romance set during the night that Orson Welles broadcast The War of the Worlds in 1938, and announced that Martians had landed in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, causing mass panic.
Winner Best Animation Film
A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure – Augusta Palmer (Brooklyn, New York)
Iris, a curious, precocious and somewhat jaded nine-year-old New Yorker, is on a quest to find a space to exercise her imagination in the real world. Wandering down Fifth Avenue, she spies the New York Public Library, walks through its doors, and then finds her way to the wondrous Picture Collection, an archive of over a million images. As she pulls a few images from the files, an engraving of an aye-aye suddenly springs to life and takes Iris – and the audience – on a transformative, animated journey.
Honorable Mention Winners:
H.O.M.E. – Daniel Maldonado (Queens, New York)
Kurdistan-Kurdistan – Bulent Gunduz (Antony, France)
Occupy, Texas – Jeff Barry (New York, New York)
Twinsburg – Joe Garrity (Oakland, California)
Roubado – Erica Watson (Los Angeles, California)