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My Hero Brother
My Hero Brother

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced the 2017 winners -MY HERO BROTHER won both the The Audience Choice Award and Best Documentary Award. The documentary follows a group of young people with Down syndrome as they embark on a demanding trip through the Himalayas, accompanied by their “normal” brothers and sisters.

The Nueva Vision Award for Spanish / Latin American Cinema went to Elia Schneider’s TAMARA, chosen by jury members for being so bold and straightforward with such an important and relevant issue as transitioning genders, and for electrifying filmmaking with powerful and emotional performances.

Paul Shoulberg’s THE GOOD CATHOLIC took home the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. Jury members Joanna Kerns and Richard Harris commented that “”Every once in awhile you get the privilege to watch a film that pulls you in emotionally from the opening moment, THE GOOD CATHOLIC is that movie. Economically written, flawlessly directed, cast and performed, this intimate film about a young priest’s crisis of faith after meeting a woman in confessional, takes you on that journey.”

The Social Justice Award for Documentary Film went to ANGRY INUK, directed by Althea Arnaquq-Baril. Jury members chose the controversial film for its deep dive into the central role of seal hunting in the lives of the Inuit, and the negative impact that international campaigns against the seal hunt have had on them.

Jury members chose THE CONSTITUTION as the recipient of the Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for Best International Film. Jury members praised the performances of the actors and applauded the film as a richly conceived and ambitious look at multiple characters that live in the same building but avoid each other because of their differences in assets, sexual habits, nationality, and religion.

The ADL Stand Up Award went to Wiktor Ericsson’s STRAWBERRY DAYS. The purpose of the ADL Stand Up Award is to recognize and celebrate the impact that storytelling can have in fostering mutual understanding and respect. “Strawberry Days” was chosen for its brave portrayal of the exploitation of foreign workers, and its depiction of the touching bond that forms between a 15-year-old worker and The Farmer’s daughter.

The Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film was awarded to SÁMI BLOOD, directed by Amanda Kernell. The film was selected for its powerful and vivid representation of racism in the 1930s and compelling story of a 14-year-old girl determined to leave her life behind.

Winners of the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Audience Choice Award
Directed by Yonatan Nir

Best Documentary Award
Directed by Yonatan Nir

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film
Directed by Rajko Grlić

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema
Directed by Paul Shoulberg

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema
Directed by Elia K. Schneider

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film
Directed by Althea Arnaquq-Baril

ADL Stand Up Award
Directed by Wiktor Ericsson

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film
Directed by Amanda Kernell

Best Documentary Short Film Award
Directed by Matthew K. Firpo

Best Documentary Short Film Award
Directed by Joyce Chen and Emily Moore

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live Action Short Film
Directed by Cameron Fay

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film
Directed by Nico Bonomolo

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