The Twin Cities Film Fest announced its 2017 award winners Saturday evening, and named Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” as the year’s Best Feature Film. “The Bachelors,” a father-son drama starring J.K. Simmons, was named a finalist in several categories and walked away with the Indie Vision Breakthrough Award for Simmons’ teenage co-star Josh Wiggins.
The festival’s top non-fiction awards went to documentaries spotlighting the great migrations of refugees now underway around the globe. Ai Weiwei’s “Human Flow,” was named Best Documentary; Amanda Bailly’s “8 Borders, 8 Days” won the 2017 Non-Fiction Indie Vision Award.
The 2017 Audience Awards went to “Instructions for Living,” a drama co-starring and co-written by Minnesota native Morgan Owens; “Coyote,” a documentary about the life and disappearance of acclaimed sailor Mike Plant who grew up in the state; and ‘Hearts Want,” a sweeping short romance directed by Twin Cities filmmaker Jason P. Schumacher.
Minnesota native Lea Thompson returned home to the state to open the festival with her comedic directorial debut “The Year of Spectacular Men.” The film is written by her daughter Madelyn Deutch, who stars in the comedy opposite her sister Zoe. At Saturday evening’s award ceremony, Madelyn was named this year’s Indie Vision Breakthrough Artist for narrative filmmaking.
“The creativity of Madelyn’s script, the strength of her performance, and the uniqueness of Lea’s first film, set the tone for the entire festival,” says Jatin Setia, Twin Cities Film Fest’s executive director. “We billed this year as the ‘Year of Spectacular Women,’ in part because we were captivated by these memorable female-driven films we were seeing on the festival circuit and also in recognition of the fact that over 50 percent of all our titles this year were directed/produced by women. Madelyn’s award is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the female talent we celebrated this year.”
On the festival’s closing day, TCFF also honored actress, and Minnesota native, Rachael Leigh Cook with the festival’s coveted North Star Award.
2017 Twin Cities Film Fest Award Winners
Best Feature Film: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” directed by Martin McDonagh.
Best Documentary: “Human Flow,” directed by Ai Weiwei
Best Short Film: “Cat Killer,” directed by Wes Jones.
Audience Award, Narrative: “Instructions For Living,” directed by Sarah Heinss (Runner-Up: “Aquarians,” directed by Michael M. McGuire)
Audience Award, Non-Fiction: “Coyote,” directed by Thomas Simmons (Runner-Up: “Victor’s Last Class,” directed by Brendan Brandt)
Audience Award, Short Film: “Hearts Want,” directed by Jason P. Schumacher (Runner-Up: “Wet Dreams: One Woman’s Chance at Touching Gold,” directed by Darren Coyle)
Indie Vision Breakthrough Award — Narrative: Madelyn Deutch (screenplay, “The Year of Spectacular Men”)
Indie Vision Breakthrough Award — Non-Fiction: “8 Borders, 8 Days,” directed by Amanda Bailly
Fun Is Good Bill Murray Comedic Shorts Award: “Lady Lillian,” directed by Amber Johnson
North Star Award for Excellence: Rachael Leigh Cook
TCFF 2017 Changemaker Award: Lexi Reed Holtum, executive director and lobbyist of the Steve Rummler Hope Network, for her work advocating on behalf of Steve’s Law and the 2015 state funding that enabled first responders to have the resources they need to implement the law. Holtum was also responsible for the creation of the network’s Overdose Prevention Program, fostering partnerships between hospitals, treatment and sober living facilities, and communities to reduce opioid overdose deaths.