The 24th Slamdance Film Festival wrapped last weekend and presented prizes to the winners of this year’s Sparky Awards in the Audience, Jury, and Sponsored Categories. The festival also announced the recipients of three new awards: The Russo Brothers Fellowship, the CreativeFuture Innovation Award, and a curated Acting Award.
The Sparky Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Rock Steady Row, directed by Trevor Stevens and written by Bomani Story. “Rock Steady Row is a shining star in genre, young adult themes, and ‘save the day’ filmmaking. Done creatively in a comic book meets George Miller meets John Carpenter universe. Sharply directed by Trevor Stevens and written by Bomani Story. With strong ingenuity not commonly seen at this budget and experience level, Rock Steady Row stands tall,” said jurors.
The jury shared, “Crafted with the same rugged earnestness and political incorrectness as its subject, this fast paced, exceptionally told portrait creates a complex, funny and layered depiction of a cartoonist who embodies the principles of free speech while revealing the trappings of such an existence. Just like Fish’s cartoons, Mr, Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End is a gateway to hard political discourse, challenging social norms and forcing us to look more closely at what tolerance means. For showing us what is lost when political art is sacrificed to subscription fees, and capturing its subject with the same raw idealism that keeps Fish drawing, we give the Feature Documentary Award to Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End.”
During the Awards Ceremony, the festival also announced the recipient of the highly anticipated The Russo Brothers Fellowship. The $25,000 prize, presented by AGBO Films in partnership with the festival, is designed to enable a deserving filmmaker the opportunity to continue their journey with mentorship from Joe and Anthony as well as development support from their studio. The 2018 recipient of the inaugural Russo Brothers Fellowship is Yassmina Karajah, director of the narrative short, Rupture.
The Festival also presented the inaugural CreativeFeature Innovation Award. Slamdance and CreativeFuture have partnered for years to support new talent in the world of film and educate creatives on the importance of protecting their work. This inaugural Award is given to an emerging filmmaker who exhibits the innovative spirit of filmmaking. The CreativeFuture Innovation Award went to Shunsaku Hayashi for his animated short film, Railment.
Additionally, a curated Acting Award was presented to Rhaechyl Walker for her breakout performance in, My Name Is Myeisha. “When we started this project seven years ago on a stage at an open mic night, the thought of our story being amplified on a silver screen never entered my mind.” said Walker. “I am so proud, and beyond honored to be a part of such a powerful force of artistic expression that has found its way into many hearts, planted a seed, and nourished souls. Thank you Slamdance for providing this amazing platform, and for this phenomenal award.”
The George Starks Spirit Of Slamdance Award went to Wendy McColm, director of Birds Without Feathers. Formerly known as the Spirit of Slamdance Award, the prize was renamed in the honor of George Starks. Starks, who passed away last summer, was a longtime friend of Slamdance and served as the festival’s Utah Producer.
Awards were also given to festival favorites, voted on by Slamdance audiences. The Narrative Feature Audience Award was presented to Rock Steady Row, directed by Trevor Stevens. Freedom For The Wolf, directed by Rupert Russell, received the Documentary Feature Audience Award, The Beyond Feature Audience Award was awarded to My Name Is Myeisha, directed by Gus Krieger.
The festival also recognized the Audience Award runners-up in their respective feature categories: Charlie And Hannah’s Grand Night Out (Dir: Bert Scholiers), MexMan (Dir.: Josh Polon) and Funny Story (Dir.: Michael Gallagher).
A full list of winners is below:
Jury Awards | Narrative Features
Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize – Rock Steady Row (Dir.: Trevor Stevens)
Honorable Mentions: Fake Tattoos (Dir.: Pascal Plante) and Lovers (Dir.: Niels Holstein Kaa)
Jury Awards | Documentary Features, Documentary Shorts
Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize – Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End (Dir.: Pablo Bryant)
Honorable Mention – MexMan (Dir.: Josh Polon)
Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize – Nueva Vida (Dir.: Jonathan Seligson)
Honorable Mention: The Last Man You Meet (Dir.: Chris Bone)
Jury Awards – Narrative Shorts
Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Rupture (Dir.: Yassmina Karajah)
Honorable Mention: Goodbye, Brooklyn (Dir.: Daniel Jaffe)
Jury Awards – Experimental Shorts/ Animated Shorts
Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Are You Tired Of Forever? (Dir.: Caitlin Craggs)
Honorable Mention: Silica (Dir.: Pia Borg)
Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize: Interstitial (Dir.: Shunsaku Hayashi)
Honorable Mention: Satellite Strangers (Dir.: James Bascara)
Slamdance Acting Award:
Rhaechyl Walker (My Name is Myeisha)
Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner:
Wendy McColm (Dir. of Birds Without Feathers)
CreativeFuture Innovation Award:
Railment (Dir.: Shunsaku Hayashi)
The Russo Brothers Fellowship Award Winner:
Rupture (Dir.: Yassmina Karajah)
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Rock Steady Row (Dir.: Trevor Stevens)
Runner up: Charlie And Hannah’s Grand Night Out (Dir.: Bert Scholiers)
Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Freedom For The Wolf (Dir.: Rupert Russell)
Runner up: MexMan (Dir.: Josh Polon)
Audience Award for Beyond Feature: My Name Is Myeisha (Dir.: Gus Krieger)
Runner up: Funny Story (Dir.: Michael Gallagher)