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Smuggling Hendrix
Smuggling Hendrix

The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival held its awards ceremony this evening, and top honors went to Diane for the Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature, Smuggling Hendrix for Best International Narrative Feature, and Island of the Hungry Ghosts for Best Documentary Feature. The Festival awarded $145,000 in cash prizes. Tribeca runs through April 29, 2018.

Awards were given in the following feature film competition categories: Founders Award for Best Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary, New Narrative Director, The Albert Maysles New Documentary Director, and the Nora Ephron Award, honoring a woman writer or director. Short films were honored in the Narrative, Documentary, Student Visionary and Animation categories.

The Nora Ephron Award awarded a $25,000 prize to writer/director Nia DaCosta for Little Woods. The award was created six years ago to honor excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director embodying the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker.

Tribeca honored innovation in storytelling with its Storyscapes Award, which went to Hero. Square’s For Every Kind of Dream series was honored with the 3rd annual Tribeca X Award, which recognizes excellence in storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment.

“It is rewarding to honor films that tell important stories and moved our juries in profound way,” commented Jane Rosenthal, CEO, Executive Chair, and Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Festival. “Whether they excite, incite, inspire or simply entertain, it is a privilege to launch this worthy group with this special honor at Tribeca.”

This year’s Festival included 99 feature length films, 55 short films, and 35 immersive storytelling projects from 46 countries.

Screenings of the award–winning films will take place throughout the final day of the Festival: Sunday, April 29, at various venues.


Founders Award for Best Narrative FeatureDiane written and directed by Kent Jones.
Winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “The Lady of Shalott, Cool Evening” by Stephen Hannock. .

Jury Comment: “Here we were presented with another very difficult decision, but after careful consideration we have chosen a film that we believe encompasses the beauty, aesthetic, as well as the powerful themes of love, struggle, life, death, and womanhood that are the spirit of this year’s Festival. For those reasons, our selection for this year’s Best Narrative Feature is Diane.”

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature FilmAlia Shawkat in Duck Butter.

Jury Comment: “To choose a Best Actress this year was a uniquely difficult decision, as this year’s Festival was jam-packed with truly amazing female performances. The actress we eventually chose to highlight gives a strikingly raw, connected, and honest performance about a character struggling to be raw, connected, and honest. This woman also co-wrote, co-produced and helped conceive this film…so it goes without saying that without Alia Shawkat there would be no Duck Butter.”

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature FilmJeffrey Wright in O.G. 

Jury Comment: “This year’s best actor has been transforming himself on stage, film, and television for many years. His performance in this year’s competition entry testifies to his talent, sensitivity, and craft. With masterful restraint, the inner life of his character seethes out of his pores. He has crafted a performance that solidifies his standing as one of the greatest actors working today. The award for Best Actor goes to Jeffrey Wright, for O.G.”

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Wyatt Garfield for Diane.

Jury Comment: “A cinematographer has to do more than just shoot pretty pictures. They have to help the director and the cast create a whole world, and then immerse us, the audience, in that world – all the while helping push the story forward visually, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. There were a number of exceptionally shot films in competition this year, but we were completely enraptured by the work of Wyatt Garfield for the film Diane”

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature FilmDiane written by Kent Jones.
Winner receives $2,500, sponsored by Chloe Wine Collection.

Jury Comment: “This year’s diverse collection of films were all founded upon haunting and humorous screenplays about dangerous relationships, battles for redemption, and yes, even chronic back pain. They were fearless, frightening, sad, and soulful. Singling out one of them was an incredibly difficult task. But that was the task we were charged with. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The screenplay we selected beautifully illustrated that notion through rich dialogue, complex characters, and elegant simplicity. It is for these reasons and many others that we have selected as the winning Screenplay of this year’s Festival…Diane, written by Kent Jones.”


Best International Narrative FeatureSmuggling Hendrix (Cyprus, Germany, Greece) written and directed by Marios Piperides.
Winner receives $20,000 and the art award “Can We Turn Our Rage to Poetry” by Joan Snyder.

Jury Comment: “For its unique, comedic exploration of a complicated absurd political situation told in a clear, personal compelling way, the Best International Narrative Feature Award goes to Smuggling Hendrix.”

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Joy Rieger in Virgins (France, Israel, Belgium).

Jury Comment: “The acting category was a challenge because all of the characters portrayed were fleshed out individuals, but none more than the 16 year old girl who had to navigate a sexual awakening among a life filled with hardship and yearning. The actress portraying this character brought to life a sassy, sexually naïve teenager that is universally identifiable. The best actress prize goes to Joy Rieger for her portrayal of Lana in the film Virgins.”

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature FilmRasmus Bruun in The Saint Bernard Syndicate (Denmark).

Jury Comment: “For his subtle comedic performance that manages to make a lasting impression on its audience and for his humorous, touching work that transcends both language and culture – he goes on a remarkable journey from a naïve furniture salesman to a murderer who’s battling ALS while selling Saint Bernard’s in China, we have chosen to award Rasmus Bruins from The Saint Bernard Syndicate as best actor.

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Albert Salas for Obey (UK).

Jury Comment: “For its original, daring image-making that, along with bold direction, invites the viewer inside the tense circumstances of its characters lives, we have chosen Albert Salas as best cinematographer for his moving work on the film Obey.”

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature FilmThe Saint Bernard Syndicate written by Lærke Sanderhoff (Denmark).
Winner receives $2,500.

Jury Comment: “While there were many wonderful scripts in this year’s Festival, we have chosen to acknowledge as best screenplay a comedy that manages to be truly funny and inventive in its exploration of a culture clash. This script was refreshingly original and gave its actors the opportunity to really shine. This year’s award for best screenplay goes to Lærke Sanderhoff for The Saint Bernard Syndicate.”


Best Documentary FeatureIsland of the Hungry Ghosts, directed by Gabrielle Brady (Germany, UK, Australia).
Winner receives $20,000, and the art award “Tehran, Iran (June 6, 1989)” by Julia Wachtel.

Jury Comment: “The Best Documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design, and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely, and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent, we are thrilled to award the Best Documentary award to Island of the Hungry Ghosts.”

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – Cinematography by Niels van Koevorden for Tanzania Transit (Netherlands).
Winner receives $2,500.

Jury Comment: “To witness the care taken in the framing of each shot of this remarkable film conveys pleasure in and of itself. That the aesthetic rigor of each of these images also opens the space for us to contemplate the challenges of being human with such gentleness is transfixing. This is a movie that dares to have no beginning and no end. We honor Niels van Koevorden with the Cinematography Award for Tanzania Transit because it gives us the deep slow shiver of seeing anew!

Best Editing in a Documentary Film – Editing by Frederick Shanahan, Jon Kasbe, Caitlyn Greene for When Lambs Become Lions (USA).
Winner receives $2,500.

Jury Comment: “The award for Best Editing goes to a film that unfolds with the urgency and tension one expects from the best Hollywood thrillers. From the opening frame to its startling climax, this film kept us on the edge of our seats. It’s also worth noting that one of the films three editors is also the film’s brilliant cinematographer, producer, and director, Jon Kasbe, and the jury could have recognized him in either of those disciplines. But ultimately it was the film’s incredible pacing that led us to present the award for Best Editing to the team from When Lambs Become Lions.”


Best New Narrative DirectorShawn Snyder, director of To Dust (USA).
Winner receives $10,000, and the art award “Flash (To the tender flesh it went)” by Meghan Boody.

Jury Comment: “As jurors of Tribeca’s New Narrative Director section, we’ve had the unique honor of spending the past week watching a group of lovingly curated films from first time fiction feature directors. These directors come with their own backstories as unique as their movies… some are fresh out of school, while others have already made significant marks in other arenas. But regardless of their backgrounds, they’ve all now joined the ranks with some of the greats… which among a jury of three actors, also means that they are our future employers. So while Zosia regrets missing tonight, she did ask that we give you each copies of her resume… and Josh and I would love to take a moment to tell you about our special skill sets, which include fire-eating, knot-tying and Parkour.

This choice was not easy. There were many films this year that were made with unique vision, craft and heart that we wish we could recognize. But ultimately, our decision was unanimous.

For a film that tackles a universal subject in a truly singular manner. A film that begins with loss and grief… but then transcends to take you on an exquisitely odd, sometimes hilarious, and always thought-provoking journey into the heart of our clumsy human struggle to heal and to connect. For the incredible performances of his two lead actors, and for a mastery of tone truly rare in such a young filmmaker, we are honored to present this year’s award to Shawn Snyder for his film, To Dust.”


Albert Maysles New Documentary Director AwardDava Whisenant for Bathtubs Over Broadway (USA).
Winner receives $10,000 sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “White Bowl” by John F. Simon Jr.

Jury Comment: “The winner of the Best New Documentary Director goes to a film that we chose for many reasons. The story, the specific subject, the journey into a world we never knew existed. This film also has an element every great film, doc, and story needs…heart. It’s an honor to give the award to Bathtubs over Broadway!”


Best Narrative ShortPhone Duty, directed by Lenar Kamalov (Russia).
Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella, and the art award “Learning How to Paint/Make A Wish” by Eddie Kang.

Jury Comment: “This film shows us the emotional weight inanimate objects can have, and the humanized war in a surprising and impactful way. The award for Best Narrative Short goes to Phone Duty.”

Shorts Animation AwardLate Afternoon directed by Louise Bagnall (Ireland).
Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella.

Jury Comment: “This film portrays memory in an insightful and impactful way that opened our hearts. As the animation moves from colorful blobs into meaningful shapes and finally breaks through to her realizing the person she loves the most, we realize the experience of Alzheimer’s with a poignancy that stayed with us all. The Award for Best Animated Short goes to Late Afternoon.”

Best Documentary ShortNotes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting directed by Kim A. Snyder (USA).
Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella, and the art award “Fort Apache” by David Levinthal.

Jury Comment: “This transcendent film adds a revelatory dimension to a subject that is at the epicenter of public consciousness today. We found the wholly original approach of this film allowed us to feel again about subject matter that had shattered our collective souls and left us numb. An emotional paralysis was lifted as we watched this film that allowed us to engage once again with the brutal reality that is America today. We give the Best Documentary Short to Notes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting.”

Student Visionary AwardThe Life of Esteban directed by Inès Eshun (Belgium).
Winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Nutella.

Jury Comment: “With a rare lyric intensity this film opens a window to a young boy’s difficult navigation from early childhood to young adulthood in a single parent family. We watch the sublime intensity of Esteban’s journey through a world that has given him little, and yet paradoxically allows him to achieve much. The Student Visionary Award goes to The Life of Esteban”


Storyscapes AwardHero created by Navid Khonsari, Vassiliki Khonsari, and Brooks Brown.
Winner receives $10,000, presented by AT&T, and the art award “Miracle” by Nancy Dwyer.

Jury Comment: “Texture. Beauty. Heat. Life. Hero is an extraordinary story of life in a country under siege. It uses ambitious technology, and pushes viewers right up to, but not past, what one’s senses can bear. It will help you understand where VR is going, but also, viscerally, in some ways where this world is going.”


The Nora Ephron Award: Nia DaCosta director of Little Woods (USA).
Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by CHANEL, and the art award “For Wonder Woman” by Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh.

Jury Comment: “For its sure-footed storytelling featuring an unconventional heroine who pushes past expectations of what is bravery in a woman’s life or in cinema. In watching this portrait of a woman at a crossroads in small-town America, we found ourselves wanting to see more stories from this filmmaker and more of her vision of a woman in the world. We chose writer-director Nia DaCosta’s Little Woods.


Tribeca X Award: For Every Kind of Dream series for Square. Directed by Mohammad Gorjestani for Even/Odd. .

Jury Comment: “The Square films showed an extremely deft sense of craft in telling a compelling and richly human story while maintaining a strong brand message throughout. We specifically responded to the Sister Hearts film, which elegantly told an poignant story about a marginalized community that was lifting itself up. We specifically responded to the level of intimacy captured with these women who opened up about their intensely harrowing and heartbreaking past, and whose presence and unfiltered character on camera makes us smile and shows a resilience that inspires. The role that Square plays fits seamlessly into the narrative, not lifting its head to show off, but instead lending a hand to the impressive journey these inspirational women have commanded.”

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