The Twin Cities Film Fest announced its 2018 award winners Saturday evening and awarded Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” the year’s Best Feature Film. “When Jeff Tried to Save the World,” a lighthearted drama that served as the official 2018 centerpiece, was one of the year’s most honored titles, named as a finalist in three separate categories (Best Feature Film, Indie Vision Breakthrough Performance, Indie Vision Debut Director). Star Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”) walked away with the year’s top performance award.
The festival’s top non-fiction award went to “Who Will Write Our History?,” Roberta Grossman’s harrowing account of the journalists, scholars and community leaders in the Warsaw Ghetto who risked everything to secretly document the daily atrocities committed against their Jewish neighbors. The film screened in partnership with the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival.
The 2018 Audience Awards went to Barry Andersson’s “The Lumber Baron,” a period drama about the heir to a failing lumber business and the enduring rumors of a treasure left behind by his grandfather; Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler’s “United Skates,” a documentary about the art, economics and underground subculture of American roller skating; and “small town ROBOT,” a locally-produced short film about the acclaimed robotics team at Greenbush Middle River High School and their journey to a world championship to compete against 300 other teams from around the world.
Director Mark Taylor took home the Indie Vision — Debut Director trophy, for his drama “Saving Flora,” which had its U.S. premiere at the festival last week. Starring Jenna Ortega, David Arquette and Tom Arnold, the film’s story of one girl’s unbreakable bond with an elephant, and her mission to save the kind creature, marked the highlight of this year’s TCFF Changemaker Series. Several of the leading stars were in town to celebrate the debut.
“One of this year’s unforgettable highlights was ‘Saving Flora,’” said TCFF Executive Director Jatin Setia. “The passion of that filmmaking, the broader mission behind its story, and the electricity that was on full display that night in the movie theater, between the audience and the advocates and the visiting filmmakers….that’s everything that makes a film festival special. It’s not just watching a movie — it’s being part of a transcendent experience. It changes you as a person.”
Minnesota filmmaker C.J. Renner was honored with the Indie Vision — Breakthrough Achievement award for his direction of “American Tender,” a widely praised drama about a robbery, a double-cross and one memorable first date.
“C.J. Renner exemplifies the talent, commitment and energy to be found in the Minnesota filmmaking community,” said TCFF Managing Director Bill Cooper. “And ‘American Tender’ is exactly the kind of homegrown independent project that we’re so proud to celebrate and showcase here at TCFF. C.J. always surprises us, he’s going places, and we’re so thrilled that so many smart filmgoers from across the country discovered his talent right here at the festival this year.”
The 2018 Fun Is Good Bill Murray Comedic Shorts Award went to Matt Hirst’s hilarious “12 Sips to Glory,” about one man’s epic orange soda taste test.
2018 Twin Cities Film Fest Award Winners
Best Feature Film: “Green Book,” directed by Peter Farrelly
Best Documentary: “Who Will Write Our History?” directed by Roberta Grossman
Best Short Film: “Claire Means Well,” directed by Aaron Gervich
Audience Award, Feature: “The Lumber Baron,” directed by Barry Andersson (Runner-Up: “If Beale Street Could Talk,” directed by Barry Jenkins)
Audience Award, Non-Fiction: “United Skates,” directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler (Runner-Up: “93Queen,” directed by Paula Eiselt)
Audience Award, Short Film: “small town ROBOT,” directed by Joe Brandmeier (Runner-Up: “Claire Means Well,” directed by Aaron Gervich)
Indie Vision — Breakthrough Performance: Jon Heder (“When Jeff Tried to Save the World”)
Indie Vision — Debut Director: Mark Taylor (“Saving Flora”)
Indie Vision — Breakthrough Achievement: C.J. Renner (director of “American Tender”)
Fun Is Good Bill Murray Comedic Shorts Award: “12 Sips to Glory,” directed by Matt Hirst
TCFF 2018 Changemaker Award: Rachel Mairose, founder and executive director of Secondhand Hounds