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HAINGOSOA directed by Edouard Joubeaud
HAINGOSOA directed by Edouard Joubeaud

Edouard Joubeaud’s Haingosoa was named Best Narrative Feature, with George King’s Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: Stories from the Life of Lonnie Holley taking the award for Best Documentary Feature at the virtual edition of the 2020 Harlem International Film Festival (Hi). Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadir Er’s Omar and Us was cited as Best World Film (Narrative) and Cam Cowan’s Opeka took the prize for Best World Documentary.

Harlem International Film Festival Program Director Nasri Zacharia said, “Our 15th edition introduced people throughout the state of New York to the unique hybrid of global cinema and local films that we have built a reputation celebrating for a decade and a half now. Harlem has long been a center, magnet, and inspiration for the arts, and while we look forward to returning to the theater next year, we enjoyed opening up all of our films, especially these award winners – virtually to the whole of New York state.”

Regarding the Best Narrative Film Award winner, Haingosoa, juror Richard Peña, described the film as “A real discovery: not only a beautiful look at the sights and sounds of Madagascar, but a powerful look at a woman not merely confronting her problems, but managing to overcome them. Full of unpredictable and beautiful moments.”

King’s Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: Stories from the Life of Lonnie Holley elicited effusive praise from Jury Chairman James McDaniel, who stated, “When we think of the masters of visual art, we are hardwired to think Picasso, Warhol or Pollock. Perhaps justifiably so, but how many mediums were these artists accomplished in? One? Two? Possibly three? The fascinating thing about Lonnie Holley, is that his mediums know no boundaries. Wood, stone, paint, found objects, metal and music. And yet we refer to this artist as naive, outsider and folksy. This film depicts an artist in the truest sense…free of self-promotion and ego. He is the art, and it is him. Combine that with an origin story that begins with Mr. Holley being sold for a cheap bottle of whiskey as a child; the story takes on Horatio Algerian proportions. The filmmaker too, indulges in artist flourishes through the use of shadow puppets and storyboards to elucidate Mr. Halley’s journey, which makes for a fascinating and inspirational documentary.”

Additional film and filmmaker awards went to; Bahati Best’s The PATTERSON; Another Bronx Tale, which won the Audience Award;Charlie Buhler’s Before the Fire, which won Best Production; Haonan Wang’s Bubble (Best Experimental Film); Farnoosh Abedi’s Malakout (Best Animation); Petra Richterova and Jennifer Galvin On My Mind (Best Music Video), Elizabeth Charles’ Before We Wrap (Best Webisode); and Chuck Cummings’ ReConstruct: Five Confederates and a Tennis Playe (Best Virtual Reality).

Leading the individual awards, Lanie Zipoy won The Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker for her work on The Subject, and Charles Mudede won Best Narrative Director for Thin Skin, while Karen Akins won Best Documentary Director for El Susto. Acting awards were received by Ruby Ruiz (Best Actress) for ISKA, and Khalid Ahmed (Best Actor) for WAITING.

The Harlem International Film Festival’s commitment to putting the work of local filmmakers on a pedestal continued with a lineup that yielded wins for; Sarah Pirozek’s #LIKE (New York Vision Award); Washington Kirk’s Frederick Douglass Boulevard aka Food & Drink Boulevard aka F.D.B. (Harlem Spotlight Award); and Jessica Colquhoun’s Sundays at the Triple Nickel (Uptown Award).

Awards for Short Films went to; Dikega Hadnot‘s Little Brother for Best Short Film – Narrative; Yolonda Johnson-Young’s Finding Elijah for Best Short Film – Documentary; Stelios Koupetoria’s W for Best Short Short; and Partho Gupte’s Shine & Shade for Best Youth Short Film.

Hi screenwriting competition winners included; Charles Murray’s “The Ambassador of Love” winning Best Feature Screenplay and Rajan Gill’s “Channel Bibi” winning Best Short Screenplay.

2020 HARLEM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS

FILM AWARDS

Best Narrative Film
HAINGOSOA
Director: Edouard Joubeaud

Best Documentary
THUMBS UP FOR MOTHER UNIVERSE: STORIES FROM THE LIFE OF LONNIE HOLLEY
Director: George King

Best World Film
OMAR AND US
Directors: Maryna Er Gorbach, Mehmet Bahadir Er

Best World Documentary
OPEKA
Director: Cam Cowan

Audience Award
THE PATTERSON: ANOTHER BRONX TALE
Director: Bahati Best

Best Production
BEFORE THE FIRE
Director: Charlie Buhler

Best Experimental Film
BUBBLE
Director: Haonan Wang

Best Animation
MALAKOUT
Director: Farnoosh Abedi

Best Music Video
ON MY MIND
Directors: Petra Richterova, Jennifer Galvin

Best Webisode
BEFORE WE WRAP
Director: Elizabeth Charles

Best VR (Virtual Reality)
RECONSTRUCT: FIVE CONFEDERATES AND A TENNIS PLAYER
Director: Chuck Cummings

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker
Lanie Zipoy (THE SUBJECT)

Best Narrative Director
Charles Mudede (THIN SKIN)

Best Documentary Director
Karen Akins (EL SUSTO)

Best Actress
Ruby Ruiz (ISKA)

Best Actor
Khalid Ahmed (WAITING)

HARLEM AND NEW YORK SHOWCASE AWARDS

New York Vision Award
#LIKE
Director: Sarah Pirozek

Harlem Spotlight
FREDERICK DOUGLASS BOULEVARD AKA FOOD & DRINK BOULEVARD AKA F.D.B.
Director: Washington Kirk

Uptown Award
SUNDAYS AT THE TRIPLE NICKEL
Director: Jessica Colquhoun

SHORT FILM AWARDS

Best Short Narrative
LITTLE BROTHER
Director: Dikega Hadnot

Best Short Documentary
FINDING ELIJAH
Director: Yolonda Johnson-Young

Best Short Short
W
Director: Stelios Koupetoris

Best Youth Short
SHINE & SHADE
Director: Partho Gupte

Hi SCREENPLAY COMPETITION

Best Feature Screenplay
“The Ambassador of Love”
Writer: Charles Murray

Best Short Screenplay
“Channel Bibi”
Writer: Rajan Gill

Feature Screenplay Finalists
“Black Jesus”
Writer: Lenny Pappano

“Cairene Dreams“
Writers: Andrew Abdou, Max Gray, Michael Petzinger

“Jazzland”
Writer: Charles Leipart

“Please Forgive Me”
Writer: Lonnie Hughes

“Taxi Lady”
Writer: Laurie Kraus

Short Screenplay Finalists
“People in A Box”
Writer: M.R. Fitzgerald

“Writer’s Block A Love Story”
Writer: James Gillard

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