Jockey directed by Clint Bentley took the Audience Award – Narrative Feature and Juice Wrld directed by Tommy Oliver took the Audience Award – Documentary Feature at AFI FEST 2021. Love, Dad (Milý tati) directed by Diana Cam Van Nguyen won the Grand Jury Prize – Animation and Al-Sit directed by Suzannah Mirghani won the Grand Jury Prize – Live Action making the films eligible for the 2021 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®.
“Bringing filmmakers and movie fans together to celebrate the moving image is at the heart of AFI FEST. The excitement of all festivalgoers to be together in the theaters, once again, was electric,” said Sarah Harris, Director of Programming, AFI Festivals. “This year’s festival has truly shown everyone the power of the art form to lift our spirits when it’s needed the most.”
Winners of AFI FEST 2021 Awards
Audience Award – Narrative Feature
JOCKEY (DIR Clint Bentley)
An aging jockey hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer who has acquired what appears to be a championship horse. But the years – and injuries – have taken a toll on his body, throwing into question his ability to continue his lifelong passion.
Audience Award – Documentary Feature
JUICE WRLD (DIR Tommy Oliver)
This intimate documentary explores the life and death of the young hip hop star Juice WRLD.
Audience Award – Short Film
ONLY THE MOON STANDS STILL (明月依旧) (DIR Johnson Cheng)
Three generations of Chinese women say goodbye to their family ballroom dance studio.
Grand Jury Prize – Animation
LOVE, DAD (MILÝ TATI) (DIR Diana Cam Van Nguyen)
Jury Statement: “For its melding of form and content that makes for a deeply vulnerable and personal viewing experience, the Jury would like to award LOVE, DAD as Best Animated Short.”
Grand Jury Prize – Live Action
AL-SIT (DIR Suzannah Mirghani)
Jury Statement: “For going beyond its central story to make a densely layered and truly cinematic experience, the Jury would like to honor AL-SIT the Best Narrative Short.”
BABYBANGZ (DIR Juliana Kasumi)
Jury Statement: “The Jury would like to award BABYBANGZ with an Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Storytelling for its combination of stunning imagery, important conversations and compelling subjects.”
PLAY IT SAFE (DIR Mitch Kalisa)
Jury Statement: “For the bold formal choices made throughout the film, specifically in the final scene, the Jury would like to give an Honorable Mention for Direction to Mitch Kalisa, the director of PLAY IT SAFE.”
HER DANCE (RIKUD HASSIDI) (DIR Bar Cohen)
Jury Statement: “For a commanding performance that anchors the film, the Jury would like to give an Honorable Mention for Acting to Leeoz Levy for HER DANCE.”