Entertainment

19th annual Sarasota Film Festival winners announced

Sarasota Film Festival president Mark Famiglio and director of programming Michael Dunaway pose on the red carpet outside the theater at Van Wezel on opening night. 
 TIFFANY TOMPKINS/Bradenton Herald
Sarasota Film Festival president Mark Famiglio and director of programming Michael Dunaway pose on the red carpet outside the theater at Van Wezel on opening night. TIFFANY TOMPKINS/Bradenton Herald ttompkins@bradenton.com

SARASOTA -- The 2016 Sarasota Film Festival announced this year's jury and audience award winners Saturday at a ceremony at the historic Sarasota Opera House.

"We are thrilled with the success of SFF this year," said President Mark Famiglio of the Sarasota Film Festival.

The 19th annual Sarasota Film Festival screened more than 180 films, including features, documentaries, shorts, and child friendly picks.

"Men & Chicken," directed by Anders Thomas Jensen, took home the narrative feature jury prize.

"Cameraperson," directed by Kristen Johnson was the documentary jury prize winner.

Three special jury prizes were awarded:

"Neither Heaven Nor Earth," directed by Clément Cogitore, in the narrative category for the haunting and unique depiction of war;

A breakout performance award went to Shani Klein in "Mountain."

"Unprecedented Look at Politics in Crisis," by co-directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg won best documentary feature.

The festival's independent visions award, which includes a distribution deal from Factory 25, went to "MA" directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall.

The jury noted two special outstanding performance awards: Frank Mosley from "Some Beast," and Dylan Gelula in "First Girl I Love."

The jury has also awarded a "Clarity of Vision" Award to Claire Carré and Charles Spano for "Embers."

This year's animated shorts jury winner is "The Itching" directed by Dianne Bellino.

The jury awarded "Killer," directed by Matt Kazman, best narrative short.

Documentary short award winner is "My Aleppo" by director Melissa Langer.

The jury also gave special mentions to "In Deep Waters," directed by Sara Van Den Boom, and "Pink Boy" directed by Eric Rocky.

This year, for the first time in the audience award category, the festival chose two finalists along with the winner. The winners and finalists will be offered a distribution deal by TV4 Entertainment, an on-demand television network and production company that distributes films through multi-platforms including Hulu, Amazon and AOL.

The audience award for best narrative feature was "Midnight Special," directed by Jeff Nichols. Finalists were "First Girl I Loved," with director Kerem Sanga, and "The Seeker," with director Jeff Johnson.

The audience award for best documentary went to "Miss Sharon Jones!" under director Barbara Kopple. Finalists were "Unlocking the Cage," with co-directors D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, and "The Witness," under director James Solomon.

The Best In World Cinema Audience Award went to, "Sonita," director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami. Finalists were "Mountain," director Yaelle Kayam, and "Between Sea and Land," director Carlos del Castillo.

"The Gnomist," directed by Sharon Liese won the audience award for best short film. Finalists were "On Beauty," director Joanna Rudnick, and "The Art of Richard Thompson," directed Bob Burnett.

The first Best Florida Film Audience Award went to "Monty Comes Back," directed by Thomas John Nudi. Finalists were "Colby," directors Jake Fuller and Alex Markman, and "The Guys Next Door," directed by Amy Gellar.

This year's Juice award, which is part of a direct action program for rewarding, mentoring and building a community for women directors, is presented to "Embers," directed by Claire Carré.

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