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Awards Announced for 20th Anniversary Sarasota Film Festival

Awards Announced for 20th Anniversary Sarasota Film Festival

| Laura Bell Adams |

The 20th Anniversary edition of the Sarasota Film Festival celebrating its Closing Night on Saturday at the Sarasota Opera House after an exciting lineup including diverse and unique films, inspiring panels, educational outreach, and more.

The 2018 festival concluded with a screening of Rory Kennedy’s new film from Discovery, ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW, followed by a conversation with Rory Kennedy and Dr. Ellen Stofan, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum. During the Closing Night, actor Steve Guttenberg and Academy Award©-nominated actress Virginia Madsen received Career Achievement Awards. Earlier in the day, the Festival hosted Nick Bollettieri and the documentary LOVE MEANS ZERO, chronicling the life of the legendary tennis coach.

During the Closing Night ceremony, the festival also announced this year’s jury and audience award winners.
I AM NOT A WITCH directed by Rungano Nyoni took home this year’s Narrative Feature Jury prize. MINDING THE GAP directed by Bing Liu was the Documentary Feature Jury Prize winner.

The festival’s Independent Visions Jury Prize, which includes a distribution deal from FACTORY 25, went to MILFORD GRAVES: FULL MANTIS directed by Jake Meginsky and Neil Young.

The Terry Porter Visionary Award presented by The Huisking Foundation went to THE RIDER directed by Chloé Zhao for its spirit of independence and experimentation.

The jury awarded a special recognition award for Breakthough Performance to Helena Howard in MADELINE’S MADELINE; a special mention for Visionary Storytelling to NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE; and a Special Jury Prize for Social Commentary to THE SENTENCE.

This year’s Animated Shorts Jury Prize winner is THE BURDEN, directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr. The jury awarded LUNCH TIME, directed by Alireza Ghasemi, best Narrative Short and the Documentary Short award winner is SAND MEN, directed by Tal Amiran.

This year’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature was HEARTS BEAT LOUD directed by Brett Haley.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary was presented to RBG, director Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

The Best In World Cinema Audience Award went to MAKTUB, directed by Oded Raz.

MR. CONNOLLY HAS ALS, directed by Dan Habib won the Audience Award for Best Short Film.


“We couldn’t be more pleased with the 20th Anniversary of the Sarasota Film Festival, which brought together groundbreaking films and important conversations for our audiences,” said President of the Sarasota Film Festival, Mark Famiglio. “Congratulations to this year’s winners, the esteemed Festival Jury and our audiences have thoroughly enjoyed your engaging and inspiring films, and we thank you for letting us showcase them here in Sarasota.”

Congratulations to the 2018 winners of The Sarasota Film Festival Awards:

Jury Awards

Narrative Feature Competition Winner
I Am Not A Witch
Director – Rungano Nyoni

Documentary Feature Competition Winner
Minding the Gap
Director – Bing Liu

Independent Vision Competition Winner
Milford Graves: Full Mantis
Director – Jake Meginsky and Neil Young

Animated Shorts Competition Winner
The Burden
Niki Lindroth von Bahr

Narrative Short Competition Winner
Lunch Time
Alireza Ghasemi

Documentary Short Competition Winner
Sand Men
Tal Amiran

Audience Awards
Best Narrative Feature
Hearts Beat Loud
Director – Brett Haley

Best Documentary Feature
Director – Betsy West and Julie Cohen

Best Short Film
Mr. Connolly Has ALS
Director – Dan Habib

Best In World Cinema
Director – Oded Raz

2018 Sarasota Film Festival Jury
Penelope Ann Miller
Roberto Bentivegna
Patrick Harrison

Tatiana Siegel
Melissa Silverstein
Mark Bailey

Independent Visions
Matt Grady
Autumn Bailey
Penny Lane

Shorts Competition
Orson Cummings
Judge Charles Williams
Del Jacobs

Held annually in Sarasota, FL, The Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering our 20th year, we’re proud to bring the best new and established independent filmmakers to our Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase our idyllic Gulf Coast community. This year the festival will take place April 13th – 22nd, 2018.

Photo courtesy Sande Caplin & Associates

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