DIFF Wrap Up

After two weeks of films, “festing” and fun, the Dallas International Film Festival has called it a wrap for another outstanding year of programming and star studded galas and centerpiece screenings. The big winners were announced at the awards gala this past weekend where they walked away with over $70,000 in cash and prizes!

Two kaleidoscopic films with distinct visual flair took top honors in the Narrative & Documentary Feature competitions: Kristina Nikolova’s Bulgarian film FAITH, LOVE & WHISKEY won the narrative category and Bill and Turner Ross’s TCHOUPITOULAS for documentary. The Narrative competition jury also gave a Special Mention for Breakout Performance to Michael Rainey Jr. for LUV and a Special Mention for Acting for Kim Kold in TEDDY BEAR.

The strong lineup in this year’s Texas Competition meant the jury had a difficult decision to make, but Ya’ke Smith’s much-talked-about directorial debut WOLF was awarded the $30,000 camera package courtesy of PANAVISION. The jury also gave a Special Mention to David Zellner’s KID-THING.

Nearly two years to the day since Deepwater Horizon exploded and oil poured into the Gulf, Bryan D. Hopkins accepted the Environmental Visions Grand Jury Prize for his documentary DIRTY ENERGY, a personal look into the trials of the citizens directly affected by this disaster. With only $200 in his bank account and on food stamps, Hopkins traveled to Louisiana to highlight these ongoing personal struggles that have since been forgotten in the mainstream news cycle.

For the second year running, Lauren Embrey presented the $10,000 Silver Heart Award courtesy of the Embrey Family Foundation. Inspired by the film’s courage and the need to necessitate change, Kirby Dick’s THE INVISIBLE WAR won the award as it most represented a filmmaker’s dedication to fighting injustices and creating social change for the improvement of humanity.

Dana O’Keefe’s AARON BURR, PART 2 won the Grand Jury Prize in the Shorts Competition. A Special Mention went to Brent Hoff’s THE LOVE COMPETITION and a Special Mention for Unique Storytelling in the Student Shorts went to Afarin Eghbal’s GRANDMOTHERS. The Grand Jury Prize winner of the Student Shorts was Justin Tipping’s NANI, which also walked away with the overall Audience Award for Best Short. Reel FX presented the award for Best Animated Short to Grant Orchard’s A MORNING STROLL.

In the year that the International Spotlight focused on South Korea, it seemed especially fitting that the Audience Award for Best Narrative went to Kang Je-kyu’s epic MY WAY. Closer to home, Bess Kargman’s family-friendly FIRST POSITION won the Audience Award for Best Documentary.

The winners of the Grand Jury Prizes for all the competitions each received Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling software bundles from Entertainment Partners.

“This year’s Dallas Film Society Honors paid tribute to both the indie filmmaker and the film industry veteran,” said James Faust, artistic director of the Dallas Film Society. “From Ya’ke Smith with his directorial debut to Eric Pleskow who has scores of films under his belt, from acknowledging Gabourey Sidibe’s rising star to Laura Linney’s expansive career, we want to applaud the new visionaries alongside those who have the breadth of experience that most can only dream about. This Honors event is our way of giving back to those who have impacted and continue to impact the face of cinema. I am exceptionally proud of the winners this year.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and we’ll see you at the fest in 2013!

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