Traverse City, MI — The Traverse City Film Festival announced the Jury and special awards of the 2012 festival at the Filmmaker Party on August 4, 2012.
“Each year the Traverse City Film Festival brings some of the world’s greatest films and filmmakers to join our audiences in a six-day celebration of cinema, and this year was bigger and better than ever,” said TCFF Founder and President Michael Moore. “Our awards decisions this year were incredibly difficult given the level of talent across the board from filmmakers who have shared their works with us — I commend our juries for selecting some of the bravest films we showed this year.”
The 2012 Traverse City Film Festival Awards presented this evening were:
“5 Broken Cameras” | Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
The Kubrick Prize
“The Story of Film: An Odyssey” | Mark Cousins
Special Founders Prize
“Margaret” | Kenneth Lonergan
WORLD JURY STATEMENT
Best Foreign Film
“The World Before Her” | Nisha Pahuja
The World Jury Grand Prize is given to a film that deftly portrays the search for identity by women who live in a culture that is constantly suppressing them. The plight of women in Indian society is hardly unique in that women are treated as second class citizens or worse in many countries around the world. The women portrayed in this film are yearning to find a path to some kind of self-determination, but their choices are horrifying to the western eye, further underling the limited choices they have available to them. The filmmaker had amazing access to the subjects, clearly earning their trust and getting them to open up to her and therefore to us. The result is an intimacy that forces us to pay attention, no matter how shocking the images.
Special Jury Prize – Foreign Film
“The Flat” | Arnon Goldfinger
The jury has voted to give a special jury prize to a film that revisits the holocaust in a simple, intimate family story. Structured as a mystery with unexpected twists and turns, this sophisticated documentary makes us ponder the complexity of human relationships and the desire for closure, and does so with honesty and an ambivalence that avoids easy answers.
US FILM JURY STATEMENT
Best American Film
“Bidder 70″ | Beth and George Gage
“Bidder 70”, a well-made and affecting documentary about one man’s decision to side track imprudent environmental deeds by the US Government, is the Jury’s choice for Best US Film at the 8th Traverse City Film Festival. “Bidder 70” is about this man’s political action and the movement that it grew. The main subject of the film, Tim DeChristopher, made this statement as he faced possible jail time for his environmental activism; “At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks, …[civil disobedience] is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow.” In an excellent field of non-fiction (documentary) and feature length fiction films, “Bidder 70” distinguished itself as a beautifully told story of a hero’s journey filled with passion and sacrifice that tugs at the head and heart to the final scene.
Special Jury Prize – American Film
“Detropia” | Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
“Detropia” is awarded the Special Jury Prize for applying high aesthetic standards of cinema craft in service to its socially relevant and insightful subject matter. “Detropia” is a cinematic “Howl,” a beautiful poem-like documentary that tells a troubling tale of the desperate condition of Michigan’s First City. But hope lives in the city and it is communicated in the beauty of the cinematography, the use of music and by capturing the grit and creativity of Detroit’s people. “Detropia” reflects the tenacious spirit of this once great city; the city that fostered the automobile industry, served as the “Arsenal of Democracy,” created the Motown sound, generated the most important technology and business innovations of early 20th century and, most importantly, invented and established a viable middle class. “Detropia” for high artistic achievement is the Special Jury Prize for US Films at the 8th Traverse City Film Festival.
1ST TIME DIRECTORS JURY STATEMENT
Best Film by a First Time Director
“Sexy Baby” | Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus
In a talent-packed field of nine 1st Time Directors, Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer take the prize with “Sexy Baby.” Great storytelling and great casting of the three featured women makes “Sexy Baby” a must-see, critical conversation starter about the hyper-sexualization of women in American culture. Gradus and Bauer started this critical conversation with TCFF audience members, who are still buzzing about this important and often scary film.
Special Jury Prize – First Time Director
“Missed Connections” | Eric Kissack
At the annual TCFF Humor Panels at the City Opera House, the message is always: comedy is hard. However, in the hands or 1st Time Director Eric Kissack, comedy is easy — or at least it looks easy. Kissack’s “Missed Connections” is a rom-com with heart, featuring a fresh, tight ensemble cast. To make his comedy about friends and connections, Kissack used his own friends and connections. And he pulled it off on a shoe string budget, proving once again, on screen and off, that’s what friends are for.
SHORT FILM JURY STATEMENT
Best Short Film
“43,000 Feet” | Campbell Hooper
Exquisite visuals and style, an inventive script, and unpredictable narrative structure make this film an entertaining and evocative rumination on time, fate, life and death.
Special Jury Prize – Short Films
“Asad” | Bryan Buckley
A taut script, an ebullient spirit, and amazing performances from its non-actor cast make this a touching coming-of-age narrative.
Special Jury Mention – Short Films
“Grandmothers (Abuelas)” | Afarin Eghbal
In its integration of creative and inventive technique and inspirational content, this short documentary film embodies the spirit of the Traverse City film festival in its “enrichment of the human spirit and the art of filmmaking.”
Special Jury Mention – Short Films
“CatCam” | Seth Keal
Spot-on structural choices, witty visuals, and “cats-eye view” of the world make this an engrossing and heartwarming short.
Special Jury Mention – Funniest Short Film
“Zoltan: The Hungarian Gangster of Love” | Justin Reardon
With a black and white cinematic style that highlights its quirky “Felliniesque” cast of characters, this short film is highly original, utterly unpredictable, and laugh-out-loud funny.
Additional Jury Mention – Short Films
The shorts jurors want to recognize and applaud the activist spirit, the spirit of citizen journalism, and the collective spirit of ALL four of the inspired occupy shorts.
“#whilewewatch” – Kevin Bresslin
“Gravity Hill Newsreels”- Jem Cohen
“Month One” – Joanna Arnow, Suki Hawley, Michael Galinsky
“My Occupy” – Sandi Bachom