Randi Emerman, PBIFF Director, commented, “We enjoyed some tremendous audiences this year, which is proof positive that our community is starved for some great independent films. But at the center of our success this year were the filmmakers, who were enthusiastic, engaging and passionate!
The jury for the 14th PBIFF consisted of:
Academy Award-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand & Fog, 24) and Debbie Frank, COO of the Frank Theatres, who judged the Feature Films;
Director Aaron Wells (whose film Rock and A Hard Place screened at last year’s fest) and writer/director Tas Salini, Film Professor, Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, who judged Documentary Films; and Emmanuel Itier, film producer, who judged the Short Films.
The jury was particularly appreciative of the effort each filmmaker put into their projects and felt they should be commended for the creative energy that went into each film! The winning films were:
The Award for Best Feature Film went to two films:
directed by Anthony Fabian and starring Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill and Alice Krige, based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era. Commented Feature Film Jurors Shohreh Aghdashloo and Debbie Frank, “This is a hopeful and powerful story that is still relevant after 50 years, with race issues, religion issues…all the same universal struggle to understand we are all human, despite our differences.”
directed by Uberto Pasolini, which was shot in Italy, Germany and Sri Lanka. Living on the margins of society, under impossible pressures, a group of desperate slum dwellers find an invitation to a handball tournament in Bavaria.
Said our jurors, “The story of these loveable losers who transcend their humble origins to make a whole new life, starts on a serious note about believing in one’s self and makes you laugh along the way.”
The Award for Best Director of a Feature Film went to Charles Martin Smith for his charming film, The Stone of Destiny. Said Aghdashloo and Frank, “Charles took an ordinary story and made it a human experience. None of us are from Scotland but we certainly did connect with it for the fact that everybody struggles to have their own identity.”
The Award for Best Documentary Feature went to The Legacy, directed by Andrés Faucher, which made its World Premiere. Commented juror Tas Salini, “The Legacy is a celebration of life, hope and passion for music. It was beautifully shot and skillfully edited.” Aaron Wells added, “It’s a well-told story and intertwining Ludwig & David Arben’s stories, each at opposite ends of their careers, made it much more than documentary about a bunch of kids and their love for music. It’s one of those films where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
The Award for Best Short Film went to Gone Fishing directed by Chris Jones. Gone Fishing is a tale full of humanity and love; words that are so commonly forgotten in these days and times of struggles. This is truly a film about fishing for your dreams and how the ones you love are the ones who make you shine. After watching Gone Fishing you really want to say to that special one: "I love you".