After a week of screenings, the votes were tallied to determine the winners for Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, while audiences voted for their favorite in categories of features, documentaries and shorts. Competition winners were announced at an afternoon cocktail reception at the host hotel, The Delray Marriott. The Audience Choice Awards will be announced at the closing night after-party for at Deck 84.
The Award for Best Feature Film went to The First Grader, from the UK, directed by Justin Chadwick and starring Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge and Sam Feuer. The film, which was a real crowd-pleaser at the Telluride Film Festival, is the true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford. Producer Richard Harding was on hand to accept the award.
The Award for Best Documentary Feature went to The Rescuers, directed by Michael King and produced by Joyce Mandell, The film traces the journey of Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist who teams up with Sir Martin Gilbert, the renowned Holocaust historian, to travel across 15 countries and three continents interviewing survivors and descendants of the diplomats who rescued tens of thousands of Jews from the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi death camps. While Nyombayire embarks upon this quest in an effort to uncover potential solutions for the ongoing genocide in Darfur and elsewhere, what emerges from their journey is more a testament to the ways in which the inherent good in the human spirit can trump institutional evil no matter what the circumstance. King and Mandell were on hand to accept the award.
The Award for Best Short Film went to Bedfellows, directed by Pierre Stefanos. Told in the style of an old children's fairy tale but set against the modern-day backdrop of New York City, the film follows the adventure of 20-something Bobby as he returns to the gay bar where he got his heart broken for the first time. Upon meeting and spending the night with an attractive stranger named Jonathan, Bobby dreams about what a lifetime relationship with him could be like. The dream takes us on a thirty-year journey of ups-and-downs in life and love. But what will happen when Bobby wakes up to reality in the morning? Director Stefanos was on hand to accept award.
Winners of the Best Feature and Best Documentary also received a copy of Showbiz Budgeting and Scheduling software.
The winners of the Voices of Local Films are:
Best Picture – Confessions of a Paralyzed Robot, directed by Alex Haney
Best Director – House of Heartbreak, directed by V. Alex Marquez
Best Documentary – The Garbage of Jupiter Beach, directed by Cyndi Lenz
The Audience Choice Awards for Best Feature, Documentary and Short will be announced tonight at the after-party at Deck 84.
If you didn’t get a chance to see some of the festival films, you’ll have another chance. The PBIFF presents screenings of the BEST OF THE FEST on Tuesday, March 29, Wednesday, March 30 and Thursday, March 31 at the Living Room Theaters. Tickets will ONLY be available at the theater. The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday March 29
5:45 David & Kamal
8:00 10 Mountains, 10 Years
Wednesday March 30
5:45 100 Voices: A Journey Home
8:00 Fully Loaded
Thursday March 31
8:00 The Rescuers