SBIFF 2017 Award Winning Films + Additional Screenings

Posted on Feb 15 by SEASONS Magazine

“My Hero Brother” screenshot. Courtesy of IMDB.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) announces its winning recipients for  2017 Award Winning Films. Awards are given out individually and the decorations culminate with the prestigious Audience Choice Award; this year, MY HERO BROTHER took the title. 

The films are screened and evaluated by jury members Richard Raymond, Joanna Kerns, Jesus Lloveras, Martin Gooch, Anthony & Arnette Zerbe, Alan Marshall, Artie Schmidt, Janet Walker, Phyllis de Picciotto, Perry Lang, Mimi deGruy and Richard Harris.

Here are the film winners for this year, along with free screening dates and times if available: 

ADL Stand Up Award: STRAWBERRY DAYS (screening for free on Sunday, Feb. 19  at 5 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Audience Choice Award: MY HERO BROTHER (screening for free on Saturday, Feb. 18  at 7:30 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Best Documentary Award: MY HERO BROTHER (screening for free on Saturday, Feb. 18  at 7:30 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Best Documentary Short Film Award: REFUGE (screening for free on Friday, Feb. 17  at 5 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Best Documentary Short Film Award: REFUGEE (screening for free on Friday, Feb. 17  at 5 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live Action Short Film: IT’S BEEN LIKE A YEAR

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film: CONFINO

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film: THE CONSTITUTION (screening for free on Friday, Feb. 17  at 7:30 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: THE GOOD CATHOLIC (screening for free on Saturday, Feb. 18  at 2 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: TAMARA (screening for free on Sunday, Feb. 19  at 11 a.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: ANGRY ANUK (screening for free on Sunday, Feb. 19  at 2 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film: SÁMI BLOOD (screening for free on Saturday, Feb. 18  at 5 p.m. at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St.)

SBIFF also gives three awards for short films. The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film goes to Cameron Fay’s IT’S BEEN LIKE A YEAR, chosen for its humorous depiction of a young man becoming increasingly distracted during a romantic rendezvous. CONFINO, directed by Nico Bonomolo, receives the Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short Film “With a combination of beautiful rendering, music and heart, it’s a poignant portrait of an artist reaching out in the dark for community.” Finally, Best Documentary Short Films were Matthew K. Firpo’s REFUGE, and REFUGEE, directed by Joyce Chen and Emily Moore. REFUGEE was chosen because of the filmmakers’ unique portrait of a West African woman that leaves her children to come to the United States to provide them with a better future. Jury members choose REFUGE for its impressive chronicle of stories from the European Refugee Crisis, and for its messages of humanity and hope. 

A shot from the film, “Confino.” Courtesy of IMDB.

The Nueva Vision Award for Spanish/Latin American Cinema goes to Elia Schneider’s TAMARA, selected by jury members for being bold and straightforward with the important and relevant issue of gender, while having electrifying filmmaking with powerful and emotional performances.

MY HERO BROTHER is awarded the Best Documentary Film Award, as well as the Audience Choice Award, sponsored by the Santa Barbara Independent. Director Yonatan Nir’s stirring documentary is chosen for its heartwarming portrayal of a group of young people with Down syndrome embarking on an arduous trek through the Himalayas. 

Paul Shoulberg’s THE GOOD CATHOLIC takes home the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. “Every once in awhile you get the privilege to watch a film that pulls you in emotionally from the opening moment, THE GOOD CATHOLIC is that movie. Economically written, flawlessly directed, cast and performed, this intimate film about a young priest’s crisis of faith after meeting a woman in confessional…” 

The Social Justice Award for Documentary Film went to ANGRY INUK, directed by Althea Arnaquq-Baril. Jury members choose the controversial film for its deep dive into the central role of seal hunting within the lives of the Inuit. The film underscores the negative impact that anti-seal hunting campaigns has forced upon Inuit people.

Jury members select THE CONSTITUTION as the recipient of the Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for Best International Film. Jury members praise the performances of the actors and applaud the film as a richly conceived and ambitious look at multiple characters that live in the same building but avoid each other because of their differences in assets, sexual habits, nationalities, and religions.

Sponsored by Santa Barbara and Tri-Counties ADL, The ADL Stand Up Award goes to Wiktor Ericsson’s STRAWBERRY DAYS. The purpose of the ADL Stand Up Award is to recognize and celebrate the impact that storytelling can have in fostering mutual understanding and respect. STRAWBERRY DAYS is chosen for its brave portrayal of the exploitation of foreign workers, and its depiction of the touching bond that forms between a 15-year-old worker and a farmer’s daughter.

The Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film is awarded to SÁMI BLOOD, directed by Amanda Kernell. The film is selected for its powerful and vivid representation of racism in the 1930s with a compelling story of a 14-year-old girl determined to leave her life behind.

All of the free, 3rd Weekend screenings take place at the Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.

—Toby Qualls

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