The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced the winners of the 2016 Festival, which took place September 15 to 18 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine. Under its new banner, the Points North Institute, the organization has expanded artist programs such as the Shortform Editing Residency, Virtual Reality Crash Course at Maine Media Workshops and the inaugural Storyforms, an exhibition of virtual reality and immersive nonfiction storytelling. Attendance of filmmakers, industry and passholders was at a record high for the 2016 Festival.
On Sunday, September 18, CIFF hosted their annual Awards Ceremony, presenting four awards for documentary features and one for a documentary short, in addition to its Points North Pitch Award and CMG Action Grant.
For the second year, Conservation Media Group partnered with the Points North Institute to select projects from filmmakers and organizations alike that use video to create measurable action in ocean conservation or sustainable energy. 2016 CMG Action Grant finalists included: Alex Finn’s WHALE HERITAGE SITES, Jeff Talbot’s PROTECT THE GREAT BEAR SEA and Doug Woodring’s GLOBAL ALERT – FLOATING TRASH. This year’s $10,000 CMG Action Grant cash prize was awarded to Alex Finn’s WHALE HERITAGE SITES.
The 2016 class of Points North Fellows included Sofie Benoot, Isabelle Tollenaere and Liesbeth De Ceulaer’s PRINTED CIRCUIT, Bridget Besaw and Ben Severance’s THE MOUNTAIN AND THE MAGIC CITY, Michael Lei’s A TASTE OF SKY, Luke Lorentzen’s MIDNIGHT FAMILY, Assia Boundaoui’s THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED and Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s RESCUE BREATH. Each Fellow received a $2,000 cash grant sponsored by the Chicago Media Project and an individual donor. This year’s Points North Pitch Award, which included 60 hours of free sound mix or color correction services from Boston-based Modulus Studios worth approximately $10,000, went to Assia Boundaoui’s THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED.
Outside of these grants and awards presented to projects in development, the Festival announced five awards for feature and short films that screened during the 2016 festival. This past January, The Camden Cartel Award for Best Short went to Jarrod Welling-Cann and Erick Stoll’s GOOD WHITE PEOPLE, with Special Jury mention going to Melissa Langer’s MY ALEPPO. This past January, CIFF became an Academy-qualifying festival for short films which means the award winning film will be eligible to enter the Documentary Short Subject competition for the Academy.
For the second year, CIFF collaborated with long-time partner, Documentary Educational Resources, to present the John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media. The Jury of Alice Apley, Alijah Case, Ilisa Barbash, Ernst Karel and Irina Leimbacher awarded this year’s John Marshall Award to Alexander Kuznetsov’s LIBERATION: THE USER’S GUIDE.
Jurors Christopher Allen (Union Docs), Leah Giblin (Cinereach) and Samara Grace Chadwick (RIDM) awarded the 2016 Emerging Cinematic Vision Award to Laura Viezzoli’s LA NATURA DELLE COSE (THE NATURE OF THINGS), with Special Jury Mention going to Brett Story’s THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES. The Jury stated the Viezzoli’s film was chosen “for a generous attempt to communicate the outlines of something that actually is unrepresentable, for the courage to approach the body’s ultimate fragility, while reminding us of the expansive strength of existence– the mind and the soul–for employing a cinematic form that deepens our understanding of a remarkable protagonist and an unfathomable, yet always possible fate.”
This year’s jury of Amy Hobby (Tribeca Film Institute), Chico Colvard (Filmmaker) and Lisa Kleiner Chanoff (Catapult Film Fund) awarded the 2016 Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature to Kirsten Johnson’s CAMERAPERSON, with Special Jury Mention going to Estephan Wagner and Moritz Siebert’s THOSE WHO JUMP.
The 2016 Camden International Film Festival Audience Award sponsored by Ann and Dick Costello went to Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s SONITA.
Camden International Film Festival 2017 dates will be announced later this Fall and submissions will open in January 2017.