The Camden International Film Festival announced the award winning films from its tenth edition, which marked the end of a four-day weekend that included the screening of over 70 films from dozens of countries, as well as the 6th Points North Documentary Forum. The festival hosted over 150 filmmakers and industry leaders, with filmmakers in attendance for almost every public screening and an increased number of passes sold, despite the beautiful autumnal Maine weather.
This year’s Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature went to CIFF’s Opening Night film VIRUNGA directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, who attended the festival to present his film and went on to accept the award via Skype. The Jury, consisting of Susan Margolin (President, Docurama), Banker White (Filmmaker, THE GENIUS OF MARIAN) and Cecily Pingree (Filmmaker, BETTING THE FARM) awarded their Special Jury Mention to J.P. Sniadecki’s THE IRON MINISTRY which had its US Premiere at CIFF and continues on to play the New York Film Festival later this week.
This year’s Emerging Cinematic Vision Award sponsored by Vimeo went to APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT directed by Amanda Rose Wilder. Wilder, along with producer Caitlin Mae Burke and subject Alex Khost were in attendance to accept the award. The Jury, consisting of Gabriele Caroti (Director, BAMCinematek), Lyda Kuth (Executive Director, LEF Foundation) and Sam Morrill (Creative Relations Lead, Vimeo) awarded the Special Jury Mention to Jean-Francois Caissy’s GUIDELINES.
In an unprecedented turn of events, Ann and Dick Costello, the sponsors of the Camden International Film Festival Audience Award took the stage to announce an increase from a $1,000 to a $2,500 cash reward for the recipient, in honor of the vibrancy of the emerging filmmakers they took in over the course of the weekend. Maine-made WILD HOME directed by Jack Schurman and co-directed by Robert Schurman received not only a standing ovation at their World Premiere screening but also received the 2014 Audience Award and increased cash prize. Filmmakers were in attendance to accept this award.
In CIFF’s continued commitment to furthering the short form of documentaries, they announced the award recipients from two additional partnerships. The first was the Camden Cartel Award for Best Short sponsored by the Non-Fiction Cartel. Honorable Mention went to Luke Lorentzen’s SANTA CRUZ DEL ISLOTE and the Camden Cartel Award was given to Ciaran Cassidy’s THE LAST DAYS OF PETER BERGMANN.
The second was a new partnership with Al Jazeera’s AJ+ channel who held their first ever AJ+ Pitch at CIFF, a Live Pitch offering five filmmakers the chance to pitch their short documentary concepts and works-in-progress to a panel of filmmakers and industry leaders for up to $10,000 cash and a commission from the AJ+ channel. The Jury included AJ+’s Jeff Seelbach, Tribeca Film Institute’s Ryan Harrington and filmmakers Margaret Brown and Rebecca Richman Cohen.
Finalists included Jillian Schlesinger (EMOTIONAL ROBOT), Sierra Pettengill (HALL OF THE EVENING STAR), Ben Kalina (PLAN C FOR CIVILIZATION), Jayisha Patel (POWER GIRLS) and Jon Bougher (THAILAND’S FLOATING CITIES). AJ+ commissioned three of these projects, awarding up to $10,000 each to Schlesinger’s EMOTIONAL ROBOT, Pettengill’s HALL OF THE EVENING STAR and Patel’s POWER GIRLS.
Last but not least, CIFF announced the winner of their expanded Points North Fellowship, with a day of training at Maine Media Workshop prior to the festival and the Pitch event to a panel of funders, broadcasters, on Saturday, September 27 at the Camden Opera House. 2014 documentary works-in-progress included Tony Gerber’s AMERICAN WARLORD, Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip’s DAWNLAND, Amy Benson, Ramyata Limbu and Scott Squire’s THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, Pacho Velez’s THE REAGAN YEARS, Cassidy Friedman’s SOLEDAD, and Elisa Haradon and Gabriel Miller’s SWEETHEART DEAL. The 2014 Points North Pitch Award and Modulus Funishing Fund was granted to THE REAGAN YEARS, with director Pacho Velez and producer Sierra Pettengill receiving $1,000 cash prize from Documentary Educational Resources, three consultations with the Tribeca Film Institute and a post-production package from Modulus Studios worth approximately $10,000.