2010 Amsterdam Film Festival Announces Van Gogh Awards

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"Quest for Honor," "Modern Day Slaves," "Failing Better Now," "Nous Deux Encore," and "Laguna Negra" Earn Grand Jury Awards

It is with great pleasure that AFF announce at this time the award winners of the 2010 Amsterdam Film Festival Van Gogh Awards.

This has been a truly remarkable inaugural year for the Amsterdam Film Festival. The contest received several hundred submissions representing top storytellers from over 20 countries around the world. The quality of the work that we had the honor of reviewing was simply astounding. Judging from among this exceptionally high caliber of filmmaking talent proved to be extremely difficult as there were so many unique, well-made and worthy projects. After several months of careful consideration, we present to you the very best of the 2010 competition.

The De grote Prijs van de Jury was presented to Quest For Honor directed by Mary Ann Smothers Bruni (Iraq/Kurdistan). Quest for Honor follows Runak Faranj, a former teacher and tireless activist, as she works with local lawmen, journalists, and members of the Kurdistan Regional Government (the KRG), to solve the murder of a widowed young mother, protect the victim of a safe house shooting, eradicate honor killing and redefine honor.

The Cinematic Vision Award was presented to Through the Air to Calais or The Wonderful Cruise of Blanchard's Balloon directed by Joseph Mauceri (USA). In the winter of 1785, an American and a Frenchman attempt the first crossing of the English Channel in a hydrogen balloon. Before these pioneers of aviation can write their page in history, however, they’ll need to first survive the crossing.

The Van Gogh Award was presented to Art That Moves directed by Roger Horrocks (New Zealand). This short film dramatizes the moment when sixteen year old Len Lye (later a famous artist and film-maker) has 'the best idea of his life' for a new art of movement.

The Prodigy Auteur Prize was presented to Pechatnikoff Alley, 3 directed by Yevgeniy Vaskevich and Natalia Beliauskene (Russian Federation). One man tries to document one of the last streets of old Moscow, which is about to be destroyed by urban overdevelopment, but finds himself having to face the issues of his own life and death.

The Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary was presented to Modern Day Slaves OFW: Overseas Foreign Workers directed by Ted Urnace (USA). This film follows the stories of several Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers of various socio-economic backgrounds. Stories of severe physical and psychological abuse—as well as rape and beheadings—are illustrated to outline how human rights are violated, standing as appalling consequences of human trafficking.

The Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Failing Better Now directed by Keren Atzmon (USA). A flakey writer loses her sister’s cat and falls for the aspiring rock star who joins her on the search in the East Village.

The Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Short was presented to Nous Deux Encore directed by Heather Harlow (France). Nous Deux Encore is a delightful and semi-voyeuristic glimpse into the 13 years that Maxie and Yiannis spent together until Yiannis' untimely death in 1982. This extraordinary love story reveals itself through candid and unexpected photographs taken with the self-timer of an old format camera given to Yiannis as a child.

The Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Student was presented to Laguna Negra directed by Michael Watts (United Kingdom). Laguna Negra is a film that explores the core values of a campesino community in Huancabamba (Peru), the way the fabric of this society has been threatened by large scale mining and the destructive outcome of imposing a capital intensive model of development on a society based on traditional values.

The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Documentary was presented to Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing directed by David Berez (USA). While imprisoned by her husband for fifteen years, a woman in central India invents an entirely new art form that expresses life's joy. Although Sonabai was illiterate and untrained, her artistic vision is now globally acknowledged. Her work has been the agent of significant social and economic improvement in her region. Sonabai's astonishing story confronts us with our own choices: do we allow ourselves to be victimized by our current issues or can we use our own inner resources to find creative solutions?

The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Everyday Black Man directed by Carmen Madden (USA). A small neighborhood grocer wants to do good for his community, but when he takes on a young black Muslim as a partner, he realizes that he has put his beloved neighborhood and his family in danger, and must become the man he used to be in order to save them.

The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Short was presented to Firecracker Flower directed by Frank Hall Green (USA). A black & white satire, thriller and part homage to silent and early talkie films, Firecracker Flower is the story of ‘B’ and her encounter with her stalker. A fire in her youth burned her birth certificate, leaving only the letter B. The fire also killed her parents and her home. Now at college, B doesn’t fit in. All the popular girls have stalkers: odd but harmless fellows who watch, follow and fawn over then, according to specific codes of the stalker. B, forever the oddball, doesn't...yet.

The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Student was presented to Banisko directed by Omer Zigdon (Israel). In a futuristic world, all the civilians are being evacuated. A scientist named Adam must find a male and a female to stay behind and rebuild the world's population. Three days before the end of the evacuation, Adam discovers that his own mate (Ibol) has been chosen to stay without his knowledge.

The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Music Video was presented to White Swan directed by Sil van der Woerd (Netherlands). In the depths of a dark machinery world lies Lolly Jane Blue, exhausted, soaked. As she starts to sing of escaping her situation a mesmerizing world unfolds.

The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Animation was presented to Sebastian's Voodoo directed by Joaquin Baldwin (USA). A voodoo doll must find the courage to save his friends from being pinned to death.

The Special Jury Prize, Dutch Documentary was presented to Against The Tide directed by Richard Trank (Germany/Israel/USA/UK). 'Against The Tide' examines the conflict that erupted in the American Jewish community in the late 1930's and 40's over the best means to rescue the Jews of Europe caught up Nazi Germany's reign of terror. It is the little known story of Peter Bergson (nee Hillel Kook) who stood up against the American Jewish leadership and the Roosevelt Administration in his tireless efforts to try and save the Jews of Europe.

The Special Jury Prize, Dutch Dramatic was presented to Hortum directed by Ayse Altinok (Netherlands). Hortum is a short film about self-destruction. It's an artistic celebration of being at the edge. Hortum visualizes memories of addiction and self-destruction in the form of installations and performances.

The Special Jury Prize for Originality was presented to Last Supper No. 3 directed by Veronica Velasco (Philippines). Last Supper No.3 features the comic suffering of Wilson Nanawa under an inefficient, corrupt and dawdling justice system in the Philippines, as he is faced with charges of Estafa and Serious Physical Injury for the loss of a Last Supper tapestry used as a prop for a television ad.

The Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence was presented to Claiming The Title: Gay Olympics on Trial directed by Jonathan Joiner and Robert Martin (USA). In 1982, an athletic group tries to hold a “Gay Olympics,” instigating what will ultimately become a battle at the U.S. Supreme Court and a challenge over the place of gays and lesbians in American society.

The Special Jury Prize for Acting, World Cinema was presented to Barbara Goenaga in La Buena Nueva directed by Helena Taberna (Spain). A young priest arrives in his first assignment to a small parish serving a working-class village in the first days of the Spanish Civil War. Based on a real story, the film portrays how he commits himself to stand by his parishioners and how he denounces from the pulpit and before the Catholic Hierarchy the atrocities being committed, to the extent that he will risk his own life in the name of Christ.

The Special Jury Prize for Acting was presented to Zlatko Buric in Löftet directed by Anders Osterballe (Denmark/Sweden). On his own after his twin brother's death, Milo, a 12-year old boy, becomes increasingly isolated from the world around him as he struggles to fulfill a promise made to his brother. On his journey, he makes an unlikely friend.

The Jury Prize: Dutch Short Filmmaking was presented to After The Water The Clouds directed by Carmen Rozestraten (Netherlands/Spain). A playful and poetic voyage of a young Catalan woman whose world is becoming more and more surrealistic through her encounters with mythical and unusual characters.

The Jury Prize: International Short Filmmaking was presented to En La Memoria directed by Jose L. Arjona (Spain). This is the personal journey of Damian, a man losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease, while finally receiving the job offer he has been waiting for his entire life. He will have to choose between his family and his dream.

First Place Feature Screenplay was awarded to "Resistance" by Caitlin McCarthy. In RESISTANCE, the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and the horrors of Auschwitz are seen through the eyes of one girl, forced to grow up quickly as she moves from the school yard to the concentration camp, working for the Resistance along the way.

Second Place Feature Screenplay was awarded to "A Reverence for Spiders" by Faiza Ambah. An Egyptian imam in New York struggles to build a close relationship with his daughters while raising them as conservative Muslims.

Third Place Feature Screenplay was awarded to "Bad Girl" by Randolph Splitter. Early 1950s, Santa Clara Valley, before the fruit orchards were paved over: a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a young woman who scandalizes the community by seeking to attend the prom with her girlfriend, falls in love with a mysterious stranger who claims to have killed his stepfather in a fight, decides that she’s not ready to run off with him, but has to deal with the fact that she is pregnant.

First Place Short Screenplay was awarded to "Seven Years of Winter" by Marcus Schwenzel. Pripyat, Ukraine, 1992. Seven years after the Chernobyl disaster.The city is still abandoned. Radiation still lingers in the empty buildings. Every week, Artjom, a small-time criminal from Kiev, drives to theAlienation Zone surrounding Pripyat with his little brother Andrej in search for hidden valuables in the empty buildings. The more they search, the sicker Andrej gets. But the sicker he gets, the more beautiful the zone becomes in his mind.

Second Place Short Screenplay was awarded to "Delusion" by Katherine Hill. Violet and Denny bump into each other at the coffee shop as he loudly enters her delusion, disrupting her quiet fantasy world that she has escaped to. A compelling, moving and funny love story where actions speak louder than words.

Third Place Short Screenplay was awarded to "The Conversation" by Gregory D. Goyins. God and the Devil sit on a park bench discussing their plans for Earth for next 1000 years.

AFF is also pleased to announce additional Van Gogh Award Winners listed below, arranged by competition category:

Documentary Directing Award was awarded to Passing Strange (USA)
Dramatic Directing Award was awarded to Footprints (USA)

Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary was awarded to The Scars of Mercury (Canada)
Excellence in Cinematography Award: Dramatic was awarded to La Soluzione Migliore (Italy/Romania)
Excellence in Cinematography Award: Short was awarded to Cold Turkey (Ireland)
Excellence in Cinematography Award: Student -The Absolute Truth of Thomas Schviefel (Poland)

World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary was awarded to Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story (USA)
World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic was awarded to Baram & Hamza (Jordan/USA)
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary was awarded to Chance of a Lifetime | Karearea: The Pine Falcon (New Zealand)
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic was awarded to The Taste of Relation (Canada)
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Short was awarded to Wake (USA)
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Student was awarded to Death in Charge (USA)

World Cinema: Experimental Film was awarded to Feeder (Netherlands/United Kingdom)
World Cinema: Animated Film was awarded to Leonardo (USA)
World Cinema: Music Video was awarded to Brandt Brauer Frick was awarded to Bop (Germany)
World Cinema: Student was awarded to Delaney (Spain)
World Cinema: First Time Director was awarded to Michael Swingler for Midlife (USA)
World Cinema: First Time Screenwriter was awarded to Gil McDonald for Takeo (USA)

World Cinema Documentary Film Editing Award was awarded to Frequent Flyer (USA)
World Cinema Dramatic Film Editing Award was awarded to A Moment In June (Thailand)
World Cinema Screenwriting Award, Feature Film was awarded to Fanny, Annie & Danny (USA)
World Cinema Screenwriting Award, Short Film was awarded to Just For Today (Sweden)

Best Documentary Film Editing was awarded to Race Across the Sky (USA)
Best Dramatic Film Editing was awarded to Ashley's Ashes (USA)
Best Action Film was awarded to Morenita (Mexico)
Best Avant-garde Film was awarded to Hold The Sun (USA)
Best Biography- William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (USA)
Best Children's Film was awarded to Cubes (USA)
Best Comedy was awarded to Four Roses (Australia/Belgium)
Best Coming of Age Film was awarded to Football Fables (United Kingdom)
Best Crime Film was awarded to The 100th Job (Brazil/USA)
Best Drama was awarded to Dirty Step Upstage (USA)
Best Educational Film was awarded to It is Epilepsy: The Challenges & Promises of Automated Seizure Control (USA)
Best Environmental Film was awarded to The Broken Moon (Brazil)
Best Fantasy Film was awarded to Penelopa (Australia/Croatia)
Best Horror Film was awarded to Light Bringer (Australia)
Best Human Rights Film was awarded to A Family Divided (Australia)
Best Mockumentary was awarded to Empty Shell: Meet Isaac Jones (United Kingdom)
Best Musical was awarded to Getting Over Him in 8 Songs or Less (USA)
Best Personal Narrative was awarded to Postcard To Daddy (Germany)
Best Romance was awarded to Venezzia (Venezuela)
Best Romantic Comedy was awarded to Impedimento (Brazil/Canada)
Best Best Sci-Fi Film was awarded to The Crimson Mask (USA)
Best Spiritual Film was awarded to The Greater Meaning of Water (USA)
Best Sports Film was awarded to Streetball (USA)
Best Urban Film was awarded to Urban Nutcracker: Anatomy of a Ballet (USA)

Screenplay Official Finalists
"When God Sleeps" by Daniel Elliot
"Side Effects" by Daniel Elliot
"As Fatal As Death" by L.E. Adams
"Boscutti's Don Simpson Experience" by Stefano Boscutti
"Erasure" by Michael Grebb
"The Voyeur" by John Bengel
"Wings of Stone" by Gary Natoli and Joe Montrone
"Pink Ladder" by Leonard Short
"Gottlieb" by Jake Hart and Alexander Rubens
"The Bearer of Bad News" by David Minaskanian
"Written in Blood" by R. Ian Simpson
"Below the Waist" by R. Ian Simpson

Screenplay Honorable Mentions
"Enterprising" by Michael Swiskay
"Why don't you add colours?" by Nicola Pedrozzi
"Crescent Plantation" by Cliff Zimowski
"Letter for Zorba" by Bill Thomas
"The Funny Thing About Roadkill" by Michael Hogan
"Paint by Numbers" by Liz Kerr
"Dabbawala" by Uttam Sirur
"Apostles' Creed" by K.C. Schrimpl
"Selling Off" by Harris Freedman
"The Aeronaut" by Rob Cawley
"Life & The Universe Explained" by Russell Rankin
"Passing" by Heidi W. Durrow & Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni
"End Means" by S.A. White
"Bungle in the Jungle" by Raef Eric Lawson
"Love in a Windy City" by David Brett


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