The Los Angeles Film Festival wrapped its 15th edition Sunday, with the Target Filmmaker Award going to Sam Fleischner & Ben Chace’s Wah Do Dem (What They Do).
The Target Documentary Award went to Juan Carlos Rulfo & Carlos Hagerman’s Those Who Remain (Los Que se Quedan).
Each award carries a whopping $50,000 cash prize.
Wah Do Dem is about a man who has to go on a Caribbean cruise alone after he’s dumped. The jury said: “”A film that could feel anecdotal but through its musical shifts and tone, and its vision of the world as a newly optimistic place, Wah Do Dem creates a strong and profound emotional narrative.”
Those Left Behind is about the impact of migration on families left behind in Mexico when loved ones go to the US. The jury said: “”With its generosity of spirit and lyrical grace that illuminates a human landscape with fresh eyes, Those Who Remain reminds us that documentaries can be both journalism and poetry.”
The Audience AWard for best narrative feature went to Cyrus Nowrasteh’s The Stoning Of Soraya M.; the Audience Award for best international feature went to Eva Norvind’s Born Without Sin (Nacido Sin); and the Audience Award for best documentary feature went to Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s Soul Power.
Other awards were outstanding performance in the narrative competition going to Shayne Topp for Dear Lemon Lima.
The first Target Dream In Color Award, for a short made by a high school student, went to Sam Rubin for Lipstick.
In other shorts prizes, the best narrative was Antonio Mendez Esparza’s Time and Again; best documentary was Anna Gaskell’s Replayground; best animation was Jeremy Clapin’s Skhizein; and the audience award went to Patrick Eklund’s Instead of Abracadabra.
Jurors across the sections included actress Rosemarie DeWitt, critic David Ansen, writer/director Anna Boden and artist/filmmaker Alex Rivera.
“One of our goals at Film Independent is to help filmmakers build an audience for their work, and the Los Angeles Film Festival does just that,” said Dawn Hudson, executive director of Film Independent, which produces the festival. “We hope recognition at the Festival will allow these filmmakers to continue to find broad audiences for their terrific films.”
The festival ran June 18-28 screening more than 200 features, shorts and music videos from 30 countries. For the first time, international films were included in the narrative and documentary competitions this year.