26th Annual Woods Hole Film Festival Winners Announced

JAGVELD (Hunting Emma), WHAT CHILDREN DO and CITY OF JOY won top Jury Awards; CHARGED: THE EDUARDO GARCIA STORY won Best of the Fest Audience Award

The Woods Hole Film Festival, the oldest film festival on Cape Cod and the Islands, concluded its 26th year on Saturday, August 5th, with the announcement of this year’s winners at the Captain Kidd Restaurant in Woods Hole. Although the festival has historically focused on filmmakers from and films set in New England the festival has more recently expanded its international focus: all but one of the Jury Award winners this year is from or set outside the U.S.

WHAT CHILDREN DO (USA), a comedy written and directed by Dean Peterson about two estranged sisters who return to their home town to take care of their dying grandmother that features John Early (BEATRIZ AT DINNER), won the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature-Comedy. JAGVELD (Hunting Emma), a thriller directed by South African filmmaker Byron Davis about a woman who is hunted by police after she witnesses a murder they commit had its international premiere at the festival where it won the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature-Drama. Madeleine Gavin’s CITY OF JOY (USA), about the women’s leadership center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo co-founded by radical feminist Eve Ensler (THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES), won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature. CHARGED: THE EDUARDO GARCIA STORY (Mexico), a documentary feature directed by Phillip Baribeau about the eponymous chef and adventurer who slowly regained his life after being shocked by 2400 volts of electricity in a freak accident, won the Best of the Fest Audience Award.

WHFF Drone Trailer from John Gamache on Vimeo.

“We received more than 1000 submissions—from everywhere from Mashpee to Maine and South Africa to Sri Lanka—from which our programming committee selected 52 narrative and documentary features and 81 narrative, documentary, and animated shorts,” said Founder and Executive Director Judy Laster. “Consistent with our mission to support the careers of emerging independent filmmakers, more than 100 filmmakers attended the Festival, the majority of which were making their directorial debuts, such as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK actress Karen Allen,” she added.

The “Survival Strategies for Independent Filmmakers” panel discussion moderated by Women in Film and Video/New England President Alecia Orsini that featured (l to r): actress and Berkshires resident Karen Allen (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK), who made her directorial debut with the short film A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD., based on a short story by Carson McCullers (whose 100th birthday would have been this year), Boston born actress Catherine Eaton who made her directorial debut with the feature length narrative film THE SOUNDING, shot on Monhegan Island in Maine; and Boston-based actress and producer Elika Portnoy, who made her directorial debut with the short film THE 6TH AMENDMENT, about a reimagining of the Boston Marathon bomber jury. Documentary filmmaker Erica Frankl, whose documentary KING GEORGES was also shown as a special screening, also participated in the panel. Photo courtesy of WHFF.

Additional Jury Award winners include: Best Narrative Short-Drama: PROMISE by Tian Xie (China); Best Narrative Short-Comedy: RHONNA AND DONNA by Daina O. Pusic (UK); Best Documentary Short: PATAGONIA AXUL: THE INTERCONNECTION OF LIFE by Daniel Casado (Chile); Best Animation Short: A LITTLE GREY by Simon Hewitt (Mexico).

Additional Audience Award winners include: Best Feature Drama: BLUR CIRCLE by Christopher J. Hansen (USA); Best Feature Comedy: QUAKER OATHS by Louisiana Kreutz (USA); Best Feature Documentary: DATELINE SAIGON by Thomas D. Herman (USA); Best Short Drama: GAME by Jennie Donohue (USA); Best Short Comedy: THE FINAL SHOW by Dana Nachman, starring Marion Ross and Nancy Dussault (USA) Best Short Documentary: BLIND SHSHI by Eric Heimbold (USA); Best Short Animation: STARS by Han Zhang (USA);

Friends Susanna Styron (the late author William Styron’s daughter) and Karen Allen spoke after the screenings of their respective short narrative films: HOUSE OF TEETH and A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD. Photo courtesy of WHFF.

Jury members included: Feature Narratives: Future Films USA Vice President Ricky Margolis; Golden Child Ventures Producer and Attorney Sandy Missakian; and Circus Road Films Founder Glen Reynolds. Feature Documentaries: Principle Pictures founder, and award-winning director and producer Beth Murphy; documentary filmmaker, media studies lecturer, and founder of the UMASS Boston Film Series Chico Colvard; producer, director and Assistant Teaching Professor at Northeastern University David Tames; and writer and producer Madison O’Leary. Short Narratives & Animation: documentary filmmaker, writer, and development consultant Megan Sanchez Warner (LOVE AND HIP HOP), House Lights Media co-founder Sandy Moore; producer and Bunker Hill Community College Adjunct Professor Howard Phillips; and Best Dog Ever Films producer and director Liz Lerner. Short Documentaries: Independent Film and TV Producer Jill Lutz; Producer and Documentary Filmmaker Jay Spain; and W2 President of International Sales and Distribution Julie Sultan.

For more information about the festival and awards, visit www.woodsholefilmfestival.org, www.facebook.com/WoodsHoleFilmFestival, @WoodsHoleFF (#WHFF2017), or call 508 495-3456.

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