Chen's feature takes home Sterling award
“Please Vote for Me,” director Weijun Chen’s film about a third-grade class election in China’s Wuhan Province, received enough ballots from the SilverDocs jury to win the Sterling award for top feature at the AFI/Discovery Channel docufest, held in Silver Spring, Md.
Audience award went to “Souvenirs,” from directors Shahar Cohen and Halil Efrat. Pic traces the history of Cohen’s father, who fought in the Jewish Brigade during WWII.
Jury gave an honorable mention to “Enemies of Happiness,” Eva Mulvad’s portrait of Malalai Joya, the first woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament. Pic has already won prizes at Sundance and the Intl. Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
The Sterling award for short film went to Sam Green’s “Lot 63, Grave,” with special mention going to Diego Quemada-Diez’s “I Want to Be a Pilot.” Yoni Brook’s short pic “A Son’s Sacrifice” won the audience award.
“Nomadak Tx,” Raul De la Fuente’s globetrotting celebration of world music, was named top music docu.
Music was also a defining theme of the Cinematic Vision awards, which went to “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” AJ Schnack’s feature-length look at the iconic rocker, and “My Eyes,” Erland Mo’s short doc about the impact of music on the lives of two blind girls.
“The Devil Came on Horseback,” Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s examination of the genocide in Darfur, received the SilverDocs Witness award for feature with the strongest distrib strategy. Honorable mention went to Bill Haney’s expose of the global sugar trade, “The Price of Sugar.”
Michael Jacobs’ “Audience of One,” about Pentecostal minister-turned-filmmaker Richard Gazowsky, won top honors in the fest’s Beyond Belief section, devoted to films about faith and society.
“Big Rig,” Doug Pray’s tribute to American truck drivers, won the fest’s American Film Market award. Rachel Buchanan and Don Bernier’s “The Concrete Jungle” received the $10,000 Animal Content in Entertainment Grant for its exploration of the clash between humans and the natural world.