The former was directed by Shira Geffen, the latter by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy. Prizes were announced at a luncheon on Thursday, the closing day of the festival.
Special jury mentions went to Mexico’s “Gueros” (screenwriting) and Belgium’s “Violet” (cinematography).
Aside from jury selections, the fest hands out audience awards. The documentary “Red Army” (directed by Gabe Polsky) won the World Cinema audience award; “Gueros” (in photo above, directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios) took home the New Auteurs audience prize. The American Independents audience award went to “10,000 KM” (directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet, won). The Breakthrough Audience Award was given to “Midnight Swim,” with director Sarah Adina Smith also given a $5,000 cash prize.
Among the short film prizes, Scott Cummings’ “Buffalo Juggalos” and Bernardo Britto’s “Yearbook” won for live-action and animation, respectively.
In making the announcement, AFI Fest director Jacqueline Lyanga praised the “bold, original and audacious auteur work” and said she hopes the prizes bring these films to new audiences.
“What a fantastic way to end the festival. We are thrilled our audiences responded so strongly to our films,” Lane Kneedler, the festival’s associate director of programming, added. “I am also especially thrilled that our jury gravitated towards such bold and visionary filmmakers.”
The Nov. 6-13 AFI Fest offered 75 features and 45 shorts, representing 39 countries.