‘The Dark Horse,’ ‘Me & Earl & the Dying Girl’ Among Seattle International Film Fest Winners

The Dark Horse Toronto Film Festival

The Seattle International Film Festival announced the audience and competition winners of its 2015 iteration on Sunday.

In the audience awards, “The Dark Horse” won best film and best actor for Cliff Curtis; Alfonso Gomez-Rejon won best director for “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”; “Romeo Is Bleeding” won for documentary and Nina Hoss was top actress for “Phoenix.”

“Liza, the Fox-Fairy,” “The Great Alone’ and “Chatty Catties” took home the grand jury prize awards for new director, documentary and new American film, respectively.

“Our 41st festival was another fantastic celebration of storytelling in all its forms,” said SIFF’s artistic director Carl Spence in a statement. “We presented everything from the storied cinematic past (archival screenings celebrating Martin Scorsese’s the Film Foundation and live read of the late Stewart Stern’s ‘Rebel Without a Cause’), to the iconic (Kevin Bacon!), to the independent (Jason Schwartzman and his new comedy ‘7 Chinese Brothers’). With a record 92 countries represented this year and sold-out shows every night, this year’s festival was bigger than ever, but it also fittingly included a proper sendoff of an iconic moviehouse, the Harvard Exit.”

“This year’s festival was one big celebration after another: There was the launch of our new Culinary Cinema program and its ‘Dinner and a Movie’ events, the re-creation of Studio 54, which took many of us way, way back, and the chance to see Sir Mix-A-Lot on stage at Neumos at the after-party for ‘The Glamour & the Squalor,'” added SIFF’s managing director Mary Bacarella.

Winners of the juried competition won $2,500 in cash. The New American Cinema competition winner was also awarded the Fipresci prize.

The 25-day festival started May 14 and had 450 films representing 92 countries, including 49 world premieres, 52 North American premieres, 18 U.S. premieres and 720 fest screenings and events. See the winners list below.

SIFF 2015 GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AUDIENCE AWARDS

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST FILM
The Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson (New Zealand 2014)
First runner-up: Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter (USA 2015)
Second runner-up: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (USA 2015)
Third runner-up: Shaun the Sheep, directed by Richard Starzak, Mark Burton (UK 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Good Ol’ Boy, directed by Frank Lotito (USA 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY
Romeo is Bleeding, directed by Jason Zeldes (USA 2015)
First runner-up: Paper Tigers, directed by James Redford (USA 2015)
Second runner-up: The Glamour & The Squalor, directed by Marq Evans (USA 2015)
Third runner-up: The Great Alone, directed by Greg Kohs (USA 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (USA 2015)
First runner-up: George Ovashvili, Corn Island (Georgia 2014)
Second runner-up: Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Netherlands 2015)
Third runner-up: Susanne Bier, A Second Chance (Denmark 2014)
Fourth runner-up: Ross Partridge, Lamb (USA 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTOR
Cliff Curtis, The Dark Horse (New Zealand 2014)
First runner-up: Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (UK 2015)
Second runner-up: Jason Segel, End of the Tour (USA 2014)
Third runner-up: Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon, Henri Henri (Canada (Québec) 2014)
Fourth runner-up: Jacir Eid, Theeb (Jordan 2014)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTRESS
Nina Hoss, Phoenix (Germany 2014)
First runner-up: Kalki Koechlin, Margarita, with a Straw (India 2014)
Second runner-up: Rebecka Josephson, My Skinny Sister (Sweden 2015)
Third runner-up: Regina Case, The Second Mother (Brazil 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Ghita Nørby, Key House Mirror (Denmark 2015)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST SHORT FILM
Even the Walls, directed by Sarah Kuck, Saman Maydáni (USA 2015)
First runner-up: Submarine Sandwich, directed by PES (USA 2014)
Second runner-up: Stealth, directed by Bennett Lasseter (USA 2014)
Third runner-up: Personal Development, directed by Tom Sullivan (Ireland 2015)
Fourth runner-up: Bihttoš, directed by Elie-Máijá Tailfeathers (Canada 2014)

LENA SHARPE AWARD FOR PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)

SIFF 2015 COMPETITION AWARDS

SIFF 2015 BEST NEW DIRECTOR

GRAND JURY PRIZE

Liza, the Fox-Fairy (Hungary 2015), directed by Károly Ujj-Mészáros
JURY STATEMENT: For its lively, inventive visual wit and offbeat look at romantic delusion involving a haunted Hungarian nurse, a long-suffering police sergeant, and the ghost of a ’50s Japanese pop singer, we have given this year’s New Directors Prize to Károly Ujj-Mészáros.

SIFF 2015 BEST DOCUMENTARY

GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Great Alone (USA 2015), directed by Greg Kohs
JURY STATEMENT: Our Grand Jury Prize goes to a film that stopped all of us in our tracks.  One of the joys of the film festival experience is discovering a film that works so well on every level. This is an inspiring film about one man’s story that is both intimate and epic – we were knocked out by the filmmaker’s achievement in crafting a visually stunning, completely engrossing narrative about one extraordinary human being.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZES

Romeo is Bleeding (USA 2015), directed by Jason Zeldes
JURY STATEMENT: For its strength in demonstrating the power of art to change lives.

Sergio Herman: F**king Perfect (Netherlands 2015), directed by Willemiek Kluijfhout
JURY STATEMENT: Which we found to be an exquisitely made film about a F–KING PERFECT artist.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
Corrections Class (Russia/Germany 2014), directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky
JURY STATEMENT: For the director’s brave and unflinching handling of a young ensemble.

SIFF 2015 BEST NEW AMERICAN CINEMA

GRAND JURY PRIZE
Chatty Catties (USA 2015), directed by Pablo Valencia
JURY STATEMENT: The FIPRESCI jury at the 41st edition of the Seattle International Film Festival bestows its International Critics’ Prize to a film that – with an enormous amount of risk-taking – innovatively expands stylistic and narrative boundaries. With a fresh view on intimate relationships, director Pablo Valencia creates an unexpected and utterly original emotional landscape in Chatty Catties.

SIFF 2015 FUTUREWAVE AND YOUTH JURY AWARDS

YOUTH JURY AWARD FOR BEST FUTUREWAVE FEATURE
Seoul Searching (USA/South Korea 2015), directed by Benson Lee
JURY STATEMENT: For its diverse and relatable characters, quality mix of emotion and comedy, and accurate and respectful representation of teens, the 2015 FutureWave Youth Jury Prize goes to Seoul Searching.

YOUTH JURY AWARD FOR BEST FILMS4FAMILIES FEATURE
When Marnie Was There (Japan 2014), directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
JURY STATEMENT: For its beautiful and detailed animation, realistic sound design, and original, bittersweet tale of mystery the Films4Families Jury awards When Marnie Was There.

WAVEMAKER AWARD (GRAND PRIZE)
In recognition of superior artistic and technical achievement.
Audio Input (USA), directed by Sho Schrock-Manabe
JURY STATEMENT: For its insightful and engaging portrait of podcasting, an audio art form, through a collage of interviews and images.

FUTUREWAVE AUDIENCE AWARD
Minimum Max (USA), directed by Josh Ovalle

PRODIGY CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS
Each winner will be awarded a $1000 scholarship to the Prodigy Camp.
I’m Not Here (South Africa), directed by Jack Markovitz
Minimum Max (USA), directed by Josh Ovalle

SIFF 2015 SHORT FILM JURY AWARDS

LIVE ACTION

GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Chicken (Croatia, Germany), directed by Una Gunjak
JURY STATEMENT: An expertly crafted narrative that explores life and death through the eyes of a young girl. With a film full of authentic performances, Iman Alibalic is extraordinary as the six-year-old protagonist who receives a live chicken from her father for her birthday, and soon realizes it’s meant for dinner. This is an emotional film with a production quality that continues to move the story along and underscore the realities of life in a war zone.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Hole (Canada), directed by Martin Edralin
JURY STATEMENT: Hole is a brave exploration of human sexuality and yearning for intimacy through the eyes of a lonely, forgotten, disabled man in the heart of Toronto. Ken Harrower delivers a captivating performance that transcends any labels or limitations and speaks to the need for human connection.

DOCUMENTARY

GRAND JURY PRIZE
Bihttoš (Canada), directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
JURY STATEMENT: For its ambitious approaches to visual storytelling and imaginative recounting of an exceptional family history.

ANIMATION

GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Mill at Calder’s End (USA), directed by Kevin McTurk
JURY STATEMENT: There exists a tendency to laud the new—new stories, new techniques, new talent. With the animation award, the jury is pleased to celebrate a film that is decidedly old-school, breathing life into a bygone style, iterating in a story tradition that is centuries old. For this fusion of the modern and classic, we are happy to award Kevin McTurk for The Mill at Calder’s End.

Short Film Juries 2015:
Live Action: Stefanie Malone (NFFTY), Bobby McHugh (World Famous), and Tracy Rector (Longhouse Media).

Documentary and Animation: Courtney Sheehan (Northwest Film Forum), Jason Sondhi (Vimeo curator), Alex Stonehill (Seattle Globalist).

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  1. Damon Smith says:

    The UK documentary Dark Horse will be delighted to be mistaken for the New Zealand drama The Dark Horse and erroneously awarded Best Film and Best Actor by your picture editor.

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