AFI Fest Reveals Audience and Jury Award Winners
A scene from "Exam," the AFI Fest's Grand Jury Award winner for Best Live-Action Short.
  • LOS ANGELES
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AFI Fest 2019 has revealed the films that received this year’s Jury and Audience awards. The Grand Jury Award winners for Live Action and Animated Short--Exam and Something To Remember, respectively--will be eligible for the 2020 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®. The Shorts jury was comprised of filmmakers Katrelle Kindred, Hannah Peterson and Davy Rothbart.

There was a tie for the Documentary Grand Jury Prize between A Love Song For Latasha and The Clinic.

The Audience Awards for feature and short films went, respectively, to I Am Not Alone and Lost & Found.

Here’s a rundown of AFI Fest award winners:

Audience Award – Feature
I AM NOT ALONE (DIR Garin Hovannisian)
Capturing the fury, emotion, and spontaneous expressions of freedom that overtook the streets of Armenia in 2018, Garin Hovannisian’s fascinating eye-witness documentary affords a unique glimpse into a revolution-in-the-making by offering unprecedented access to the grassroots movement that dared to challenge an entrenched regime, as well as the regime’s leaders themselves.

Audience Award – Short
LOST & FOUND (DIR Orlando Von Einsiedel)
A determined man, armed only with a megaphone, his determination, and an unshakeable smile, sets out to reunite lost children with their families in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, which now houses over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims. 
 
Grand Jury Award – Live-Action Short
EXAM (DIR Sonia K. Hadad)
A teenage girl delivers a package of cocaine to a client and gets caught in a weird cycle of events.
Jury Statement: “EXAM stood out from the other films for its bold directorial style, anchored by a stunning lead performance. The result is a tense portrait that reaches past its specificity into the universal.”

Special Jury Prize—Live Action
MTHUNZI (DIR Tebogo Malebogo)
Mthunzi becomes caught up in a world he does not belong while walking home from the shops.
Jury Statement: “Centered on a chance encounter, MTHUNZI gives an intimate and powerful glance into the intricacies of unconscious bias. Beautifully captured, grounded performances and daring choices on behalf of the filmmaker left the jury stirred by this gentle narrative.”
 
Special Jury Prize—Live Action
LIBERTY (DIR Faren Humes)
Alex and Milagros deal with great life upheaval as they prepare to dance at their community’s redevelopment groundbreaking ceremony.
Jury Statement: “First-time actors deliver breakthrough performances under the steady guidance of director Faren Humes in this absorbing and exquisite short. The jury was impressed by its kinetic energy, its economic storytelling and its probing yet compassionate tone.”
 
Grand Jury Prize—Animation
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER (DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr)
A lullaby before the great disaster.
Jury Statement: “We’re pleased to give the Grand Jury Prize in Animation to SOMETHING TO REMEMBER for its tender yet critical response to the world around us, and its perfect execution. This irresistible short transforms bittersweet anxieties into a modern lullaby — we couldn’t take our eyes off of it.”
 
Grand Jury Prize—Documentary (tie)
A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA (DIR Sophia Nahli Allison)
A dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present reimagines a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.  
Jury Statement: “We are honored to award the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary filmmaking to A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA. It’s haunting and poetic exploration of a young woman’s life cut tragically short allows its audience to experience an injustice long hidden by time and politics. This film is a portrait framed by beautiful imagery, loving recollection and astonishing storytelling that will linger with the audience long after the credit roll.”
 
Grand Jury Prize—Documentary (tie)
THE CLINIC (DIR Elivia Shaw)
Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange and free clinic operates in the shadows of Fresno, California.  
Jury Statement: “A gripping, harrowing peek into one corner of a vast epidemic, Elivia Shaw’s THE CLINIC is striking for the sensitivity and nuance with which it treats its subjects — both the people who come to Dr. Marc Lashner’s mobile needle exchange looking for help, and the scrappy team of volunteers who do what they can to offer it.”
 
AFI Fest 2020 will open on October 15 and close on October 22. World premieres, galas and special screenings reflecting the best in global cinema will take place at iconic theaters in Los Angeles. 

 

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