Destin Daniel Crettin’s Short Term 12 has won the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. “There’s an old expression about how all great art comes from suffering,” writes Matt Singer at Screen Crush. “Cretton may not agree with that statement, but his new film Short Term 12 is a great testament to it. It is set in a group home for troubled teens, where kids who have been discarded by life are saved and cared for—at least until they turn 18 and get discarded again. These kids know suffering, and they transform that anguish into fuel for their stunningly beautiful art—a phrase that applies equally well to the film itself.”
Noting at the Playlist that Short Term 12 is “based on his short film of the same name, which won the Jury Prize at Sundance in 2009,” Katie Walsh adds that the film “brings a true authenticity to the inner workings of this facility, and the tone is pitched perfectly, fusing serious issues with a touch of humor, a lot of heart, and a healthy dose of realism. This is probably due to Cretton’s own experience working in a facility of this nature, and it serves the film well, as what could drift into melodrama or sentimentality is always righted by the realistic and delicately varied tone.” More from Eric Kohn at Indiewire, where you’ll also find an interview with Cretton.
The Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award goes to Ben Nabors’s The Wind and the Windmill. “The story of Malawian teenager William Kamkwamba is candy for the Western imagination,” writes Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn. “In 2001, the 14-year-old Kamkwamba dropped out of school and picked up a library book about harnessing electricity, then built a windmill from scratch, effectively powering his subsistence farmer family and saving them from the debilitating effects of a famine. Kamkwamba’s scientific achievement speaks for itself, but the attention he received in its wake is a thornier issue that Ben Nabors turns into a fascinating look at the tricky balancing act of third world activism. Transformed into a media darling and public cause, Kamkwamba was either rescued, exploited or—as Nabors implies—something in between.” And Indiewire‘s interviewed Nabors.
A Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography goes Touba director of photography Scott Duncan and a Special Jury Recognition for Directing goes to We Always Lie to Strangers directors A.J. Schnack and David Wilson.
SHORT FILM JURY AWARDS
Documentary Short: Josh Izenberg’s SLOMO.
Animated Short: Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roe’s Oh Willy…
Midnight Short: Andrew Zuchero’s The Apocalypse.
Music Video: Vitalic, “Stamina”; directed by Saman Keshavarz.
Texas High School Short Film Jury Award: The Benefactress.
SXSW FILM DESIGN AWARDS
Excellence in Poster Design: Akiko Stehrenberger for Kiss of the Damned. Special Jury Recognition goes to Erik Buckham for We Always Lie to Strangers.
Excellence in Title Design: Pablo González for Joven & Alocada. Special Jury Recognition goes to Raleigh Stewart for Crave.
SXSW SPECIAL AWARDS
SXSW Chicken & EGG Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award: Hannah Fidell for A Teacher. Special Mention: Katie Graham for Zero Charisma.
Louis Black Lone Star Award: Geoff Marslett’s Loves Her Gun.
Karen Schmeer Fellowship: Jim Hession.