Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers’s Fort Tilden has won the Narrative Feature: Grand Jury Award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. “Let’s be honest, no one desperately needs another comedy about desultory twentysomething white Brooklynites waiting for their grownup lives to begin,” writes David Rooney in the Hollywood Reporter. “But Fort Tilden… showcases a satirical voice so dyspeptic it’s almost endearing, never letting the abrasive lead characters–or anyone else for that matter–off the hook for their self-absorbed entitlement. A mini-road trip that nudges its protagonists outside of their bubble, where the portrait of generational inertia ain’t pretty, this minor-key comedy of discomfort has a bittersweet bite.” But for Variety‘s Andrew Barker, the film’s “potent sense of place and underlying ideas never compensate for the tiresome millennial musings that constitute most of its runtime.” Updates, 3/12: Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn: “While frequently very funny and sustained by a pair of boldly unlikable female protagonists, Fort Tilden adopts the glorious stupidity of its stars, and echoes their gratingly obnoxious temperaments.” Interviews Bliss and Rogers: Bryan Adams (The Credits) and Danielle Lurie (Filmmaker). Update, 3/13: William Goss gives Fort Tilden a B at the Playlist.
Update, 3/14: For Nick McCarthy, writing at the House Next Door, “Fort Tilden too frequently relies on overgeneralizations and caricature to build its sardonic takedown of its character’s solipsism. As the film reaches its home stretch, the girls are wounded versions of their former selves, with the filmmakers limply trying to elicit pathos for the unsympathetic buffoons they’ve spent 85 minutes taking down. Ironically, it’s in the film’s own displays of flippancy and contradiction that it comes closest to illuminating the myopia of millennials.”
The Special Jury Recognition for Courage in Storytelling goes to Animals. “The initial scenes featuring young couple Bobbie (Kim Shaw) and Jude (David Dastmalchian) in director Colin Schiffli’s Animals are so precious that it comes as a shock to discover that they’re both heroin addicts,” writes Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn. “Living out of a decrepit car parked near the Chicago Zoo, Bobbie and Jude team up to keep their habit alive, which at first provides them with enough confidence to ignore the downward spiral they’re trapped within. By letting the troubles creep in, Schiffli’s accomplished first feature—scripted by Dastmalchian—makes their conundrum both accessible and intimately unsettling at once.” The Austin Chronicle‘s Ashley Moreno finds that “Animals presents an authenticity often lacking in films about drug abuse.” More from John DeFore (THR). And for Filmmaker, Danielle Lurie interviews producer Mary Pat Bentel.
Update, 3/14: Back to Nick McCarthy at the House Next Door. He finds that “the script, written by Dastmalchian, a recovered addict, never wallows in self-pitying moralizing. What holds the film together as it jumps from one heartbreaking score to another is the alchemy of its performances, which show a fierce and unflinching commitment to the shameless acts of conning that exhibit the creative energy Bobbie and Jude are capable of. Given their pseudo-bohemian costume choices, the leads could be mistaken for Urban Outfitters models, but there’s scant vain posturing to their thesping; they never let their attractiveness overshadow—or, worse, glamorize—the authentic grit of their characters’ vicious self-destruction.”
Natalia Tena and David Verdauger have won Special Jury Recognition for Best Acting Duo for their performances in Carlos Marques-Marcet’s 10,000KM (Long Distance).
Margaret Brown has won the Documentary Feature: Grand Jury Award for The Great Invisible. The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore: “As we approach the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Margaret Brown takes us back to the Gulf Coast with The Great Invisible, a powerful documentary that reminds those of us who’ve moved on to other worries that this one is far from finished—and that a government that proclaimed outrage during the summer of 2010 has seemingly done little to prevent or prepare for another such catastrophe.” Kate X Messer interviews Brown for the Austin Chronicle. Update, 3/12: “Understanding that her subject is a tragedy with many faces, Brown seeks to paint as complex and wide-ranging a portrait as possible,” writes Variety‘s Justin Chang. “The result may not be quite as distinctive an inquiry into Southern subcultures as her 2009 stunner The Order of Myths, but this SXSW grand jury prizewinner nevertheless stands as a uniquely thought-provoking chronicle of an event that, in the absence of any real preventive action taken by oil companies or the U.S. government, calls out for further cinematic and journalistic attention.”
Update, 3/14: “While the doc competition lineup was strong,” writes Beth Hanna at Thompson on Hollywood, “Brown’s film displayed the tautest and most skillful chops in terms of dynamic storytelling—something that’s become increasingly important with the abundance of documentaries being made.”
The Documentary Feature: Special Jury Recognition for Editing and Storytelling award goes to Print the Legend by Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel. Variety‘s Justin Chang: “A technology that promises (some would say threatens) to permanently transform our lives and businesses gets compelling behind-the-scenes treatment in Print the Legend, Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel’s skillful overview of the major players in the 3D printing industry, the ingenious and highly competitive products they’ve turned out, and the controversy they’ve stirred up vis-a-vis the gun-control debate. Still, as cutting-edge as these innovations may be, the dramatic trajectory here—the initial thrill of a successful collaboration giving way to the forces of hubris, conflict and betrayal—could hardly be more timeless or universally applicable.” More from Ryland Aldrich (Twitch), John DeFore (THR), Eric Kohn (Indiewire) and Brandon Watson (Chronicle).
Diana Whitten’s Vessel has won Documentary Feature: Special Jury Recognition for Political Courage. Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn: “The ongoing saga of Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts, the valiant leader of the pro-choice organization Women on Waves, offers ideal fodder for a gripping narrative: Sailing through international waters, Gomperts provides aid to women in need of abortions around the world, navigating opposition at nearly every turn.” For Jordan Smith at the Chronicle, this is a “compelling and emotionally charged documentary.” For Filmmaker, Danielle Lurie interviews Whitten.
Excellence in Title Design. The Jury Award goes to True Detective designed by Patrick Clair for Elastic. And a Special Jury Recognition for Title Design goes to The Lego Movie, designed by Brian Mah for Alma Mater.
The Jury Award for Excellence in Poster Design goes to Jay Shaw for this:
At Twitch, Zach Gayne calls Starry Eyes “a most welcome addition to the Hollywood nightmare genre that dates as far back as Sunset Boulevard (and earlier) and in more recent years includes all-time favorite Mulholland Drive. The genius of Starry Eyes is that it melds the abstract Lynchian nightmare with the body horror of Cronenberg as Walker abandons her integrity, literally morphing into the type of creature who will do and eventually does everything it takes to gain acceptance in the superficial world that champions image over talent.”
This year’s Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship goes to Colin Nusbaum.
Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has won the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award.
The Gamechanger Award goes to Jen McGowan’s Kelly & Cal. “The inspired match-up of underserved veteran Juliette Lewis and breakout newcomer Jonny Weston powers Kelly & Cal, a warmly observed tale of two outcasts bonding in stifling suburbia,” writes Geoff Berkshire for Variety. Filmmaker‘s Scott Macaulay interviews McGowan and Rodrigo Perez gives Kelly & Cal a C at the Playlist. A Gamechanger Special Mention goes to Kat Chandler’s Hellion.
The Narrative Shorts Jury Award goes to Monia Chokri’s Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire, and Dustin Guy Defa‘s Person to Person has earned a Special Jury Recognition. And Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography (Narrative Shorts) goes to Trey Edward Shultz’s Krisha.
Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace directed by Jeff Dupre wins the Documentary Shorts: Jury Award. The Animated Shorts: Jury Award goes to Alan Holly’s Coda. And the Midnight Shorts: Jury Award goes to Wawd Ahp, directed by Steve Girard and Josh Chertoff.
The Music Videos: Jury Award goes to Ian and Cooper for their video for ‘Back to Me’ by Joel Compass. Anne S. Lewis has won the Texas Shorts Award for Some Vacation. And Caila Pickett and Max Montoya have won the Texas High School Shorts: Jury Award for Seawolf.