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Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Announces Awards for 2010 Festival

Missoula, MT - The judges of the seventh annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival have selected this years award winning films in the four competitive categories: Best Feature, Big Sky Award, Best Short Film and Best Mini Doc (under 15 minutes). The awards were announced Thursday evening at the awards ceremony at The Loft in downtown Missoula.

 

The Best Feature Award was given to Chinese-Canadian director Lixin Fan for Last Train Home. The emotionally gripping film draws us into the fractured lives of a single migrant family (the Zhangs) as they are caught up in this desperate annual migration to return home for Chinese New Year. Jurors Doug Pray, Jeanie Finlay and Cliff Froehlich noted that Fan offers "a beautiful, very human journey into vast modern China, migrant workers, the global economy, family politics, obligatory holiday travel, and the universal phenomenon of the sullen teen." The Jury also awarded an Artistic Vision Award to Josh Fox's Gasland, the first-person exploration of the devastating effects on human health and the environment of a natural gas extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

 

Joseph Aguirres Next Year Country received the Big Sky Award. The heartfelt story of three families facing drought in Eastern Montana is the seventh film to receive the honor. An award for Artistic Excellence was give to Lucien Castaing Talors and Ilisa Barbashs extraordinary film Sweetgrass  which follows the last modern day cowboys to lead their flock of sheep up into Montana's Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture.  Judges of the Big Sky Award were Shirley Sneve (NAPT), Thomas Phillipson (Northwest Film Forum) and Tim Huffman (Crystal Video).

 

The Best Short Film Award was awarded to Danza Del Viejo Inmigrante (The Old Immigrants Dance) by Charlene Music. Of the film, jurors Gordon Quinn and Rick Prelinger wrote, "in simple, unpretentious and elegantly framed sequences, this alternately serious and playful film shows us the challenges that (the subjects) face, but more important, shows them as full human beings, with strength and spirit, sexuality and zest for life." Additionally an Artistic Excellence Award was given to Kelly Anderson's Never Enough a film about people with hoarding disorders that the jury called a sensitive and nuanced portrait of characters who might, in a lesser film, manifest as caricatures.

 

The Mini Doc Award, given to the best film under 15 minutes was presented to the 6- minute long Found by Paramita Nath. The visually rich film tells the story of Torontopoet Souvankham Thammavongsa whose parents lived in a Lao refugee camp in Thailand. An additional award for Artistic Excellence was presented to Tony Donoghues animated piece A Film About My Parish  6 Farms. The Mini-Doc category was judged by Richard Saiz (ITVS).

 

There were also four Programmers Choice Awards, awarded by the Big Sky programming staff. Michael Angus' Salt and Robert Drew's The Sun Ship Game both received awards for Excellence in Cinematography. Rainer Komers Milltown, Montana received an award for Excellence in Editing. And Briar March's There Once Was An Island was awarded the Natural Facts Award for its artistic rendering of a vital environmental issue (climate change) and its effect of human life.

 

The Best Feature and Big Sky Award films will receive a guaranteed broadcast deal and licensing fee from Free Speech TV. Both shorts categories will receive a broadcast guarantee and generous licensing fee from The Documentary Channel. Several of the award winning films will play again at the Wilma Theatre over the closing weekend of the festival.

 

The schedule for this weekend's awards screenings is as follows.

Friday, February 19 at 7:30

Danza Del Viejo Inmigrante

Never Enough

Found A Film About My Parish  6 Farms

Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers*

Anonymous Rebellion*

(* Rescreened due to technically difficulties)

 

Saturday February 20 at 7:30

Next Year Country

Milltown, Montana

Salt

 

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