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SILVERDOCS Announces Jury and Audience Awards

Monday, June 19---The 4th annual SILVERDOCS:AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival ended its six-day event with the announcements of Jury and Audience prizes in a number of diverse categories. The Festival, which had a significant breakthrough this year, in terms of content, celebrity attendance (Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Al Gore, Thomas L. Friedman, Will Shortz and others) and audience response has more than reinforced its claim as the premiere documentary film festival in North America.

The STERLING AWARDS, which were announced in typical laid-back fashion in the Cinema Lounge on Saturday afternoon, pointed to a number of documentary titles that will make the festival rounds and also, hopefully, reach theaters later this year.

This year's SILVERDOCS Sterling Award for a Feature Film went to JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The film investigates a summer camp where fervent evangelical devotion drives daily life, exploring the young followers' faith, how adults influence it, and what it means for the future of American religion and politics. The Director will receive $10,000 cash and $10,000 in-kind services from Video Labs, and $5,000 in film stock from Kodak.

Honorable Mention went to CHAIRMAN GEORGE directed by Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin. The film follows Greek-Canadian statistician George Sapounidis who is passionate about singing in Chinese. Determined to perform at the Olympics, George travels to Beijing where he gains popularity, self-confidence, and a true sense of belonging.

The SILVERDOCS Sterling Award for a Short Film was given to SEEDS, directed by Wojciech Kasperski, an achingly beautiful portrayal of a Siberian family's secret heartaches. The sage-like father's admirable patience and strong will seem to be the only things keeping this family together. The filmmakers will receive $5,000 cash.

Special mention went to MCLAREN'S NEGATIVES directed by Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre, An unusual documentary about the creative process behind Canadian animator Norman McLaren's work that uses McLaren's own techniques to make a personal statement about the art of filmmaking.

THE ALUMINUM FOWL by James S. Clauer also received a special mention. The film is a cinematically beautiful but disturbing portrait of four brothers living on a rural Louisiana chicken farm, with too much time on their hands and too little to do.

The SILVERDOCS Music Documentary Award went to ROLLING LIKE A STONE, directed by Stefan Berg and Magnus Gertten. The film explores an unforgettable weekend in 1965 that Swedish rock sensations The Namelosers and The Gonks spent with the Rolling Stones. Forty years later, the filmmaker tracks down the aging band members, fans and groupies to record their memories and reminisce about the road not taken.

The SILVERDOCS DOCS Rx Global Health Documentary Award went to THE BLOOD OF YINGZOU DISTRICT directed by Ruby Yang. The film follows the young HIV/AIDS orphan Gao Jun, who does not speak a word until the closing minutes of the film. He is a literal and figurative symbol of the voiceless victims of the disease.

The Audience Awards were announced in an equally relaxed atmosphere on Sunday morning, June 18, the final day of screenings.

The SILVERDOCS Audience Award Winner for a Feature was CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE, directed by first time feature filmmaker Frank Popper. The film follows the upstart campaign of politically savvy and energetic newcomer Jeff Smith, run by college student volunteers, takes on the Missouri political establishment with moxie, if not money. The film had its World Premiere at SILVERDOCS.

The SILVERDOCS Audience Award Winner for a Short was given to two films in a statistical tie: THE SHERRIFF OF GAY WASHINGTON by John W. Poole, in the story of a police sergeant who balances stereotypes and skillfully commands the Washington Metropolitan Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, dedicated to solving crimes by and against members of the queer community.

The Audience Award for a Short was shared with A GIRL LIKE ME by 17-year-old Kiri Davis, which also received the short jury's special mention for a student. Her film adeptly examines her peers' attitudes on Blackness, self-esteem and self-image.

The Sterling Award Feature Jury included Michelle Byrd, Executive Director, Independent Feature Project; Christoph Jörg, Senior Commissioning Executive, Arte France; and Steven Markovitz, Festival Director of ENCOUNTERS International Documentary Festival, South Africa.

Sandy Mandelberger

Comments (2)

Just added my vote

Just added my vote for this post. I was attracted by such low cash of 5.000$
The SILVERDOCS Sterling Award for a Short Film was given to SEEDS, directed by Wojciech Kasperski, an achingly beautiful portrayal of a Siberian family's secret heartaches. The sage-like father's admirable patience and strong will seem to be the only things keeping this family together. The filmmakers will receive $5,000 cash.

From Peter The Great Museum of Antropology and Ethnography�

Dear Colleagues,

We are planning to launch a project of creation of ethnology films. The first film in the series will be about Ethiopia. It will illustrate, so to say, the Ethiopian collections of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography which will be demonstrated in a new exposition. It will represent everyday life of ethnic groups populating the Harar and Gara Muleta areas (Harari and Oromo-Anniya), their rites (weddings, burials, initiation, if possible) and material culture. Special attention will be given to current state of handicrafts (jewellry, woodcarving, bookmaking, pottery) and also the anthropology of childhood.

Our question is: when will the next (2007) Festival take place, and what are the conditions of participation in the Festival?

This is our first project in the film-making, and wee whant to make a prodact wich has been collect by professional viewers ( 1 montage-option) or has been interest by TV(2 montage-option) and recoup all investments.
In connection with this could you be so kind to anser as the expert:

Ethnography film should be prodact accoding to the classical canons.

Contemporary version of the Ethnography film with adventure insertions should interest for the better part of the audience.
Ethnography film is’t our personality. This subject attract scientist only and might not have success in the film-market.

If you accept this project, could you please send us your algorithm and canons.

Hab. Dr. Valentin Vydrin,
Head of African Department

Oleg Sokolov,
Technical Directof of the Project


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Dates: June 13-18, 2006

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