And The BIFF 2012 Winners Are …

March 26, 2012

And the winners of the of the 15th annual Bermuda International Film Festival jury and audience choice awards are the shorts “The Runaway” and”The Candidate” and the feature documentary “The Island President” [pictured].

The winners were announced at the BTC BIFF Wrap Party on Thursday [Mar.22], held at Bistro Muse, the 2012 festival’s social hub.

The BIFF 2012 jury comprised of Oscar-winning producer, Nik Powell, from the UK; Bermudian Emmy Award-winning illustrator, writer and producer, Michael K. Frith; film academic and critic, Leslie Taubman, Ph.D., from the US; and local film aficionado and host of “Filmmakers’ Corner” on Bermuda’s CITV, Keith Caesar.

The jury were tasked with selecting the winner of the Bermuda Shorts Award from over 50 short films screened in-competition. They chose Spanish entry, “The Runaway,” directed by Victor Carrey, which will now be considered for the Short Film (Live Action) Oscar in 2013 as BIFF is an Academy Award qualifying festival.

In addition, two Audience Choice Awards were presented, for the best feature and short film. The most highly rated feature by cinema-goers was the documentary, “The Island President,” the story of Mohamed Nasheed, the charismatic young leader of the Maldives, who rose from the trenches of democratic activism to become head of state of the nation most urgently threatened by climate change.

It was closely followed by the sold-out closing film, “Hysteria,” starring Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenaal and Hugh Dancy; and Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee, “In Darkness,” a survival story set in Nazi occupied city in Poland.

“The Candidate” from the USA, directed by Burton Grunzer, took the Audience Choice Award in the shorts category. It was a tale of a hyper-aggressive and confident dealmaker in a Fortune 500 company and one man who threatens everything he’s built. The audience agreed with the jury in selecting “Tooty’s Wedding” as a runner up.

In third place was the popular, “Trusting Rain,” a documentary about Bermuda’s unique methods of water conservation. Director, Kristin Alexander, attended BIFF and was present at the screening in order to take part in a Q&A.

Trailer for “The Island President”

The jury also gave honourary mentions to the short films “Speed of the Past,” from France, directed by Rocher Dominique; “Grandmothers” from the UK, directed by Afarin Eghbal; “Night Shift” from Germany, directed by Jan Haering; and “Tooty’s Wedding” from the UK, directed by Frederic Casella.

Michael K. Frith, BIFF 2012 juror, said: “I was so delighted to be asked to participate. Thank you, BIFF, for this opportunity. It’s a cliché to say that it’s a cliché to say that the standard throughout was exceptional, but it truly was; we really did have to struggle to select a single winner. “The Runaway” stood out, simply as an example of the pure joy of filmmaking: the shots, the pacing, the narration, the editing, the sound design – it’s just giddy!

“It’s amazing what it packs into just 11 minutes and how skilfully it takes all these wildly disparate images and ideas and hurtles you toward a climax that weaves them all together. Congratulations to Victor Carrey and his team. I wish them every success when it comes to the Short Film Oscar next year.”

Mr. Frith is perhaps most well-known for his role as Executive Vice President and Director of Creative Services at The Muppets/Jim Henson Productions, where he developed many of Henson’s greatest successes.

He conceived scores of the most popular characters from “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” and “Saturday Night Live.” He was also co-creator of HBO’s International Emmy Award-winning series “Fraggle Rock”,  inspired by Bermuda’s Crystal Caves.

Later, along with his wife, the director/performer/writer Kathryn Mullen, among others, Mr. Frith became co-creator of “Between the Lions,” a series for PBS designed to teach children to read.

About his BIFF 2012 jury duty, Mr. Frith  concluded: “Let me extend my appreciation and admiration to every filmmaker in the competition — filmmaking is an art form with so many, many elements – writing, designing, acting, shooting, lighting, directing, and on and on — and getting all of those elements right takes enormous talent and determination.

BIFF 2012 juror Michael K. Frith with his daughter Callee, the event’s special events coordinator

“And it was such a pleasure to meet so many of the short filmmakers at BIFF and hear first-hand the stories that led them to this point. On behalf of the jury, to all the BIFF 2012 short filmmakers — all the very best for the future! There are sure to be many success stories.”

Susanne Notman, BIFF Board of Trustees (Chair), said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nik Powell, Michael Frith, Leslie Taubman and Keith Caesar, the BIFF 2012 jury, for their enthusiastic embrace of their role as Jurors in selecting this year’s winner, viewing over 50 shorts.

“They are each established professionals in the field of film and their analysis was valuable and vital to the competition. I would also like to thank our volunteer programming team of David O’Beirne, Alex Macdonald, Andrew Stoneham, Dawn Robinson and Alan O’Beirne for selecting the short films to screen in competition from the hundreds of entries we received this year from all over the world. They are also responsible for choosing the feature film lineup, which proved incredibly popular this year.

Ms Notman continued: “They work nine months of the year to put together the film programme and without them there would quite simply be no festival. David and Dawn even travelled to the 2011 Toronto Film Festival at their own expense to scope out the latest big hits on the festival circuit to bring to Bermuda.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would also like to thank our patrons, sponsors, members and volunteer team, and last but not least, our incredibly dedicated volunteer Management Committee, which has been at the driving seat of BIFF 2012. Combined these forces have resulted in a truly memorable festival, which we hope our attendees thoroughly enjoyed.”

Over 80 short and feature-length films screened at BIFF 2012, held from March 16 to 22. The lineup included Oscar-winning Foreign Language film, “A Separation,” as well as several Oscar nominees.


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