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AFI: And the Winner Is …


by Anne Bothwell 2 Apr 2009

Can’t say how much suspense filmmakers were feeling at Thursday night’s awards ceremony recognizing the best of this year’s AFI Dallas film festival. But they certainly should have been feeling the love. Every presenter asked the audience to recognize all the filmmakers who participated this year. And it’s not just about the big awards, right?  […]

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Can’t say how much suspense filmmakers were feeling at Thursday night’s awards ceremony recognizing the best of this year’s AFI Dallas film festival. But they certainly should have been feeling the love. Every presenter asked the audience to recognize all the filmmakers who participated this year. And it’s not just about the big awards, right?  It’s about developing a relationship with AFI and with the Texas film community, and remembering that just being chosen for a screening from among 1,700 or so entries makes everyone a winner, presenters said.

Skating close to “it’s an honor just to be nominated,” but true nonetheless.  And filmmakers returned the praise. People at most film festivals just go to the parties, hoping to win free Ipods, said Adam Nagata, co-writer of Gigantic, in a statement read at the podium. At AFI, “people actually go to the movies.”

A fun line – but my favorite of the evening goes to David Lowery, director of St. Nick, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Texas films. Winning “confirms my suspicion that this is a good movie,” he said. (It confirms my suspicions that our resident film expert, Stephen Becker, is prescient. He caught up with Lowery at South by Southwest. )

Congrats to all the winners:

Target Narrative Feature competition: Gigantic

Target Documentary Feature Competition: Prom Night in Mississippi

The above each won $25,000.  The makers of Prom Night, about a town’s first integrated prom, said in a statement that the winnings would benefit Internet-based educational outreach. There were Special Jury Prizes given in each category: Against the Current (narrative) and Suddenly, Last Winter (documentary)

Grand Jury Prize –Texas | MPS Studios Texas Filmmaker Award: St. Nick

Current Energy Filmmaker Award: Crude

Fun fact: AFI Dallas is the only film festival to recognize a film based on its environmental vision.

Grand Jury Prize –Shorts: Princess Margaret Blvd.
1st Honorable Mention: Oil Change
2nd Honorable Mention: Next Floor

Audience Awards

Narrative Feature: Skin
Documentary Feature: Rock Prophecies
Short: Lucy: A Period Piece

Grand Jury Prize – Animation: Chicken Cowboy

A chicken…. That is a cowboy…. Awesome!!

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