Monday, April 15, 2024

Hamptons Film Festival Awards “Murina” Best Narrative Film, “Ascension” Best Documentary


Here’s the release from HIFF.

The 29th Hamptons International Film Festival, presented by HamptonsFilm, today announced their award winners at a ceremony in East Hampton. This year HIFF screened 61 films from 34 countries, with five (5) World premieres, two (2) North American premieres, and two (5) U.S. premieres. We are very proud to report that 53% of this year’s films were directed by women, and 36% were directed by filmmakers of color.

MURINA, directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, won the Award for Best Narrative Feature. ASCENSION “登楼叹”, directed by Jessica Kingdon, received the Award for Best Documentary Feature. EGÚNGÚN (MASQUERADE), directed by Olive Nwosu, received the Award for Best Narrative Short Film, and IN FLOW OF WORDS, directed by Eliane Esther Bots, won for Best Documentary Short Film. Both Short Films will qualify for Academy® awards consideration.

In addition, Franz Rogowski received a Special Jury Prize for Exceptional Performances for his work in GREAT FREEDOM “GROSSE FREIHEIT.”

BAD OMEN, directed by Salar Pashtoonyar, was awarded the 2021 The Peter Macgregor-Scott Memorial Award. The award, which is accompanied by a $10,000 cash prize, aims to continue the celebrated producer’s mentorship for a new generation of passionate filmmakers. Sponsored by Susan Macgregor-Scott, this award is specifically designed to recognize narrative short filmmakers and reward creative approaches to solving practical production challenges in the service of storytelling.

PAPER & GLUE, A JR Project, was awarded the 2021 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award to Films of Conflict and Resolution, which is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.

PAPER & GLUE was also presented with the Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice. The annual award is handed to a film that exemplifies the values of peace, equality, global justice and civil liberties, and is named after iconic civil rights lawyer Victor Rabinowitz and his wife Joanne Grant, an author, filmmaker and journalist. The award, which is accompanied by a cash prize of $2,000, is named in honor of two people who spent their entire lives fighting for those values.

GOOD GRIEF, directed by Nastasya Popov, was awarded the Suffolk County Next Exposure Grant. This program supports the completion of high quality, original, director-driven, low-budget independent films from both emerging and established filmmakers who have completed 50% of principal photography within Suffolk County. The film was awarded a $3,000 grant.

COW, directed by Andrea Arnold, was awarded the Zelda Penzel Giving Voice to the Voiceless Award. This award is presented to a film that raises public awareness about contemporary social issues, including the moral and ethical treatment and the rights of animals as well as environmental protection. The film was awarded $2,500.

QUEEN OF GLORY, directed by Nana Mensah and INTRODUCING, SELMA BLAIR, directed by Rachel Fleit were awarded the New York Women in Film & Television Awards. These two awards honor outstanding female narrative and documentary filmmakers who have demonstrated exceptional artistic vision and dedication to their craft. Each award is accompanied by a $1,000 cash prize.

The festival also announced the recipients of the University Short Film Awards, highlighting the extraordinary talent and achievements of five exceptional students. Each will receive a $500 cash prize. Awardees include BAD OMEN, directed by Salar Pashtoonyar (York University), BUZZKILL, directed by Kathy E. Mitrani (Columbia University), NEURIM, directed by Shaylee Atary (Steve Tisch School of Film & Television, Tel Aviv University), UN DIABLE DANS LA POCHE, directed by Antoine Bonnet and Mathilde Loubes (GOBELINS, l’école de l’Image), and WAVELENGTHS, directed by Jessie Zinn (Stanford University).

This year’s narrative competition jury was comprised of producer Sam Bisbee, whose work includes the Emmy Award-winning documentary THE SENTENCE, as well as THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, HEARTS BEAT LOUD, and FAREWELL AMOR, among others; screenwriter Bill Collage, best known for his work on ASSASSIN’S CREED and THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT; and Entertainment Weekly’s Critic at Large Leah Greenblatt.

The documentary competition jury included co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures Wendy Ettinger, whose production company has awarded $8 million in grants and thousands of hours of creative mentorship to over 340 female nonfiction filmmakers; Senior Curator for Staff Picks at Vimeo Ina Pira; and filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun, whose most recent project WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR debuted in the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

This year the Festival was honored to partner with the New York Film Critics Circle for the thirteenth year.

“Being able to once again experience the power of cinema on a big screen with audiences was incredible and something that was dearly missed within our community,” said David Nugent, HamptonsFilm Artistic Director. “We are so thankful to all of the filmmakers and artists who allowed us to showcase their films.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring everyone safely back together this year. It so clearly remains that our community out East loves cinema and we are so glad to be able to share such an incredible slate of films with them,” said Anne Chaisson, HamptonsFilm Executive Director. “We are so thankful to all of the staff, volunteers, sponsors and most of all to the audiences for their continued support. Next up, our 30th anniversary!”

Attendees of the 2021 festival included Don Argott, Alec Baldwin, Bob Balaban, Michael Barker, Susan Bedusa, Clint Bentley, Selma Blair, Dan Cogan, Julie Cohen, Clifton Collins, Jr., Kelcey Edwards, Rachel Fleit, Liz Garbus, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Matt Heineman, Sheena M. Joyce, Penny Lane, Amanda Lipitz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Josh O’Connor, Nancy Schafer, Doug Tirola, E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Ari Wegner, Betsy West, Debi Wisch, Joe Wright, Odessa Young and more.

The festival has awarded prizes to filmmakers in cash and goods and services of over $130,000 each year, with over $5 million awarded in competition funds and services over the past 29 years.

HIFF thanks the supporters for this year’s festival, including corporate sponsors Audi, Netflix, Chantecaille, KORE Private Wealth, Silvercup Studios, Press Seltzer, and official media sponsors WNBC, Variety, The Purist Magazine, and The East Hampton Star. HamptonsFilm is grateful for the long-term support from New York State Council on the Arts and Suffolk County. For more information please visit

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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