On September 11, the 29th Hamptons International Film Festival, presented by HamptonsFilm, announced its award winners at a ceremony in East Hampton. This year, HIFF screened 61 films from 34 countries, with five world premieres, two North American premieres and two U.S. premieres with 53 percent of films directed by women, and 36 percent directed by filmmakers of color.
“Murina,” directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, won the award for Best Narrative Feature. “Ascension,” 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 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 documentary directed by artist JR, was awarded the 2021 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award to Films of Conflict and Resolution, which is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize. The film 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 percent 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 DiableDans La Poche,” directed by Antoine Bonnet and Mathilde Loubes (Gebelins, l’école de l’Image), and “Wavelengths,” directed by Jessie Zinn (Stanford University).
“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. For more information, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.