Organizers of the Stony Brook Film Festival hosted a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 15. All of the festival winners were in attendance at the ceremony to accept their awards.
Jury Award for Best Feature
The Subject, directed by Lanie Zipoy and written by Chisa Hutchinson, won the Jury Award for Best Feature. The Subject tells the story of a successful documentary filmmaker haunted by his last film, which captured the murder of his subject, a black teen in Harlem. The timely film explores the relationship between an artist and their subject and addresses the harsh reality of race and class among the privileged. The film features Jason Biggs, Aunjanue Ellis, Anabelle Acosta, Carra Patterson, Nile Bullock, and Caleb Eberhardt.
Audience Award for Best Feature
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, directed by Caroline Link and written by Anna Brüggemann, Judith Kerr, and Caroline Link, won the Audience Award for Best Feature. The film features Riva Krymalowski, Marinus Hohmann, Carla Juri, Oliver Masucci, and Justus von Dohnányi. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is a German film based on the beloved semiautobiographical children’s book by Judith Kerr.
Anna is a nine-year-old living with her family in Berlin in 1933 when her life completely changes. To escape the Nazis, her father — a well-known Jewish journalist — quietly flees one night, and the rest of the family follows. Anna has to leave everything behind, including her beloved pink rabbit, and begins a new life full of challenges as a refugee abroad. A beautiful story for the whole family, filled with suspense, drama, sadness, and hope, with a timely message about being a refugee in a foreign land.
Jury Award for Best Short
They Won’t Last, a lighthearted short film written and directed by Portlynn Tagavi, won the Jury Award for Best Short. The film tells the story of a woman’s uncertain future when her hopeless boyfriend proposes after a friends’ perfect wedding.
Audience Award for Best Short
The Audience Award for Best Short was presented to Extra Innings. Written and directed by John Gray, the film tells the story of a reporter who interviewed the Boston Red Sox manager in an attempt to uncover secrets from his past.
Spirit of Independent Filmmaking
The final award presented was the Spirit of Independent Filmmaking, which is awarded to a filmmaker whose work exemplifies the spirit and breadth of filmmaking where the focus is on the art and most often produced with an extremely limited budget. This year’s recipient was Higher Love. Written and directed by Hasan Oswald, the film is a harrowing and unblinking documentary about lives affected by hard drugs, shown with honesty, compassion, desperation, and hope.
Like many other events around the country, this year’s Festival went virtual through a partnership with IndieFlix. Attendance soared with the virtual option as patrons across the country tuned in to watch the films with family and friends every weekend. Attendees sent regards from across the country, saying “what a relief to have this escape during this time,” and “these films are the only bright spot in our week.”
“We were thrilled to be able to offer this virtually during the Pandemic, and we were so happy to receive such positive and uplifting feedback from our patrons. The arts are needed now more than ever, and we can’t wait to get back to offering world-class programming in person as soon as it’s safe to do so. Until then, we’ll keep getting creative with virtual programming,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Stony Brook Film Festival and the Staller Center for the Arts.
The Staller Center for the Arts also announced on Tuesday night that virtual films will continue. Patrons can purchase a Spring Movie Pass to view 14 films for only $40. Films will be offered virtually throughout the Spring using the IndieFlix app. Additionally, the center will continue to provide virtual arts and education outreach and other virtual programming options throughout the year. Visit stallercenter.com or stonybrookfilmfestival.com for more information.