The big winner at Sundance, taking both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, as well as the Un Certain Regard (Prix de l'avenir) award at Cannes, Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station may be in line to score a gold statuette at the 2014 Academy Awards.
Our own Todd McCarthy wrote, "A shrewd script and career-launching performances drive a tragic modern story that carries heavy social weight." Read the full review here.
Calin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose took home the prized Golden Bear at Berlinale, beating out a host of strong competitors, including Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects, Gus Van Sant's Promised Land and David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche.
Our own Deborah Young reviewed the film as "Sure-footed scripting and a stand-out performance by Luminita Gheorghiu freshen a potentially pat subject'." Read the full review here.
'Mother, I Love You'
Winner of the LAFF Narrative Award and Berlinale's The Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus award, Janis Nords' Mother, I Love You is one of the few Latvian films to garner worldwide critical acclaim.
A spiritual successor to Godard's The 400 Blows, Mother, I Love You tells the story of an isolated young boy whose eroding relationships at home and school lead him down the dark city streets and into dangerous situations.
'Short Term 12'
Snagging both SXSW Jury and Audience Awards for best narrative feature, Destin Cretton's Short Term 12 also garnered the LAFF Audience Award.
In his SXSW review, our own John DeFore wrote about the film, "A genuinely moving look at life in a group foster home that avoids most of the usual routes into viewers' hearts." See the full review here.
'Blue Is the Warmest Color'
Abdellatif Kechiche'scontroversial Blue Is the Warmest Color took home the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and for the first time in the festival's history the award was given to not just the director, but the two lead actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
Our own Justin Mintzer called the film, "A sprawling, emotionally absorbing tale of young love." See the full review here. On the flip side, the author of the graphic novel that the film was adapted from, Julie Maroh, wrote in her blog that the movie is a "brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn." Read more about the controversy here.
The big winner at Slamdance, Matthew Johnson's The Dirties won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Spirit of Slamdance Award.
Filmmakers and distribution partner Kevin Smith said of the film, "This is the most important film you will see all year. Matt Johnson...has crafted the most original, hypnotic and human movie about a monster-in-the-making you will ever see." Watch the trailer here.
Though Wayne Blair's docu-comedy The Sapphires received a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes, where it premiered in 2012, the film would win no awards at the prized venue. It would, however, go on to win the Audience Award and Directors to Watch award at Palm Springs and eleven awards from the Australian Film Institute including best picture.
Kim Mordaunt's tragicomedy The Rocket made waves from New York to Berlin, gathering up a slew of awards including Best Narrative Feature and the Audience Award at Tribeca, as well as Best Debut Film and the Crystal Bear (Generation Kplus) at Berlinale.
THR's John Defore wrote, "Mordaunt, an Australian, is clearly troubled by things Westerners have done in Southeast Asia (witness the callous Aussie overseeing the village's relocation), but his film would rather turn lemons into lemonade (or an intimate knowledge of bombs into crowd-pleasing fireworks) than dwell on past tragedy." Read the full review here.