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AFI Fest has just wrapped up a five-day run in Los Angeles but not before revealing the list of festival honorees.
Director Clint Bentley’s Jockey, a film starring Clifton Collins Jr. as an aging competitor hoping to win one last championship horse race, picked up the audience award for best narrative feature, while the audience prize on the documentary side went to Tommy Oliver’s look at the life and death of hip hop star Juice WRLD in the film of the same name. Johnson Cheng’s Only the Moon Stands Still, a look at three generations of Chinese women as they say goodbye to a family ballroom dance studio, won the audience prize in the short film category.
Grand Jury Award winners for live-action and animated short will be eligible for Academy Awards with honors in those categories going to director Suzannah Mirghani’s Al-Sit and Diana Cam Van Nguyen’s Love, Dad, respectively. The jury was comprised of film curator and writer Kiva Reardon, Argo’s head of programming and acquisitions Amanda Salazar, and writer-director Angel Kristi Williams.
The jury praised Al-Sit “for going beyond its central story to make a densely layered and truly cinematic experience.” For Love, Dad, they singled it out “for its melding of form and content that makes for a deeply vulnerable and personal viewing experience.”
The jury also doled out a string of special mentions, honoring Juliana Kasumu’s Babybangz for it’s “combination of stunning imagery, important conversations and compelling subjects,” Mitch Kalisa’s Play it Safe for “bold formal choices made throughout the film,” and Rikud Hassidi’s Her Dance “for a commanding performance that anchors the film” thanks to Leeoz Levy.
“Bringing filmmakers and movie fans together to celebrate the moving image is at the heart of AFI Fest,” said director of programming Sarah Harris. “The excitement of all festivalgoers to be together in the theaters, once again, was electric. This year’s festival has truly shown everyone the power of the art form to lift our spirits when it’s needed the most.”
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