LAFF 2011 Winners Announced

Familiar Ground Berlin Review 2011

"Familiar Ground," "Wish Me Away" take top Narrative and Documentary Awards respectively.

The Los Angeles Film Festival finished its 10-day festival today with the announcement of the 2011 jury and audience award winners. 

Taking home the grand $15,000 cash prize for the Narrative Award was Stéphane Lafleur for Familiar Ground. The Documentary Award, which also carries the top cash prize, went to Beverly Kopf and Bobbie Birleffi for Wish Me Away.

Also taking home awards were Amber Sealey, Kent Osborne, Amanda Street, and Gabriel Diamond for their performances in Amber Sealey’s How to Cheat. The actors were awarded Best Performance in the Narrative Competition, marking the eighth year the award has been given at the festival.

Something new at the festival this year was a $5,000 cash prize for the winner of each short film category. Saba Riazi’s The Wind Is Blowing on My Street won the award for Best Narrative Short Film, while Susan Koenen’s I Am a Girl! Won Best Documentary Short Film. The award for Best Animated Short Film went to Mikey Please’s The Eagleman Stag.

“It was such a rich year in competition films, so our juries had really tough choices to make,” said Festival Artistic Director David Ansen. “The winning films are the cream of a particularly delicious crop, and we’re delighted that they reflect the Festival’s dedication to movies from all over the world.”

Now in it’s 17th year, the awards took place at CHAYA Downtown and was co-hosted by Allison Janney and John C. Reilly.


Below is a complete list of the award winners:

Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)
Familiar Ground, written & directed by Stéphane Lafleur
Producers: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Cast: Francis La Haye, Fanny Mallette, Sylvain Marcel, Michel Daigle, Suzanne Lemoine
Jury statements: “An entire tree sticking out of a fireplace…a beaten-up snowman…an operatically dancing inflatable blue dude…the anything but familiar images of Familiar Ground won’t soon be forgotten. In a strong narrative competition this year, this was the singular vision that stood out the most.”

Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)
Wish Me Away, directed by Beverly Kopf & Bobbie Birleffi
Producers: Beverly Kopf and Paul Mailman
Jury statements: “For its honesty, humor and potential to change minds and even save lives, the jury awards the Documentary Award to Wish Me Away.”

Best Performance in the Narrative Competition
Amber Sealey, Kent Osborne, Amanda Street and Gabriel Diamond in Amber Sealey’s How to Cheat
Jury statements: “At a time where actors are often asked to take a larger role in the creation of what is said in a film and how it’s done, the performers of How to Cheat deserve special distinction. Kent Osborne, Amber Sealey, Amanda Street, and Gabriel Diamond dug deeper and messier, heroically past the point of comfort.”

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Attack the Block, directed by Joe Cornish
Producers: Nira Park and James Wilson
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Email, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter, Nick Frost

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, directed by Michael Rapaport
Producers: Edward Parks, Bob Teitel, Frank Mele, Robert Benavides, Eric Matthies, Michael Rapaport, Debra Koffler

Audience Award for Best International Feature
Senna, directed by Asif Kapadia
Producers: James Gay-Rees, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

Best Narrative Short Film
The Wind Is Blowing on My Street by Saba Riazi
Producer: Mohammad Hoseseni
Cast: Rahman Houshyar, Sajjad Salehivand, Forough Bonakder, Ashraf Abolfazlian

Best Documentary Short Film
I Am a Girl! by Susan Koenen
Producer: Albert Klein Haneveld

Best Animated Short Film
The Eagleman Stag by Mike Please
Producer: Royal College of Art
Cast: David Cann, Tony Guilfoyle

Audience Award for Best Short Film
Blind Date by Joe Rosen
Producer: Joe Rosen, Abigail Blackmore
Cast: Abigail Blackmore, Cavan Clerkin, Zeben Jameson, Matthew Blackmore

Audience Award for Best Music Video
Can’t Shake This Feeling by The General Assembly’s Adam Littke, Ryan McNeill, Adam Willis
Music: Grum