Montclair Film Festival Reveals 2016 Award Winners

Courtesy of Sundance Institute
'Hunt for the Wilderpeople'

Taika Waititi's 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' and docs about Anthony Weiner and Norman Lear were among those recognized.

The Montclair Film Festival on Sunday announced its 2016 award winners.

The narrative feature jury prize was won by Babak Anvari's Under the Shadow, with Sophia Takal's Always Shine also receiving a special jury prize.

On the documentary side, Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson took home the Bruce Sinofsky prize for documentary feature, an award named for the late documentary filmmaker and Montclair, N.J., resident. A special jury prize for narrative innovation also was awarded to Keith Maitland's Tower.

The future/now prize, honoring emerging low-budget American independent filmmaking, went to Anna Rose Holmer's The Fits. Kris Avedisian also received an award for his performance in Donald Cried.

The New Jersey films award, which honors a select group of movies made by New Jersey artists, was given to Josie Swantek Heitz and Dave Adams' The Wrong Light. In the same competition category, Jason Cohen's Silicon Cowboys earned a special jury prize for archival storytelling.

The audience award for narrative feature was given to Thor 3 director Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople, with Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You taking home the audience award for documentary feature. Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Sonita won the audience prize for world cinema, and Kahane Cooperman’s Joe's Violin received the audience award for short film.

Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner, about disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, won the David Carr Award for truth in nonfiction filmmaking, which is named for the late New York Times writer and honors a film that uses journalistic techniques to explore important contemporary subjects.

The junior jury prize, given by a group of 13 high-school students, went to Clay Tweel's Gleason, with a special jury prize for social justice awarded to Sonita.

“We are deeply honored by the fact that so many incredible filmmakers chose to share their work with the festival and our audiences. We thank every one of our filmmakers for their overwhelming generosity,” Montclair Film Festival executive director Tom Hall said in a statement. “These awards are the festival’s way of honoring work that challenges and inspires us, and we hope they offer further encouragement to the filmmakers to continue making great work.”