Montclair Film Festival Announces 2020 Award Winners

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The Montclair Film Festival (MFF) today announced the winners of the festival’s 2020 film competitions. With the festival following COVD protocols, the festival did not host an award ceremony this year, with jurors meeting via online meetings.

This year’s festival featured four competitive categories: Fiction, Documentary, Future/ Now, and New Jersey Filmmaking. Additionally, the Fiction and Documentary juries also awarded films for the festival’s inaugural Short Film competitions. The MFF also announced the festival’s 2020 Audience Awards and Junior Jury prizes. 


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The Festival’s 2020 Audience Awards were given to NOMADLAND, directed by Chloé Zhao for Fiction Feature, DEREK DELGAUDIO’S IN & OF ITSELF, directed by Frank Oz for Non-Fiction Feature, TWO OF US, directed by Filippo Meneghetti, for World Cinema, and LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: THE SAMMY GLADDEN STORY, directed by Mackenzie Robertson, for Short Film. A THOUSAND CUTS, directed by Ramona Diaz, wins The David Carr Award For Truth In Non-Fiction Filmmaking. ANNA, directed by Dekel Berenson, and FEED THE BEARS, directed by Jessie Auritt, win the MFF’s inaugural juried Shorts Competitions. THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM, directed by Daniel Gordon, wins The MFF Junior Jury Prize.

Feature Film Jury Awards

THERE IS NO EVIL, directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, was awarded the festival’s Fiction Feature Prize with Pierre de Villers receiving a Special Jury Prize for Cinematography for Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION, and Paula Beer receiving a Special Jury Prize for Acting for her performance in Christian Petzold’s UNDINE.

The Fiction Feature Competition featured three fiction films from international filmmakers, competing for the Fiction Feature Prize, was THERE IS NO EVIL, directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION, directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, and UNDINE, directed by Christian Petzold. The Fiction jury was comprised of Scott Mantz (Film Critic), Clarence Moye (Awards Daily), and Alison Stewart (WNYC / All of It with Alison Stewart).


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US KIDS, directed by Kim A. Snyder, took home the festival’s top Documentary Competition prize, the Bruce Sinofsky Award, in the festival’s Documentary Feature competition. This award was established in memory of filmmaker and longtime Montclair resident Bruce Sinofsky. A Special Jury Prize for The Pursuit of Justice was awarded to COLLECTIVE, directed by Alexander Nanau.

The Documentary Feature Competition featured three non-fiction films competing for the Bruce Sinofsky Prize, is COLLECTIVE, directed by Alexander Nanau, CRAZY, NOT INSANE, directed by Alex Gibney, and US KIDS, directed by Kim A. Snyder. The Documentary Feature Competition Jury was comprised of Alex Billington (First Showing), Kerensa Cadenas (The Cut / New York Magazine), and Joey Magidson (AwardsRadar).

FREELAND, directed by Mario Furloni and Kate McLean, was awarded the Mark Urman Award For Fiction Filmmaking in the festival’s Future/Now competition, featuring a $5000 cash prize, and over $42,000 in in-kind filmmaking services, honoring emerging low-budget American independent filmmaking. This award was established in 2019 in memory of the film distribution executive Mark Urman, a longtime Montclair resident, and funded through Montclair Film’s Mark Urman Award Fund.  

The Future/Now Competition featured three films by independent fiction filmmakers competing for The Mark Urman Award For Fiction Filmmaking, which includes a $5,000 cash prize and over $40,000 in in-kind film services, featured FREELAND, directed by Mario Furloni and Kate McLean, THE OUTSIDE STORY, directed by Casimir Nozkowski, and REUNION, directed by Jake Mahaffy. The Future/Now jury was comprised of Deborah Davis (Author), Jeva Lange (The Week), and Wilson Morales (BlackFilmandTV).

THE ANTIDOTE, directed by Kahane Cooperman and John Hoffman, took home the New Jersey Films Competition prize, with TWO GODS directed Zeshawn Ali awarded a Special Jury Prize for Cinematography.  

The New Jersey Feature Competition featured three non-fiction films produced in New Jersey or made by New Jersey-based filmmaking talent competing for the New Jersey Competition Prize, featured THE ANTIDOTE, directed by Kahane Cooperman, BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND, directed by Katrine Philp, and TWO GODS, directed by Zeshawn Ali. The New Jersey Films Competition jury was comprised of Amy Kuperinsky (New Jersey Star Ledger), and Rafael Motamayor (The Playlist).

As previously announced, A THOUSAND CUTS, directed by Ramona Diaz, took home the 6th Annual David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking, which honors a filmmaker, selected by the festival, who utilizes journalistic techniques to explore important contemporary subjects and is presented in honor of Mr. Carr’s commitment to reporting on the media. 


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Each year, The Montclair Film Festival welcomes our Junior Jury, made up of thirteen area High School students representing twelve area schools. The Junior Jury awarded their top prize to THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM, directed by Daniel Gordon, with a Special Jury Prize to Johan Johnsson For Excellence in Sound Design for I AM GRETA, directed by Nathan Grossman.

Short Film Jury Awards

ANNA, directed by Dekel Berenson, won the festival’s inaugural Fiction Short Film Competition, with EXAM, directed by Sonia K. Hadad, awarded a Special Jury Prize for Narrative Excellence. The Fiction Shorts jury was comprised of Scott Mantz (Film Critic), Clarence Moye (Awards Daily), and Alison Stewart (WNYC / All of It with Alison Stewart).

FEED THE BEARS, directed by Jessie Auritt, won the festival’s inaugural Documentary Short Film Competition. The Documentary Shorts jury was comprised of Alex Billington (First Showing), Kerensa Cadenas (The Cut / New York Magazine), and Joey Magidson (AwardsRadar).

GRAMERCY, directed by Jamil McGinnis and Pat Heywood, won the festival’s Inaugural New Jersey Shorts competition for Fiction, with the Non-Fiction Award given to VIRTUALLY FREE, directed by André Robert Lee. The Competition featured films in the fiction and non-fiction categories from New Jersey.  The New Jersey Shorts Competition jury was comprised of Amy Kuperinsky (New Jersey Star Ledger), and Rafael Motamayor (The Playlist).


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Audience Awards

The festival’s Audience Award for Fiction Feature was awarded to NOMADLAND, directed by Chloé Zhao.

The Audience Award for Non-Fiction Feature was awarded to DEREK DELGAUDIO’S IN & OF ITSELF, directed by Frank Oz.

The Audience Award for World Cinema was awarded to TWO OF US, directed by Filippo Meneghetti.

The Audience Award for Short Film was awarded to LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: THE SAMMY GLADDEN STORY, directed by Mackenzie Robertson

“This year’s program featured so many wonderful films, and we are grateful to our jurors and audiences for selecting our award-winning films,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “We thank and congratulate all of the filmmakers who shared their films with the festival this year and look forward to great things from each and every one of them.”

ABOUT MONTCLAIR FILM

Montclair Film, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization connects filmmakers from around the region and world with audiences by presenting films and year-round programs that engage, educate, and entertain through the power of visual storytelling. The ninth annual Montclair Film Festival, presented by Investors Bank, took place from October 16-25, 2020.

The Storyteller Series is presented by Audible. We are grateful for generous support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies; the County of Essex Department of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs; and Hackensack Meridian Health, Mountainside Medical Center.

Additional support is provided by Chubb; Coldwell Banker Realty; William H. Connolly & Co.; Hiker; Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; The Nature Conservancy; and RBC Wealth Management, as well as from Ashenfelter, Trembulak, McDonough, Golia & Trevenen, LLP; The Bravitas Group; Genova Burns; Kore Private Wealth; Partners for Health Foundation; and Rao’s Homemade.

All programs are made possible with funds from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, as well as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others. Montclair Film provides unique and meaningful ways to engage with diverse, creative, and sophisticated audiences and seeks sponsors for its signature spring film festival and other year-round programs that attract more than 46,000 annual attendees and generate more than 750 million media impressions yearly. For information about Montclair Film, visit www.MontclairFilm.org.

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