2015 BIFFY AWARDS!
From an intimate documentary about five women, each with her own unique struggle with the human papilloma virus (HPV), to a dramatic love story in the age of texting and emotions laid out on a telephone, to the challenging story of a Latina whose skill must confront tradition as she seeks to become a sushi chef, the top films at the Beloit International Film Festival have been honored with the 2015 BIFFY awards.
Honoring features, documentaries and short films and recognizing the Audience Choice selections for best films from Illinois and Wisconsin, 15 BIFFYs were handed out at Friday evening’s BIFFY Awards Ceremony at La Casa Grande Restaurant in Beloit. Many of the more than 225 filmmakers attending BIFF were on hand to receive the awards.
In addition to the awards for merit in specific film genres, there were also four “feature” awards for overall achievement, designated by the selection committee that viewed all 800 submissions to BIFF this year.
Some screenings still available this weekend. See TICKETS below.
BEST FEATURE FILM
East Side Sushi
Best Feature honors were accorded to East Side Sushi which is about a Latina who, after years of working in the food industry is forced to give up her fruit-vending cart in order to find a more secure job as a sushi chef.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Best Documentary honors went to Becoming Bulletproof, which explores the friendships that develop between people with and without disabilities as they live together for the duration of a movie camp. The film digs into the beauty and difficulty of the relationships of people who come from all walks of life.
BEST SHORT FILM
Best Short was shared by two films. Fourteen Seeds, is a story about childhood, and a boy who moves into a new neighborhood and is prescribed pills, like the other children. He chooses not to take the pills, and instead acts out his classic, boyhood antics in the woods. Mousse, a medium length droll and blackly comic tale of an “honest criminal” and police ineptitude.
BEST STUDENT FILM
Best Student Film went to Catalyst, which follows two brothers searching for closure while coping with their parent’s divorce, blending neo-realism and religious metaphor to dive deep into a family living with echoes of a harmful past.
BEST ILLINOIS FILM
The Other One
Best Illinois Film award went to The Other One, ultimately a story of acceptance and redemption, a beautiful and serene film haunted by the pasts that we embrace, hide from, lie about, and make peace with.
BEST WISCONSIN FILM
Dig Two Graves
Best Wisconsin Film honors went to Dig Two Graves, one part gothic thriller, one part black comedy and one part Dickensian mystery that dramatizes the cycle of violence that perpetuates itself over generations in a small backwoods town.
BIFF EPOCH AWARD
The BIFF Epoch Award, recognizing a film that best illustrates the way we live our lives in contemporary society and went to Alley Cat, a road movie on a bicycle. It takes place over a single night with a spontaneous journey through Chicago’s night time streets to a destination holding an emotional secret.
Each year, BIFF also presents a series of Feature Awards for films of overall excellence. This year’s feature awards include:
KEN HENDRICKS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
The Ken Hendricks Award for Excellence, recognizing the founding sponsor of the Beloit International Film Festival, was awarded to Bintou about a young dressmaker, living in Burkina Faso and dreaming of a career in Europe. Bintou is the portrait of a strong, young woman looking for her place between traditional and modern culture, between motherhood and career.
POWER OF FILM AWARD
Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic
The Power of Film Award, identifying a film that has shown the power of film to change the way we think, went to Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic. Narrated by Vanessa Williams, this poignant documentary takes a look into the lives of five women affected by HPV, the widely misunderstood and controversial virus that causes several types of cancer, including cervical.
JOSH BURTON AWARD
Hank and Asha
The Josh Burton Award for general excellence, honoring the creative spirit of the late Beloit actor and director, was awarded to the feature film, Hank and Asha. The feature length romantic comedy is about Asha, born and raised in India, who is studying in Prague for a year and longs for deeper connections with people, and Hank, a filmmaker and lonely new transplant to New York City still reeling from a romantic breakup.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AWARD
The Executive Director Award for outstanding artistic achievement goes to Backgammon, a feature length drama about a mid-thirties loner whose everyday life consists of hustling strangers in a park to play backgammon and raises fundamental questions of good and evil and speaks directly to adults and teenagers.
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
Also awarded were the Wisconsin-Illinois Showdown Audience Choice awards based on voting by BIFF audiences. They include:
Audience Choice Best Feature
Deer in the Headlights
Audience Choice Best Documentary
West by Orphan Train
Audience Choice Best Short film
Audience Choice Best Student film
An Evening at Angelo’s