Friday, December 15, 2017
  • Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
"The Insult," "What Will People Say," "Bodied" Win AFI Fest Audience Awards
A scene from director Iram Haq's "What Will People Say," winner of the Audience Award for New Auteurs at AFI Fest 2017.
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
  • --

The American Film Institute (AFI) has revealed the films that received the Audience and Jury awards at AFI Fest 2017.

“As the 31st edition of AFI Fest comes to a close, this year’s awards shine a light on the American independent, auteur and foreign cinema that resonated with our audiences and jurors,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, AFI Fest director.  “Audience awards help bring film lovers together, while building momentum for the filmmakers in this year’s festival.”

The Audience Award winners were The Insult in the World Cinema competition, What Will People Say for director Iram Haq in the New Auteurs showcase, and Bodied which topped American Independents.

Additionally,  Jury award winners at AFI Fest become eligible for Short Film Oscar categories.

Here’s a rundown of winning films:

Audience Award – World Cinema
THE INSULT (DIR Ziad Doueiri)
Lebanon’s official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submission, this engrossing and unforgettable tale of modern life in the Middle East is a razor-sharp look at a country’s long-simmering resentments toward Palestinian refugees, and its traumatized civil war wounds.

Audience Award – New Auteurs
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY (DIR Iram Haq)
Iram Haq’s sophomore feature is a powerful story of a young woman growing up between two cultures, with no control over her life choices, who must carve out her own path despite a significant culture clash.

Audience Award – American Independents
BODIED (DIR Joseph Kahn)
Whether it’s sci-fi, satire, or race relations, Joseph Kahn’s auteur style defies anticipations. In BODIED, a white boy explores rap battle vernacular, immersed in a subculture that’s simply spectacular.

Grand Jury Award for Live Action Short
GAZE (DIR Farnoosh Samadi)
Jury Statement:  “No good deed goes unpunished” is the phrase that stays with the viewer as you watch the film that captured the top honor this year.  The filmmaker lures you in and then, like any classic thriller, hooks you until the final gasp — the low hum of a motorbike replacing John Williams’ iconic notes in JAWS.  Underneath, the film is a subtle examination of class and gender in Iranian society. 

Grand Jury Award for Animated Short
THE BURDEN (DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr)
Jury Statement:  A film whose stranded, unremarkable inhabitants convey the weight of the world through song and dance and reveal the anguish we all feel about life. 

Special Jury Mention
SILICA (DIR Pia Borg)
Jury Statement:  We would like to recognize Borg’s beautifully composed, lush 35mm cinematography.  Her blend of vivid landscape photography with microscopic and CG elements elevates this exploration of territorial constructs.

The Shorts Jury was comprised of Jeffrey Bowers (Senior Curator, Vimeo), Moira Griffin (Executive Director of Production, Creative Labs, 21st Century Fox) and Nathan Silver (director, ACTOR MARTINEZ, THIRST STREET).  The Grand Jury Award winners for Live-Action and Animated Short, as decided by the Shorts Jury, will be automatically eligible for the Academy Award® shortlists in the Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short categories.

Fest highlights
The AFI Fest program included 137 films (93 features, 44 shorts) representing 53 countries, including 40 films directed/co-directed by women, 19 documentaries and 14 animated films.  The breakdown by section is: Galas/Tributes (6), Special Screenings (7), American Independents (10), New Auteurs (11), World Cinema (30), Midnight (3), Cinema’s Legacy (9), Presentations (3), Retrospective (12), Youth and Family (2) and Short Films (44).  This year’s program includes 14 official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submissions and 24 films featuring 75 AFI alumni.

This year’s Tech Showcase opened with a case study presentation from Eugene Chung, president and CEO of Penrose Studios, a startup focused on augmented and virtual reality.  A special event was held spotlighting how Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technology and tools were used to bring Thor to the big screen. The Tech Showcase also included hands-on virtual reality (VR) technology and experiences for festival-goers in The Hollywood Roosevelt, and panels on VR storytelling.

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