The Dallas Film Society announced the award winners for the 11th edition of the Dallas International Film Festival at the annual Dallas Film Society Honors Gala Presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation held at The Highland Dallas (5300 E. Mockingbird) on Friday, April 7. C.A. Gabriel and Renée Felice Smith’s THE RELATIONTRIP took home the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize and Jonathan Olshefski’s QUEST was awarded the Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize. A Special Narrative Feature Jury Prize was awarded to Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson for directing for his film, HEARTSTONE, and a Special Documentary Feature Jury Prize for Artistry was also awarded to Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s SPETTACOLO.
The Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation Audience Awards were presented to: Jameson Brooks’s BOMB CITY for Best Narrative Feature, Luke Korem’s DEALT for Best Documentary Feature, and Tim Mason’s NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT for Best Short Film. The Narrative and Documentary Features each won $2000 prizes, and the Best Short took home a $1000 cash prize as part of the award.
In addition to the presentation of the filmmaking awards, the evening also featured the presentation of the Dallas Shining Star Award to Zoey Deutch (BEFORE I FALL), a posthumous presentation of the Dallas Star Award to Bill Paxton, and the presentation of the L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Filmmaker Award to David Gordon Green.
“It is always telling when film festival juries hand out numerous Special Prizes along with the Grand Prizes,” said James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society. “It says that even though they are tasked with singling out one film above the others, they are still touched, inspired, or impressed enough to want to cite other films in the same competition for a special mention. I think that is a direct result of the difficult choices the DIFF juries faced this year.”
Noël Wells’s MR. ROOSEVELT won the Texas Competition Grand Jury Prize (Presented by Panavision), earning a camera rental package valued at $30,000, and Craig Elrod received a Texas Competition Special Jury Prize for Directing for his film, MUSTANG ISLAND. Matthew Heineman’s CITY OF GHOSTS won the Studio Movie Grill Silver Heart Award (Presented by the Schultz Family) and the $5,000 cash prize bestowed on an individual or film for their dedication to fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity.
In the Short Film categories, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s WHAT HAPPENED TO HER won the the Short Film Grand Jury Prize, with two films receiving Special Jury Prizes: Jessica Beshir’s HAIRAT, and Arin MacLaine for her Performance in Laurel Parmet’s SPRING. The Animated Short Grand Jury Prize (Presented by Reel FX) was given to Rory Waudby-Tolley’s MR. MADILA.
The recipients of the 2017 DIFF awards will receive MOVIE MAGIC Budgeting and Scheduling software bundles from Entertainment Partners.
Jurors for this year’s edition of DIFF included: Filmmaker Magazine’s Meredith Alloway, Emily Carmichael (PACIFIC RIM 2), and Tommy Oliver (THE PERFECT GUY) judging the Narrative Feature Competition; Laura D. Smith (IT FOLLOWS), #CreateLouisiana’s Jolene Pinder, and True/False Co-Founder David Wilson on the Documentary Feature Jury; the Denton Black Film Festival’s Linda Eaddy, Film School Rejects’s Rob Hunter, and Keith Maitland (TOWER), judging the Texas Competition category; and Margaret Brown (THE GREAT INVISIBLE), Leah Meyerhoff (I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS), and Vimeo Curator Meghan Oretsky on the Short Film jury.
THE 2017 DIFF JURY AWARD WINNERS
NARRATIVE FEATURE GRAND JURY PRIZE: THE RELATIONTRIP
DIRS: C.A. Gabriel and Renée Felice Smith
NARRATIVE FEATURE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (DIRECTING): HEARTSTONE
DIR: Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE GRAND JURY PRIZE: QUEST
DIR: Jonathan Olshefski
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (ARTISTRY): SPETTACOLO
DIRS: Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen
TEXAS COMPETITION GRAND JURY PRIZE (PRESENTED BY PANAVSION): MR. ROOSEVELT
DIR: Noël Wells
TEXAS COMPETITION SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (DIRECTING): MUSTANG ISLAND
DIR: Craig Elrod
STUDIO MOVIE GRILL SILVER HEART AWARD (PRESENTED BY THE SCHULTZ FAMILY): CITY OF GHOSTS
DIR: Matthew Heineman
SHORT FILM GRAND JURY PRIZE: WHAT HAPPENED TO HER
DIR: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
SHORT FILM SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: HAIRAT
DIR: Jessica Beshir
SHORT FILM SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (PERFORMANCE): Arin MacLaine (SPRING)
DIR: Laurel Parmet
ANIMATED SHORT FILM GRAND JURY PRIZE (PRESENTED BY REEL FX): MR. MADILA
DIR: Rory Waudby-Tolley
THE 2017 DIFF AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS (PRESENTED BY THE ARTHUR E. BENJAMIN FOUNDATION)
NARRATIVE FEATURE: BOMB CITY
DIR: Jameson Brooks
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: DEALT
DIR: Luke Korem
SHORT FILM: NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT
DIR: Tim Mason