March 15, 2017 - 16:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The South by Southwest Film Festival has awarded its top prizes to “Most Beautiful Island”, directed by Ana Asensio for narrative feature and to “The Work,” directed by Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous, for documentary feature, according to Variety.
“Most Beautiful Island,” a New York-set thriller, is the directing debut of Spanish TV actress Asensio. “The Work” takes place at a group therapy retreat with convicts at Folsom Prison.
SXSW founder Louis Black, who came out despite being very sick, kicked off the show with a political statement: “You may like Trump, and that’s fine. … But most of you are engaged in a humanist battle for the soul of our country, and what you are doing is subversive, it is important, it is about bringing us together and not tearing us apart, it is about inclusion and not exclusion. It’s not about making films that sell popcorn, it’s about making films that save souls.”
Challenging critics who claim that SXSW has “gotten too big” or that the festival has “sold out,” Black insisted on the integrity of the programming team and complimented the independence of the filmmakers invited.
The jury gave a special recognition to “The Strange Ones” for James Freedson-Jackson’s breakthrough performance. The ensemble cast of “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” was also recognized, including Matt Jones, Eleanore Pienta, Will Rogers, Jonny Mars, Sam Eidson, and Jennymarie Jemison.
In the documentary category, the jury handed out a special recognition for observational cinema to “Maineland,” directed by Miao Wang, and for excellence in documentary story telling to “I Am Another You,” directed by Nanfu Wang.
The 2017 SXSW Film Festival screens 130 features including 84 world premieres, and continues to Saturday, March 18.