Urbanworld 2014 Festival Award Winners

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Urbanworld 2014 Festival Award Winners
Posted by Wilson Morales

September 21, 2014

Urbanworld 2014

The 18th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (urbanworld.org), presented by BET Networks with founding sponsor HBO, announced the awards for the screenplay, feature, narrative short, narrative feature (U.S. and world) and audience categories today. The nation’s largest competitive multicultural film festival screened over 70 films – including 12 world premieres; and concluded its five day festival with an awards reception hosted by Tony® nominated actress Condola Rashad (The Trip To Bountiful) and actor Stephen Hill (Draft Day) at Tribeca Grill Loft in New York’s Tribeca area.

Condola Rashad and Stephen Hill

“This year’s slate of winning festival selections truly represents a diversity of story and cultural relevance,” said Gabrielle Glore, executive producer and head of programming, Urbanworld® Film Festival. With award winners and honorable mention selections ranging from New York to Spain, Uganda, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago – Urbanworld’s international and multicultural imprint is further punctuated by these amazing storytellers we celebrate.”

The 18th Annual Urbanworld® Film Festival winners are:

Best Screenplay – NOOR written by Nijla Baseema Mu’min
http://urbanworld.org/screenplays (Presented by BET Networks – $5,000 Prize)

Nijla Baseema Mu’min

The Jury:
Charlie Jordan Brookins, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, BET Networks
Franklin Leonard, Founder & CEO, The Black List
Melissa Breaux, Talent Manager, Washington Square Films
Reuben Cannon, Film & Television Producer

Caught in the throes of trauma following her brother’s unsolved murder, a black woman develops an unexpected physical connection to an Arab bodega worker. A surrender to passion and a search for truth lead their worlds to collide, forcing a choice between love and integrity.

“Noor” is the story of two people bound together by overwhelming passion and personal trauma. Set in the vibrant Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, the film looks at a cross- diasporic connection that forms between two people on opposing sides of an increasingly changing urban landscape.

Faced with responsibilities to family and former lovers, they could let it all go for a taste of each other’s truth.

Best Feature Documentary – Lucky directed by Laura Checkoway
http://urbanworld.org/films/lucky

Lucky

New Yorker Lucky Torres hides a lifetime of abuse and abandonment behind an angry, tattooed exterior. Growing up in foster care after their mother left them, Lucky and her sister Fantasy have struggled with stability all their lives. While her sister has settled down, Lucky still hasn’t found her way. But despite being homeless, unemployed and a single mother, jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend, the compelling Lucky still dreams of true love and success

Honorable Mention – Sewing Hope directed by Derek Watson
http://urbanworld.org/films/sewing-hope

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe

The Jury:
Angela Northington, Vice President, Content Licensing & Acquisitions, Revolt TV
Geraldine Moriba, Executive Producer, CNN / Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, CNN Worldwide Jackie Glover, Vice President, Documentaries, HBO

Narrated by Forest Whitaker, this feature-film documentary chronicles the life of a Ugandan Catholic nun and her courageous acts to restore the lives of thousands of young women who greatly suffered from the horrors and brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerilla group led by the notorious Joseph Kony.

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe was a CNN Hero and the 2014 TIME 100 HONOREE, going on to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Time 100 Gala.

Best Narrative Short – Pitahaya directed by Albert Espinosa
http://urbanworld.org/films/pitahaya
(Presented by HBO – $5,000 Prize)

A boy comes to Mercabarna, the largest market in Barcelona, on a school trip. And there he will have an adventure that will mark him forever and really test his courage.

Honorable Mention – Sketch directed by Stephen T. Barton
http://urbanworld.org/films/sketch

Stephen T. Barton and Petur Sigurdsson

The Jury:
Artel Great, Founder, Project Catalyst / Professor of Cinema & Media, NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Marvin Scott, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO
Tamir Muhammad, Director, Content & Artist Development, Time Warner Inc.

Sketch is an autistic 13-year-old boy from a challenged urban NYC area in Brooklyn. Sketch communicates to the outside world with his gift for drawing detailed images of what he sees in his world. He uses his gift to help a detective solve a murder. Sketch illustrates hope, determination and restoration, even in life’s most challenging times.

Best Narrative Feature (U.S. Cinema) – Lake Los Angeles directed by Mike Ott
http://urbanworld.org/films/lake-los-angeles
(Presented by Fox Audience Strategy – $5,000 Prize)

Robert Sanchez

After crossing into the U.S. with no family to speak of, young Cecilia finds herself in the charge of Francisco, a lonely Cuban immigrant long separated from his own family. Francisco operates a way station for border crossers on the outskirts of Lake Los Angeles, a surreal, desiccated lakebed in the California desert. While he copes with the alienation of living alone in a foreign land and the impossibility of realizing the American dream, Cecilia aimlessly wanders the dusty landscape, accompanied only by her fantastical imagination and distant memories of motherly love.

Picking up the award was lead actor Robert Sanchez.

Honorable Mention – In The Morning directed by Nefertite Nguvu
http://urbanworld.org/films/in-the-morning

Nefertite Nguvu

The Jury:
Dori Begley, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures
Stacy Spikes, Founder, Urbanworld® Film Festival / Co-Founder & CEO, MoviePass
Tilane Jones, Managing Director, AFFRM / Array Releasing

In The Morning is about love and its inevitable change/decline. It charts the emotional anatomy of several relationships over the course of one day: Friends: Ravi, Fez, Bly and Amara, gather to bid farewell to Harper and consequentially debate the loss of their youthful ideals about marriage, fidelity, and love. Lovers: Malik and Cadence, meet to end a whirlwind romance that has collapsed under the weight of fear, obligation and regrets. A couple: Zuri and Leal, sift through the remains of their broken relationship as they try to make a life altering decision. For everyone, life will be indelibly altered in the morning.

Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema) – Los Angeles directed by Damian John Harper http://urbanworld.org/films/los-angeles

Damian John Harper

Mateo lives in a small, tightly knit rural community in southern Mexico. He lives alone with his mother and younger brother, as his father has moved to Los Angeles to provide the family with a better income, although he hasn’t been in touch for a while. Having turned 16, Mateo is expected to prepare his own migration to the city and joins a gang so that he can draw on their support in Los Angeles. To be accepted into their circles, he has to commit wicked crimes. One gang member in particular spreads malevolent feeling around the village, affecting even the highest-ranking men, while rumours of violent pressure being exerted on a young gang member in Los Angeles are put about. As Mateo begins to regret his decision and senses the danger waiting for him there, he starts seeing the village with new eyes, developing a sweet sense of melancholy for his surroundings and appreciation for its way of life. The older villagers still hold on to their ancient values, maintaining a healthy connection to their roots, each supporting the other in their own way. Director Damian John Harper shows a sure hand in avoiding clichés when depicting this angelic struggle against demons.

Honorable Mention – God Loves The Fighter directed by Damian Marcano
http://urbanworld.org/films/god-loves-the-fighter

Damian Marcano

The Jury:
Frida Torresblanco, Producer, Braven Films
Niija Kuykendall, Vice President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures
Nikkole Denson-Randolph, Vice President, Special & Alternative Content, AMC Theatres/Entertainment Ted Hope, CEO, Fandor / Film Producer

TRINIDAD – King Curtis, a vagrant on the streets of Port of Spain, is constantly ignored by passersby. He speaks and if he has to – sometimes shouts the truth about the stories behind the newspaper headlines. As the conductor of our story, King Curtis introduces us to a young man named Charlie…

Charlie, a resident east of the lighthouse, is trying his best to stay on the right path. However, with no job in sight, he is finding it hard to say no to other “opportunities”. A chance of redemption presents itself when Dinah, a professional streetwalker, crosses his path in need of help.

As the story unfolds, King Curtis reveals the ripple effect created by a person’s decision making; leading to moments of triumph and moments of tragedy.

Audience Award Winner Best Feature – In The Morning directed by Nefertite Nguvu
http://urbanworld.org/films/in-the-morning
(Presented by Panavision – $15,000 camera package donation of Panavision equipment)

In The Morning is about love and its inevitable change/decline. It charts the emotional anatomy of several relationships over the course of one day: Friends: Ravi, Fez, Bly and Amara, gather to bid farewell to Harper and consequentially debate the loss of their youthful ideals about marriage, fidelity, and love. Lovers: Malik and Cadence, meet to end a whirlwind romance that has collapsed under the weight of fear, obligation and regrets. A couple: Zuri and Leal, sift through the remains of their broken relationship as they try to make a life altering decision. For everyone, life will be indelibly altered in the morning.

Audience Award Winner Best Short – Sketch directed by Stephen T. Barton
http://urbanworld.org/films/sketch
(Presented by Panavision – $5,000 camera package donation of Panavision equipment)

Sketch is an autistic 13-year-old boy from a challenged urban NYC area in Brooklyn. Sketch communicates to the outside world with his gift for drawing detailed images of what he sees in his world. He uses his gift to help a detective solve a murder. Sketch illustrates hope, determination and restoration, even in life’s most challenging times.

Additional information and video from the festival can be found on urbanworld.org.

Along with presenting sponsor BET Networks and founding sponsor HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo was a premiere sponsor and industry circle supporters included Fox Global Directors Initiative, Cinemax, Interactive One, Panavision, MoviePass, Moguldom, RLJ Entertainment, the Directors Guild of America and AMC Theatres.


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