Urbanworld 2017 Festival Award Winners

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Urbanworld 2017 Festival Award Winners
Posted by Wilson Morales

September 29, 2017

The 21th Annual Urbanworld® Film Festival (urbanworld.org), presented by REVOLT with founding partner HBO, announced the award winners for the best screenplay, documentary feature, narrative short, narrative feature (U.S. and World Cinema) and music video, as well as the audience award categories and the three Young Filmmaker finalists. The nation’s largest competitive multicultural film festival screened 80 selections and hosted numerous digital, music and spotlight events before concluding its five day festival with an awards brunch hosted by writer, actress and sketch comedian Robin Thede, creator and host of BET’s “The Rundown,” at Tribeca Grill Loft in New York City this past Sunday.

Kate Hudson, Ava DuVernay, Chadwick Boseman, Sterling K. Brown, Josh Gad, Gabourey Sidibe, Rutina Wesley, Kofi Siriboe, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo, Tamron Hall, directors Melvin Van Peebles, Julie Dash and Reginald Hudlin and singer Andra Day were among the many that appeared at the festival this year.

The 21th Annual Urbanworld® Film Festival winners are:

Best Narrative Feature (U.S. Cinema) – Varsity Punks – Directed by Anthony Solorzano

(Presented by Array – $5,000 Prize)

Honorable Mention – Alaska Is A Drag – Directed by Shaz Bennet

The Jury:

Angela Northington, SVP, Content Acquisitions, RLJ Entertainment
Jesse Collins, CEO, Jesse Collins Entertainment & JCE Films
Mike Jackson, Partner & Producer, Get Lifted Film Co.
Tilane Jones, Executive Director, ARRAY
Tim Story, CEO, The Story Company

Senior A.J. MONTOYA (Cody Esquivel) is his high school’s star quarterback until he breaks his hand. In desperation, AJ realizes that his only shot at athletic glory is to team up with his longtime rivals — the cross country team, quirky misfits lead by their feisty captain, ROSIE (Andy Bueno). Together, they have the potential to win big under the guidance of COACH MENLO (Efren Ramirez), a likable slacker who is chasing a big win of his own!

Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema) – Tourments D’Amour / Torments of Love – Directed by Caroline Jules

Honorable Mention – Catching Feelings – Directed by Kagiso Lediga
(Presented by ARRAY)

The Jury:
Gheeta Ghandbir, Award-Winning Director/Producer/Editor, G2P2 Films Moikgantsi Kgama, Founder & Executive Director, ImageNation Foundation
Rob Hardy, Writer/Director/Producer, Rainforest Entertainment

On an island off the coast of Guadeloupe, two sisters, Myriam and Vanessa, have planned to stay for a few days in the family house, where the sweet memory of their grandmother is still vivid. But Vanessa is not aware that a particular guest is expected for lunch. When she catches sight of her father, a cold and quiet man that she didn’t want to see anymore, it is too late to escape the confrontation. Around the table, unsaid things, provocations and blunders will lead each individual to face their own ambiguous feelings.

Best Narrative Short – Flip The Record – Directed by Marie Jamora

Honorable Mention – Big City – Directed by Jordan Bond & Ryan Lachlan

(Presented by  AT & T- $5,000 Prize)

The Jury:

Chris Grunden, VP, Film Programming, HBO
Christine Davila, Creative Executive, Scripted Content, Stage 13
Keith Clinkscales, Founder & CEO, First World Media
Tamir Muhammad, Executive Director, Content & Artist Development, Time
Warner Inc.

A little-known but lasting explosion of hip-hop culture grew out of the Filipino-American community of 1980s San Francisco. This film takes us into the beat of an aspiring mobile DJ crew in ’84. Vanessa, sick of the the constraints and boring piano lessons in her conservative Filipino-American household, starts teaching herself on the sly how to scratch on her older brother’s turntables. We follow Ness as she discovers her talents and place in the local music scene of the era.

Best Feature Documentary – Milwaukee 53206 – Directed by Keith McQuirter

Honorable Mention for Short Documentary-Waiting for Hassana – Directed by
Ifunanya Maduk

(Presented by HBO – $5,000 Prize)

The Jury:

Jackie Glover, SVP, Documentary Films, HBO
Leslie Fields Cruz, Executive Director, National Black Programming
Yoruba Richen, Award-Winning Director/Writer/Producer

MILWAUKEE 53206 chronicles the lives of those affected by incarceration in America’s most incarcerated ZIP code. Through the intimate stories of three 53206 residents, we witness the high toll mass incarceration takes on individuals and families that make-up the community. The film not only examines Milwaukee’s ZIP code 53206, but also illuminates the story of people from across the United States who live with the daily affects of mass incarceration.

Best Music Video – Can I Exist (featuring Missio) – Directed by Jeff Ray

The Jury:

Camille Hackney, EVP, Brand Partnerships & Commercial Licensing, Atlantic
Ron Worthy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Soulhead.com
Shawn Peters, Award-Winning Cinematographer

Separated during childhood due to the color of their skin, two friends are reunited years later during the Baltimore City race riots of 1968.

Best Screenplay – Pale Horse – Written by Chris Courtney Martin

Honorable Mention: Muted – Written by Brandi Nicole Payne

(Presented by BET Networks – $5,000 Prize)

The Jury:

Jennifer Mayer, Screenwriter & Playwright
Jeremy Pikser, VP, Writer’s Guild of America East
Kate Hagen, Director of Community, The Black List
Tamara Gregory, Senior Director, Original Programming, BET

Screenplay Synopsis:
Naia is a reclusive author living with multiple sclerosis. When her long-missing twin brother is found comatose alongside a fellow captive (John), Naia’s world is turned upside down. While allowing John to stay in her home, Naia prods him for answers regarding the circumstances of her brother’s disappearance. But John appears too traumatized to speak of what they endured at the hands of The Lamb, the unhinged religious zealot who imprisoned them – and still remains at large. As Naia and John find solace in each other, The Lamb terrorizes them in order to reclaim John, his favorite “disciple.”

Young Filmmaker Finalists

(Presented by REVOLT – All expense paid trip to REVOLT Music Conference, October 12-15 in Miami where the winner will be announced.)

The Jury:
Andre Harrell, Vice Chairman, REVOLT
Eva Marcille, Actress
Stacy Spikes, Founder, Urbanworld Film Festival

Curiosities of the Quiet Boy – Directed by Quran Squire

Laced – Directed by David F. Fortune

Sad Mobius – Directed by Kiho Song

Audience Awards

Best Feature – Shine – Directed by Anthony Nardolillo

SHINE exudes the power of brotherhood, love and redemption.
RALPHI MATAS returns to Spanish Harlem to develop commercial real estate in the Barrio he left behind after his father RAMON passed away. Ralphi encounters his estranged brother JUNIOR, who forces him to recognize everything he left behind.
As Ralphi confronts his past, his tenacious boss LINDA pursues the lucrative development deal that threatens to dismantle his beloved Barrio and childhood memories.
Ralphi is determined to reclaim what he has lost as a voice echoes in his mind: “we are connected from the very first beat to the very last echo.”

Best Short – The Tale of Four – Directed by Gabourey Sidibe

Cast includes Jussie Smollett, Dana Gourrier, Ledisi Young, Aisha Hinds, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney and Meagan Kimberly Smith

Co-written by Kia Perry and Ayanna McMichael, Lisa Cortes produced the short along with Perry

Inspired by Nina Simone’s song, “Four Women,” this narrative explores the inner lives of Aunt Sarah; bound and burdened by duty, Saffronia; who is searching for identity, Sweet Thing; who looks to reconcile sex with love and Peaches; who seeks justice for her son. Separate stories reflective of multi-faceted African American women connected by the inner city building that they live in, ultimately converge on one fateful day through unheralded acts of bravery.

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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