The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), wrapping last night, culminated in its awards presentation, which saw the Grand Jury prize for documentary go to Jeff Malmberg’s Marwencol. In its statement, the jury praised Malmberg’s film for ‘its ingenious, organic storytelling and respect for its subject’ while remarking on the ‘amazing level of trust’ between director Malmberg and his subject, Mark Hogancamp. Malmberg also recently nabbed the HBO Emerging Artist for Marwencol at Hot Docs in Toronto. The Documentary jury at SIFF was comprised of: Patrick Baroch, ITVS; Michael Lumpkin, International Documentary Association; and MJ Peckos, Dada Films / Mitropoulus Films.
The Golden Space Needle audience award for documentary was a tie, going to Karen Stanton’s Ginny Ruffner: A Not so Still Life and Lucy Walker’s Waste Land. The four runners-up for the audience award were, in order, The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (Leanne Pooley); Wheedle’s Groove (Jennifer Maas); Brownstones to Red Dirt (Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker) and Restrepo (Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington). The remaining documentaries in the audience’s top ten were: Marwencol; Waiting for ‘Superman’ (Davis Guggenheim); Chihuly Fire and Light (Peter West); American: The Bill Hicks Story (Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas) and Mugabe and the White African (Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson).
The grand jury prize for documentary short went to Travis Senger’s White Lines and Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug. The festival also bestowed a WaveMaker special jury prize to Celina Chadwick for her doc, Celina’s Story.
The festival, which ran from May 20 to June 13, announced that it had broken box office records with a nearly 20% increase in attendance, making it SIFF’s biggest year to date. The fest screened 408 films in those 25 days, including 73 premieres (among them: Ginny Ruffner and Chihuly). The festival also featured its first 3D presentation with the doc Cane Toads: The Conquest as well as another first with Utopia in Four Movements, a special ‘live documentary’ from Sam Green and sound artist Dave Serf which was presented in a format that would make each performance unique.
For more information on the Seattle Film Festival, visit www.siff.net.