The Los Angeles Film Festival juries named Everardo Gonzalez’s Drought (pictured) this year’s feature documentary award winner, while audiences picked Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives and Searching for Sugar Man as their top non-fiction picks.
Drought is a cinéma vérité portrait of a cattle ranching community in Mexico. The jury said it found the doc “to be a film of extraordinary caliber – epic in scope, keen and intimate in its observational perspective, beautifully filmed and edited with a sparse and affecting soundscape. Through this powerful film, the story of a remote Mexican community grappling with a growing drought becomes a universal parable and an alarming harbinger.”
The documentary award comes with a US$15,000 cash prize for the film’s director. Meanwhile, the best documentary short film went to Josh Gibson for Kudzu Vine. Gibson picked up a $5,000 cash prize.
Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives, directed by Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore, picked up the audience award for best documentary feature. That doc tells the story of the midwives of a farm commune.
Meanwhile, Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul, took the audience award for best international feature. It tells the story of Rodriguez, a 1970s singer-songwriter from the U.S. who became a sensation in South Africa.
The awards were presented by Film Independent, the not-for-profit arts organization that produces the LA Film Festival.