Mark Grieco’s mining film Marmato (pictured) took home the grand jury prize at the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival, while Alan Hicks’ jazz doc Keep On Keepin’ On picked up the audience award for best film.
The 25-day festival kicked off on May 15 and featured 452 films from 83 countries. The festival’s Golden Space Needle Awards and Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision are selected by festival audiences, and the remaining prizes are jury-based.
While Hicks’ Keep On Keepin’ On - which follows the friendship between a jazz legend and a blind piano prodigy – won the Golden Space Needle Award for best doc, runners-up were Michael Rossato-Bennett’s Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory; Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker’s I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story; Isaac Olsen’s Strictly Sacred: The Story of Girl Trouble; and Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8.
Meanwhile, Grieco’s Marmato received the festival’s grand jury prize for best doc, with special jury mentions for Frédéric Tcheng’s Dior and I and Virpi Suutari’s Garden Lovers. A statement from the jury about the latter films noted, “We want to give special recognition for the aesthetic richness and cinematography of these films.”
In the short film jury awards competition, Amanda Harryman’s human trafficking doc Maikaru took home the grand jury prize, with a special jury mention for Manuel Abramovich’s The Queen (La Reina), a study of youth in exhibition pageants.
Finally, the Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision – given to the female director’s film that receives most votes in public balloting – went to Peres Owino’s Bound: Africans Versus African Americans, on the little-known cultural and historical rifts between the groups.