Hassan Fazili’s feature-length doc Midnight Traveler took home the McBaine Documentary Feature Award at the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival’s (SFFILM) Golden Gate Awards, announced on Sunday (April 21).
The film (pictured) follows Fazili and his family as they flee Afghanistan, forced out by the Taliban.
Fazili was awarded a US$10,000 cash prize for Midnight Traveler, which the jury described as “an incredible document that is beautiful and compelling. A true achievement of filmmaking and parenting.”
SFFILM’s second feature doc award, the McBaine Bay Area Documentary Feature Award, went to Sara Dosa’s The Seer And The Unseen, accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.
The film follows a “seer” in Iceland, someone who can communicate with the island nation’s fabled elves, as she fights to protect volcanic rock from destruction and redevelopment.
On the shorts side, Braulio Jatar and Anaïs Michel’s Where Chaos Reigns, about protesters putting their lives on the line in Venezuela, took home the documentary short award, with an accompanying $2,000 cash prize. A special jury mention went to Crystal Kayiza’s documentary short Edgecombe.
Elsewhere, the Bay Area Short First Prize went to the documentary short Enforcement Hours, from Paloma Martinez, about the experiences of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Martinez received a $2,000 cash prize.
The Golden Gate Awards were held at the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco on April 21. The festival awarded nearly $40,000 in prizes to emerging and established filmmakers across 11 categories.