CIFF ’16: “Cameraperson,” “Sonita” take prizes

Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson and Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami's Sonita took best doc feature and the audience award, respectively, at the 2016 Camden International Film Festival.
September 23, 2016

Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson and Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Sonita took home Best Documentary Feature and the Audience Award, respectively, at the 2016 Camden International Film Festival.

The 12th edition of the Maine-based doc and shorts festival ran Sept. 15 to 18, with prizes presented at the closing night awards ceremony to four documentary features, one doc short and the Points North Pitch winner, as well as the Conservation Media Group Action Grant.

CIFF hosted their annual Awards Ceremony, presenting four awards for documentary features and one for a documentary short, in addition to its Points North Pitch Award and CMG Action Grant.

The 2016 Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature went to Johnson for Cameraperson (pictured), in which the cinematographer points the camera at her own career. A special jury mention was presented to Estephan Wagner and Moritz Siebert’s Those Who Jump, an intimate look at a group of men from various countries in Africa looking to make their way into Europe.

This year’s feature doc jury was comprised of Tribeca Film Institute’s Amy Hobby, filmmaker Chico Colvard and Catapult Film Fund’s Lisa Kleiner Chanoff.

Maghami’s Sonita claimed the Audience Award. The film shadows an 18-year-old Afghan refugee and aspiring rapper as her family attempts to sell her to an unknown husband for US$9,000.

Meanwhile, Laura Viezzoli’s The Nature of Things (La Natura Delle Cose) took home the Emerging Cinematic Vision Award, with a special jury mention going to Brett Story‘s The Prison In Twelve Landscapes. Jurors for the prize were Union Docs’ Christopher Allen, Cinereach’s Leah Giblin and RIDM’s Samara Grace Chadwick.

The John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media went to Alexander Kuznetsov’s Liberation: The User’s Guide. The jury consisted of Documentary Educational Resources’ Alice Apley, Alijah Case, Ilisa Barbash, Ernst Karel and Irina Leimbacher.

Elsewhere, the Camden Cartel Award for Best Short was handed out to Jarrod Welling-Cann and Erick Stoll’s Good White People, with a special jury mention to Melissa Langer‘s My Aleppo. Good White People will now be eligible to enter the Documentary Short Subject competition for the Academy Awards.

The winner of the 2016 Points North Pitch Award and Modulus Finishing Fund was Assia Boundaoui‘s The Feeling of Being Watched. The prize includes 60 hours of free sound mix or color correction services from Boston-based Modulus Studios worth approximately $10,000.

Finally, the CMG Action Grant Pitch – which supports filmmakers using video to “create measurable action in ocean conservation or sustainable energy” – grant has been awarded to Alex Finn’s Whale Heritage Sites ($10,000).

Dates for the 2017 Camden International Film Festival – taking place in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine – will be announced later this fall. Submissions will open in January 2017.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.