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By Mark Bell | January 27, 2012

Another year of Slamdance is in the books, and the award winners from the 2012 film festival have been announced with Getting Up, Bindlestiffs, No Ashes, No Phoenix, Welcome to Pine Hill and Heavy Girls among the Sparky recipients. From the official press release:

The 18th Annual Slamdance Film Festival tonight announced the feature film and short film recipients of this year’s awards in the Audience, Grand Jury, and Sponsored Award categories. The award winners were announced at the annual Closing Night Awards Ceremony at the Treasure Mountain Inn.

As in previous years, juries of leading industry experts and esteemed filmmakers determine the Slamdance Jury Awards for Feature Narrative, Feature Documentary, and Short Film categories. Audience and Sponsored Awards, and the Spirit of Slamdance Award are also bestowed. The feature competition films in the Documentary and Narrative Programs are limited to first-time filmmakers working with production budgets less than $1 million.

“What a great way to end Slamdance’s 18th festival – by celebrating the films our excellent jurors and incredible audiences have awarded these emerging filmmakers,” said Peter Baxter, Co-Founder and President of Slamdance. “This years narrative and documentary competitions are stronger than ever, and these filmmakers represent the vanguard of true independent filmmaking.”

Audience Award for Feature Documentary: GETTING UP by Caskey Ebeling
Audience Award for Feature Narrative: BINDLESTIFFS by Andrew Edison

This year’s Slamdance Narrative Jury Prizes were selected by an esteemed panel of industry members: filmmakers Karin Chien and Jason McHugh, and film distribution executive Orly Ravid.

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Narrative: WELCOME TO PINE HILL by Keith Miller, “for its poetic and emotionally honest depiction of one man’s final journey in life, crafted from a true spirit of humanity and community.”

Special Jury Award for Bold Originality: HEAVY GIRLS by Axel Ranisch, “for its joie de vivre, an incredibly life-affirming film that is presented with a unique vision and an amazing cast.”

The Documentary Jury—comprised of journalist Mark Bell, filmmakers Aaron Marshall and Kelly Williams—announced the awards with their statements:

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Documentary: NO ASHES, NO PHOENIX by Jens Pfeifer, “for its adeptly piercing and cinematic look at a basketball team’s impassioned struggle not for glory, but to just avoid losing.”

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Short Documentary: THE PROFESSIONAL by Skylar Neilsen, for “an honest and natural portrayal of work-as-life, and the slowly disappearing craft of an American working man.”

This year’s Short Film Jury Prizes were selected by an esteemed panel of industry members: Iranian-American filmmaker/curator Ehsan Ghoreishi, writer / filmmaker Oona Mekas, and filmmaker and stage veteran Jack Truman.

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Animation: VENUS by Tor Fruergaard, “for its creative use of claymation characters to explore sexual adventure and its lighthearted, touching and memorable story.”

Grand Jury Sparky Award for Short Film: I AM JOHN WAYNE by Christina Choe, “for its unique storytelling, cinematography and performances, including the brilliant use of a real horse in an urban environment.”

Special Jury Prize for Experimental Short: SOLIPSIST by Andrew Huang, “for its unique blend of live action footage of the human body, puppetry and computer animation that creates a colorful and insightful fantasy world.”

Honorable Mention for Best Ensemble: I’M COMING OVER by Sam Handel, “for its extraordinary ensemble which creates a world that extends beyond the film’s 25 minute length.”

Spirit of Slamdance Sparky Award: HEAVY GIRLS (Dicke Mädchen) – Axel Ranisch, Heiko Pinkowski, Anne Baeker. Awarded by the Class of 2012 Slamdance Filmmakers to the film team that best embodies the creative, independent, and entrepreneurial spirit of the festival, as well as showing exceptional talent as artists.

The Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography: FAITH, LOVE AND WHISKEY by Kristina Nikolova, “for shooting every single frame of this picture in a way that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also strongly supportive to the story being told.”

Panasonic AF100 Award for ‘The Five Flavors of Filmmaking’ Competition: JOSH GIBSON, director of the short film Kudzu Vine. Five filmmaking teams created one-minute films during the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival. The winning team exemplifies excellence in visual storytelling and receives a Panasonic AF100 Camera Package.

The 2012 Slamdance Film Festival Awards are sponsored by Kodak, Panasonic, Good Health and Pierce Law Group.

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