The 11th Annual CineVegas Film Festival announced its jury award winners at the CineVegas Awards Reception last night, where Jon Voight, Willem Dafoe, George and Mike Kuchar, Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago were also honored.
Festival winners included Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s Easier with Practice, which received the Grand Jury Prize; Godspeed was acknowledged with an Exceptional Artistic Achievement Award for Cory Knauf, Joseph McKelheer and Robert Saitzyk; and Jeff Mizushima with the Filmmaker to Watch Award for his film Etienne!
Additionally, the Grand Jury Prize for Pioneer Documentaries was awarded to Douglas Tirola’s All In: The Poker Movie, with a Special Jury Award for Artistic Vision going to Jessica Oreck’s Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo.
Kerry Prior’s The Revenant won the audience award for best narrative, and Ben Steinbauer’s Winnebago Man won the audience award for best documentary.
Feature Jury Competition
This year’s feature jury was presided over by indieWIRE editor-in-chief and co-founder Eugene Hernandez, writer/director Jody Hill, The Associated Press film critic Christy Lemire and film journalist Glenn Whipp.
The Grand Jury Prize went to Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s Easier With Practice. While on a road trip to promote his unpublished novel, Davy Mitchell finds himself falling for a mysterious phone sex caller.
An Exceptional Artistic Achievement Award was given to Cory Knauf for Godspeed. Directed by Saitzyk, Godspeed is an intense, dramatic thriller set in the lingering light of the Alaskan midnight sun.
Jeff Mizushima was also given a Filmmaker to Watch Award for his film Etienne! After Richard’s best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take his pocket pet on a bicycle road trip up the California coast to show it the world before he must put it to sleep.
Documentary Jury Competition
Producer/Director Heather Rae, Senior Editor of Features for Variety Sharon Swart and Bob Tourtellotte, editor-in-charge for entertainment for Reuters news service, made up the Pioneer Documentaries Jury.
The Documentary Jury Award went to Douglas Tirola’s All In: The Poker Movie, which tells the story of poker focusing on why one of our nation’s oldest games has had a renaissance in the past decade and why for so many people poker is a way to chase the American Dream.
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, directed by Jessica Oreck, was awarded with a Special Documentary Jury Prize for Artistic Vision. Working backwards through history, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo solves the mystery of the development of Japan’s cultural obsession with bugs.
Emily Doe, associate editor/producer for Wholphin, Denver Film Society Festival Director Britta Erickson and film and culture writer Stu VanAirsdale made up this year’s shorts jury.
Destin Daniel’s Short Term 12 received the CineVegas Short Film Jury Prize while Justin Nowell’s Acting for the Camera won a special Grand Jury Prize in Directing. The jury also acknowledged Markus Kirschner’s Communion with the CineVegas Nevada Short Film Jury Prize.
CineVegas audiences chose The Revenant to receive the CineVegas Dramatic Audience Award, and Winnebago Man to receive the CineVegas Documentary Audience Award.
The Revenant is a satirical treatise on friendship, regret, and the nature of evil under the guise of a rootin’-tootin’ vampire buddy movie.
Jack Rebney’s outrageously funny outtakes from a Winnebago sales video became an underground phenomenon and made him an Internet superstar. In Winnebago Man, filmmaker Ben Steinbauer sets out to find him.