AFF announces the award winners of the 2011 Amsterdam Film Festival Van Gogh Awards.
This has been another truly remarkable year for the Amsterdam Film Festival. The contest received several hundred submissions representing top storytellers from over 20 countries around the world. The quality of the work that we had the honor of reviewing was simply astounding. Judging from among this exceptionally high caliber of filmmaking talent proved to be extremely difficult as there were so many unique, well-made and worthy projects. After several months of careful consideration, we present to you the very best of the 2011 competition.
The De grote Prijs van de Jury was presented to New Low directed by Adam Bowers (USA). A neurotic twentysomething struggles to figure out which girl he really belongs with: the best or the worst one he's ever known.
The Cinematic Vision Award was presented to The Greater Good directed by Chris Pilaro & Kendall Nelson (USA). The Greater Good looks behind the fear, hype and politics that have polarized the vaccine debate in America today. The film re-frames the emotionally charged issue and offers, for the first time, the opportunity for a rational and scientific discussion on how to create a safer and more effective vaccine program.
The Van Gogh Award was presented to Bert's Plan directed by Yair Shvartz (USA). Bert is a struggling middle-aged writer attempting to get his book published. Downtrodden and plagued with rejection, Bert comes up with a plan. In a twist of hilariously dark, ironic and serendipitous events, Bert's original plan takes an unexpected turn.
The Prodigy Auteur Prize was presented to Victim, directed by Leon Rowe (USA). Victim is a psychological thriller about a man who is plagued by guilt, anger and vengeance struggling with a decision that will change his life forever.
The Grand Jury Prize was presented to The Secret Friend directed by Flavio Alves (Brazil). A phone call can be a lifeline. Empty days are given new hope, but when the calls abruptly end a devastated Anna is compelled to surprising action to fill the unbearable void.
The Grand Jury Prize was presented to Der Sandmann directed by Peter Luisi (Switzerland). One fine morning, Benno finds sand in his bed. While he tries to ignore this at first, he soon must realize that he himself is loosing the sand. Day after day the sand increases and soon his time literally starts running short.
The Grand Jury Prize was presented to Wish directed by Kyle Milardo (USA). One boy makes a wish that will change live of many.
The Grand Jury Prize was presented to Happy directed by Roko Belic (USA). Combining powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research and real life stories of ordinary and extraordinary people around the world, HAPPY uncovers the secrets behind our most valued emotion.
The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Documentary was presented to Sharkwise directed by Lieven Debrauwer (Belgium). The movie takes place in the beautiful settings of Egypt, Mozambique and South Africa, where Marc Sluszny and his team prepare for the ultimate journey. Marc will attempt to dive with the Great White shark outside of the cage.
The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Dramatic was presented to Sofia directed by Shervin Kermani (Canada). In his final moments Joseph, an old reclusive painter, has a dream where he wanders through many of his memories. Over the course of a nostalgic odyssey, he encounters many images from his past including that of his late wife, professor, and a memory of his mother Sofia, a ballerina whose beautiful dancing becomes for the older man an image of redemption.
The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Short was presented to Return directed by Cyd Chartier Cohn (USA). Fred Sondermann was fifteen when he and his parents narrowly escaped Nazi Germany just before the outbreak of WWII. Thirty years later, he is offered the opportunity to travel and teach in his native Germany. Though the American political science professor is afraid of what he will find, he is also strangely attracted to this place of horror.
The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Student was presented to Landlocked directed by Jerry Melichar (USA). A well-loved Tulsa, Ok, high school teacher is forced to sell candy bars between class periods in order to stock her classroom with Marine Biology supplies. When accused of stealing from the fundraiser, an overwhelming tide of suspicion leads Martha to drastic measures in order to reclaim control of her classroom and her life.
The Special Jury Prize, World Cinema Music Video was presented to Corrupted Scene Behind the Stage directed by Ivan Mena Tinoco (Spain). Every one of us has a part that we don't share with anyone. The stage and the backstage as a metaphor of our personalities are reflected in this mysterious approach to the video.