Slamdance wraps up year 25 with Sparkies |

Slamdance wraps up year 25 with Sparkies

Nicole Brending's “Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture” took home the Slamdance Sparky award for Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize.
Courtesy of Slamdance

Slamdance 2019 Sparky Winners

Jury Awards

Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize - “Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture” (Dir.: Nicole Brending)

Honorable Mentions - “Cat Sticks” (Dir.: Ronny Sen)

Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize - “Kifaru” (Dir.: David Hambridge)

Honorable Mention - “Markie in Milwaukee” (Dir.: Matt Kliegman)

Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize - “Tungrus” (Dir.: Rishi Chandna)

Honorable Mention - “Las Del Diente” (Dir.: Ana Perez Lopez)

Narrative Shorts Grand Jury Prize - “Woman In Stall” (Dir.: Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli)

Honorable Mention - “East of the River” (Dir.: Hannah Peterson)

Experimental Shorts Grand Jury Prize - “Wayward Emulsions” (Dir.: Tina Takemoto)

Honorable Mention - “Applied Pressure” (Dir.: Kelly Sears)

Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize - “Shalva” (Tranquility) (Dir.: Danna Windsor)

Honorable Mention - “Bloeistraat 11” (Dir.: Nienke Deutz)

Slamdance Acting Award - Siyabonga Majola (“We Are Thankful”)

Slamdance Acting Award Honorable Mention - Aya Kitai (“Demolition Girl”) and

Lauren McCune (“Ready for Love”)

George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award Winner - Nicole Brending (dir. “Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture”)

CreativeFuture Innovation Award - “Bloeistraat 11” (Dir.: Nienke Deutz)

The Russo Brothers Fellowship Award Winner - Hannah Peterson (dir. of “East of the River”)

Audience Awards

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature - “The Vast of Night” (Dir.: Andrew Patterson)

Audience Award for Documentary Feature - “Kifaru” (Dir.: David Hambridge)

Audience Award for Beyond Feature - “Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story” (Dir.: Patrick Creadon)

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A night of raucous applause, supportive cheers, smiles, laughs, tears and Sparky Awards brought Slamdance 2019 to a close Thursday at the Treasure Mountain Inn.

Andrew Patterson’s narrative feature “The Vast of Night” and David Hambridge’s documentary feature “Kifaru,” while Patrick Creadon’s documentary “Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story” took home this year’s Best of Breakouts honor, which is awarded to filmmakers who have already made one or more features.

Jury Awards were decided by filmmakers and industry professionals and handed out in the Narrative Features, Documentaries, Narrative Shorts and Animated/Experimental Shorts categories.

The Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Features went to Nicole Brending’s “Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity in American Popular Culture.”

Brending, who made the film alone in her apartment with dolls and puppets, also won the George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award earlier in the evening. The award is named after a Salt Lake City film producer who died of cancer in 2017. Starks’ brother Jason gave out the award.

In an emotional acceptance speech for the Spirit of Slamdance Award, Brending remembered a music video from Seattle-based band Blind Melon, depicting a girl dressed as a bee and tap dancing for audiences.

“She gets made fun of, and doesn’t have any friends,” Brending said. “One day, she stumbles upon a field of (expletive) bee people.

“That’s how I feel about you, Slamdance.”

Producer Andrew Harrison Brown gave another emotional speech when he accepted the Audience Award for Documentary Feature for the film “Kifaru,” which was directed by David Hambridge. The film is about the Kenyan rangers who did all they could as they cared for the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, until he died in 2018.

“I would regret it if I didn’t thank everyone in Kenya,” Brown said. “These guys work 10 months out of the year for $20 a month. Their families are hovering above extreme poverty.”

Brown said “Kifaru” is about bringing an overlooked people’s perspective to a global conversation.

“This is what we set out to do – give a Kenyan face, a Kenyan voice to a frontline story – removing all (of) the Western narrative,” he said. “These guy are giving their entire lives.”

Special awards were also handed out Thursday night.

Those awards included the 2019 CreativeFuture Innovation Award that was given to Ninke Deutz for her animated short, “Bloeistraat 11,” and the second annual Russo Brothers Fellowship Award was given to “East of the River” director Hannah Peterson.

The CreativeFuture Innovation award is given to an emerging filmmaker who “exhibits the innovative spirit of filmmaking,” according to a press release, and the Russo Brothers Fellowship, named after the Slamdance alumni directing “Avengers 4: Endgame,” includes a $25,000 cash prize and the chance to be mentored by Joe and Anthony Russo.

Peterson accepted the fellowship remotely via webcam.

“I’m incredibly grateful,” Peterson said. “I never expected this. It means so much to me to be a part of Slamdance. Even though I wasn’t there, I felt like I was because of the community.”

Community was a recurring theme of the night. Slamdance co-founder Peter Baxter’s opening remarks touched on it as he addressed the audience in the Treasure Mountain Inn ballroom.

“You’re part of the Slamdance family,” he said. “We don’t ask for permission. We answer to no one. Each and every one of you has, can and will shape our cultural future. You do this by joining our community, coming back and giving of yourself. Thank you very much for showing us the raw, authentic, true voice of independent cinema.”

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