FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — November 17, 2017 — LOS ANGELES, CA — The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced the films that received the Audience and Jury awards at AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi.
“As the 31st edition of AFI FEST comes to a close, this year’s awards shine a light on the American independent, auteur and foreign cinema that resonated with our audiences and jurors,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, AFI FEST Director. “Audience awards help bring film lovers together, while building momentum for the filmmakers in this year’s festival.”
Audience Award – World Cinema
“The Insult” (DIR Ziad Doueiri)
Lebanon’s official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submission, this engrossing and unforgettable tale of modern life in the Middle East is a razor-sharp look at a country’s long-simmering resentments toward Palestinian refugees, and its traumatized civil war wounds.
Audience Award – New Auteurs
“What Will People Say” (DIR Iram Haq)
Iram Haq’s sophomore feature is a powerful story of a young woman growing up between two cultures, with no control over her life choices, who must carve out her own path despite a significant culture clash.
Audience Award – American Independents
“Bodied” (DIR Joseph Kahn)
Whether it’s sci-fi, satire, or race relations, Joseph Kahn’s auteur style defies anticipations. In “Bodied,” a white boy explores rap battle vernacular, immersed in a subculture that’s simply spectacular.
Grand Jury Award for Live Action Short
“Gaze” (DIR Farnoosh Samadi)
Jury Statement: “No good deed goes unpunished” is the phrase that stays with the viewer as you watch the film that captured the top honor this year. The filmmaker lures you in and then, like any classic thriller, hooks you until the final gasp — the low hum of a motorbike replacing John Williams’ iconic notes in “Jaws.” Underneath, the film is a subtle examination of class and gender in Iranian society.
Grand Jury Award for Animated Short
“The Burden” (DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr)
Jury Statement: A film whose stranded, unremarkable inhabitants convey the weight of the world through song and dance and reveal the anguish we all feel about life.
Special Jury Mention
“Silica”(DIR Pia Borg)
Jury Statement: We would like to recognize Borg’s beautifully composed, lush 35mm cinematography. Her blend of vivid landscape photography with microscopic and CG elements elevates this exploration of territorial constructs.
The Shorts Jury was comprised of Jeffrey Bowers (Senior Curator, Vimeo), Moira Griffin (Executive Director of Production, Creative Labs, 21st Century Fox) and Nathan Silver (director, “Actor Martinez”, “Thirst Street”). The Grand Jury Award winners for Live-Action and Animated Short, as decided by the Shorts Jury, will be automatically eligible for the Academy Award® shortlists in the Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short categories.
For the 14th consecutive year, Audi was the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST. An enduring champion of the motion picture arts, Audi nurtures new and established voices through its support of AFI FEST and beyond, including the Audi Fellowship for Women at the AFI Conservatory, a new full-tuition scholarship investing in the future of female directors in film and television.
The AFI FEST program included 137 films (93 features, 44 shorts) representing 53 countries, including 40 films directed/co-directed by women, 19 documentaries and 14 animated films. The breakdown by section is: Galas/Tributes (6), Special Screenings (7), American Independents (10), New Auteurs (11), World Cinema (30), Midnight (3), Cinema’s Legacy (9), Presentations (3), Retrospective (12), Youth and Family (2) and Short Films (44). This year’s program includes 14 official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®submissions and 24 films featuring 75 AFI alumni.
The many highlights of the festival included Tributes to Errol Morris and Aaron Sorkin; conversations with Sofia Coppola, Patty Jenkins (AFI Class of 2000), Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung, Martin McDonagh and Sam Rockwell, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Andy Serkis and Agnès Varda; the Indie Contenders Roundtable with panelists Sean Baker (“The Florida Project”), Richard Gere (“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer”), Salma Hayek (“Beatriz at Dinner”), Diane Kruger (“In the Fade”), Kumail Nanjiani (“The Big Sick”), Robert Pattinson (“Good Time”), Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) and Lois Smith (“Marjorie Prime”); and the Doc Roundtable with panelists Evgeny Afineevsky (“Cries from Syria”), Greg Barker (“The Final Year”), Kasper Collin (“I Called Him Morgan”), Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”), Yance Ford (“Strong Island”), Bryan Fogel (“Icarus”), Steve James (“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”), Amanda Lipitz (“Step”) and Brett Morgen (“Jane”).
Additional guests and artists who attended the festival included Judd Apatow, Jonathan Banks, Ike Barinholtz, Warren Beatty, Jamie Bell, Annette Bening, Ronee Blakley, Mary J. Blige, Alison Brie, Adrien Brody, Jim Carrey, Timothée Chalamet, Jessica Chastain, Scott Cooper, Elvis Costello, Tommy Davidson, Manny Davis, Francesca Eastwood, Peter Fonda, Ben Foster, Dave Franco, James Franco, Peter Gallagher, Andy Garcia, Craig Gillespie, Dan Gilroy, Melanie Griffith, Luca Guadagnino, Taylor Hackford, Garrett Hedlund, Bryce Dallas Howard, Josh Hutcherson, Kris Jenner, Spike Jonze, JR, Q’orianka Kilcher, Buzz Kohan, Thomas Lennon, Courtney Love, Jason Mantzoukas, Kate Mara, Helen Mirren, Jason Mitchell, Matthew Modine, Rob Morgan, Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006), Jared Moshé, Carey Mulligan, Marcus Mumford, Bob Odenkirk, Edward James Olmos, Haley Joel Osment, Ron Perlman, Sam Pollard, Bill Pullman, Dee Rees, Seth Rogen, Zoe Saldana, Paul Scheer, George Schlatter, Martin Sheen, Chris Smith, Sebastian Stan, Wes Studi, Michael Stuhlbarg, Donald Sutherland, Tamar-kali, Lily Tomlin, Leon Vitali, Jacki Weaver, Casey Wilson and Tommy Wiseau.
Sponsored by Audi, VIZIO, Dolby and HTC Viveport, this year’s Tech Showcase opened with a case study presentation from Eugene Chung, President & CEO of Penrose Studios, a startup focused on augmented and virtual reality. A special event was held spotlighting how Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technology and tools were used to bring THOR to the big screen. The Tech Showcase also included hands-on virtual reality (VR) technology and experiences for festival-goers in The Hollywood Roosevelt, and panels on VR storytelling.
Audi was the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2017. Additional sponsors included AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.