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The Golden Gate Awards at the 65th San Francisco International Film Festival


Image courtesy of SFFILM

This morning, SFFILM announced the winners of the juried Golden Gate Awards competition at the 65th San Francisco International Film Festival at a live-streamed event hosted on The Golden Gate Awards were created the same year the Festival was founded in 1957 and are notable both as a qualifier for films under 40 minutes for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and as a launching pad for internationally renowned filmmakers early in their careers, including Nadav Lapid, Marlon Riggs, Céline Sciamma, Jia Zhang-ke, Stanley Nelson, Tasha Van Zandt, and many others. The Festival made its long-awaited return on April 21, inviting audiences back into the theaters with a program filled with unique stories and perspectives from around the world and the Bay Area.


“The Golden Gate Awards have been an important part of the San Francisco International Film Festival’s identity since its inception, and this year for the first time we are devoting the final day of the Festival, Sunday, May 1, to encore screenings of our award-winning films,” said SFFILM Executive Director Anne Lai. “It's impossible to see all the films you want to at any festival, and we hope audiences take advantage of this special day to see the films our juries recognized. Get your tickets at” 


“I am delighted by the award selections and want to thank every individual who participated in our six juries to make the Golden Gate Awards possible this year. They flew in from around the globe, attended screenings in person, and spent hours deliberating over the winners,” said SFFILM Director of Programming Jessie Fairbanks. “In addition to this beautiful and exciting group of competition winners, we will announce the Audience Award for Feature Narrative and Feature Documentary Sunday morning and present encore screenings of those films alongside all feature-length award winners. We can’t wait to share those two titles with the Bay Area tomorrow.”


The winners of the 65th Annual SFFILM Golden Gate Awards Competition are:


The Golden Gate Critics-New Directors Award is given to a debut feature by an international filmmaker whose work exhibits unique artistic sensibility or vision. The New Directors jurors were Vulture and New York Magazine film critic Alison Willmore, senior editor and critic for Rolling Stone David Fear, former A.V. Club film editor and now founder of The Reveal Substack Scott Tobias, member of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle Zaki Hasan and freelance film critic Jourdain Searles.


GGA Critics-New Directors Award winner: Hit the Road, Panah Panahi (Iran)


In awarding this top prize, the jury stated: “Our unanimous choice for best debut feature is Panah Panahi’s Hit the Road, a raucous and big-hearted crowd-pleaser that’s also deft at carrying deep emotional and political inflections. As a family wends through the Iranian countryside towards a difficult destination, Panahi and his extraordinary cast capture their dynamic so persuasively that the laughter and heartbreak land with equal force.”


Honorable Jury Mention, Critics-New Directors: Sublime, Mariano Biasin (Argentina)


The jury gave special attention to Sublime, “...a deft coming-of-age movie that channels the intense bond between teenage BFFs through their shared passion for garage rock.”


GGA New Directors Award Winner screening of Hit the Road is on Sunday, May 1, at 7:30 pm at the Roxie Theater




For more than 60 years, a significant element of the SFFILM Festival has been its broad selection of acclaimed documentaries from across the globe. There are two awards in this category – Best Documentary and Best Bay Area Documentary. Films in the Bay Area Documentary Feature category are also eligible for the Best Documentary Feature award. This year’s Documentary Feature jury included entertainment attorney and producer Brenda Robinson, filmmaker Lourdes Portillo and Robert Chang, Coordinating Producer of America Reframed.


McBaine Documentary Feature Award Winner: Master of Light, Rosa Ruth Boesten (USA, Netherlands)


In awarding this film, the jury stated: “For its incredibly moving examination of an individual on the path to redemption, for its thoughtful look at the impact of the cycle of addiction and incarceration that can nonetheless lead to an outcome of hope, and for creating a gorgeously  stunning portrait of life captured during a period of healing and grace, the Documentary Jury of the San Francisco International Film Festival awards the McBaine Documentary Feature Award to Master of Light."


GGA McBaine Documentary Feature Award Winner screening of Master of Light is on Sunday, May 1, at 7:30 pm at CGV San Francisco


McBaine Bay Area Documentary Feature Award: I Didn’t See You There, Reid Davenport (USA)


The jury applauded the film “for its thought-provoking meditation and unwavering point of view. The Documentary Jury of the San Francisco International Film Festival is honored to award this film with the Best Bay Area Documentary Award for its powerful portrayal of a lived experience with, in the filmmaker's words, 'the legacy of being looked at, but not seen.'”


GGA McBaine Bay Area Documentary Feature Award Winner screening of I Didn’t See You There is on Sunday, May 1, at 4:30 pm at the CGV San Francisco 



The Festival is proud to have a variety of short and mid-length films in competition across programs. The GGA Short and Mid-Length Film jury consisted of filmmaker Brit Fryer, award-winning journalist Tre’vell Anderson, and Managing Director of Field of Vision Kristen Fitzpatrick.


Narrative Short Winner: Busan, 1999, Thomas Kim (South Korea)


In awarding the prize to Busan, 1999, the jury stated that the director Thomas Kim “brings you thoughtfully into the interior, both of the literal bathroom space and that of their mother-daughter relationship as they bathe and tend to one another. The care he has for his characters is ever present and allows the audience to enter into with ease, what might for some be an uncomfortable or benign practice of washing bodies while in conversation. His duty of care is ultimately what makes this a beautiful film about the release that comes from connection and being seen.”


Documentary Short Winner: Long Line of Ladies, Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome (USA)


The jury awarded the documentary shorts prize to Long Line of Ladies stating: “There is a particular care that oozes from every frame of this short about a culture and community the world should know more about. It’s a testament to the filmmakers’ skill and talent, which is buoyed by impeccable cinematography and astute editing to create an affecting, empowering and inspiring narrative at the intersection of identity formation and cultural preservation.”


Animated Short Winner: Sierra, Sander Joon (Estonia)


In awarding the animated short prize, the jury commented on Sierra: “Soft and gentle, but powerfully moving, this animated short takes a surreal approach to the universal story of a father bonding with his son. Perfectly suited to the style of animation used, Sierra is a great example of what this genre of filmmaking can be when done right.”


New Visions Short Winner: Listen to the Beat of Our Images, Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Maxime Jean-Baptiste (France, French Guiana)


The jury described their selection for the New Visions prize as: “An archival-based film that goes well beyond its source materials to create a poetic, futuristic, and immersive exploration of the feelings of being othered and displaced in your own home. The film focuses on the history and impact of the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana but it is not a mere restatement of the facts. Instead, the directors opt to meditate on loss and collective understanding which the jury found to be a beautiful way to bring dialogue to this lesser-documented history and perspective.”


Bay Area Short Prize First Place: Half-Day, Morgan Mathews (USA)


In awarding the Bay Area Short Prize, the jury stated that “Half-Day's strength lies in the confident direction and performances by its two young lead actors. The film showcases a complicated familial dynamic that director Morgan Mathews slowly reveals to us with care, craft, and creativity.”


Bay Area Short Prize Second Place: Holding Moses, Rivkah Beth Medow (USA, Japan)


The jury praised the work as “...the blending of their subject's life in percussive dance, performance, and Butoh to be a fantastic way to explore parenting and the act of patience. The jury found the honest and vulnerable revelations to be incredibly touching and a testament to the trust that these filmmakers established a generative process.”


Mid-Length Winner: The Time of the Fireflies, Matteo Robert Morales, Mattis Appelqvist Dalton (Mexico, USA, Belgium)


In awarding the prize to The Time of the Fireflies, the jury described it as “...a poignant depiction of the sacrifice many are forced to make in order to support their families. It’s a stunningly cinematic and beautiful film about the migration, reflection, and reconnection of one family that skirts an overtly political and formulaic narrative in favor of illuminating all the magic that happens in the space, silence and stillness in between movements. The filmmakers take such great care.”


GGA Mid-Length Award Winner screening of The Time of the Fireflies is Sunday, May 1, at 2:00 pm at the Roxie Theater



The Family Film jury was comprised of educator Smita Teotia and four-time SFIFF Golden Gate Award nominee Galen Fott


Family Film Prize Winner: Battery Daddy, Seung-bae Jeon (South Korea)


The jury praised the film for “...its charming felt animation style, unique storyline, and unexpected but heartwarming ending. What starts as a story about an often overlooked, hardworking superhero (of sorts) takes a delightful turn into a colorful celebration of family. We were enamored by the ingenuity of this South Korean film as well as its appeal and accessibility to audiences of every age.”


Special Jury Mention: Ocean Duck, Huda Razzak (USA)


The jury gave special recognition for the film, stating that it, “ a mysterious and moving film that is on some level about the reciprocity of familial love and caregiving. For children, this will come into focus as the film’s parallel storylines converge, while adults may be left pondering the broader mysteries illuminated by the film’s gorgeous imagery and animation.”



The Youth Works jury was composed of award-winning filmmaker Ellie Wen and SFFILM’s Youth FilmHouse Resident.


Youth Works Prize: Honeybee, Emilio Vazquez Reyes (USA)


In awarding the prize to this film, the jury admired it for “...its powerful story, deft camerawork, and impressive editing. Honeybee continues to have a lasting impact on us as we reflect on its crucial messages.”


Special Jury Mention: Unzipped, Jenna Miller (USA)


The jury commended the film because “…we were moved and impressed with the story and journey the filmmaker took us on in only two minutes. The angles and framing were especially impressive.”



The Cine Latino Jury Award was selected by director and producer Cristina Gallego, filmmaker Alexandre Moratto, and director Rodrigo Reyes.


Cine Latino Jury Award: The Employer and the Employee, Manolo Nieto (Uruguay)


The Cine Latino Jury chose this film for “...its nuanced portrait of the co-dependency between Latin America’s ruling and working classes. This filmmaker’s bold choices and narrative risks result in a film that’s at once riveting, unique, surprising, and insightful.”


GGA Cine Latino Award Winner screening of The Employer and the Employee is on Sunday, May 1, at 4:30 pm at the Roxie Theater.


Audience Awards for Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature will be tallied Saturday night and announced via email and on Tickets are available for purchase:


Audience Award Narrative Feature screening is on Sunday, May 1, at 1:30 pm at the Castro Theatre.


Audience Award Documentary Feature screening is on Sunday, May 1, at 1:00 pm at the CGV San Francisco.


We are thrilled to have Festival sponsors, Vimeo and Final Draft, who through their generous support will be providing special prizes to this year’s award winners.



For general information, visit, and follow SFFILM across social media:

Hashtags: #SFFILM and #SFFILMFestival

Twitter: @SFFILM

Instagram: @sffilm



2022 San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival)

Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival) is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. The 11 day event features a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, compelling documentaries, new digital media work, live music performances, and dazzling red carpet events. The SFFILM Festival is deeply rooted in the culture and process of film appreciation—film as an art form and as a meaningful agent for social change—and is an important showcase for the most searching and innovative films from around the globe. The 65th edition runs April 21–May 1, 2022.



SFFILM is a nonprofit organization whose mission ensures independent voices in film are welcomed, heard, and given the resources to thrive. SFFILM connects and inspires audiences, students and teachers, and filmmakers through film exhibition, youth education, and artist development programs. Annual public film programs include the SFFILM Festival which is the longest running film festival in the Americas, Doc Stories documentary series, special events with the best and brightest in contemporary film, and family programming. SFFILM Education serves more than 15,000 students and educators with learning opportunities designed to cultivate media literacy, global citizenship, and a lifelong love of movies. SFFILM Makers supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services.


For more information visit

This press release is available online at


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