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Woodstock FF Announces Maverick Awards

The "fiercely independent" Woodstock Film Festival announced the winners of its Maverick Awards at a special ceremony on Saturday evening at the Colony Cafe. Eleven awards were given out to films in competition, as well as special tribute awards to distinguished honorees.

The Maverick Award for Best Feature Film was awarded to director Julia Loktev, for her provocative DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT. The film tells the story of a 19-year old girl, who conspires with three masked men, as they prepare her for a suicide mission. The men tell her precisely what to do, how to do it and then drop her off in the middle of New York City's Times Square with a bomb strapped to her back.
The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Prix Regards Jeune in the Directors' Fortnight section. It has since been screened to great acclaim at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. At the moment, the film does not have a distributor, but this and other awards may help it find interest from an arthouse company.

An Honorable Mention was given to the film SWEDISH AUTO, directed by Derek Sieg and starring Lukas Haas. Jurors for the Best Narrative prize included film critic John Anderson, IFC Entertainment VP of Acquisitions Arianna Bocco and veteran film executive Bingham Ray.

The compelling BEYOND ERUV, directed by John Mounier, won the Festival's Maverick Award for Best Feature Documentary. The film examines the life of a young Hasidic man who's chosen to leave behind the only world he's known, the ultra-orthodox community. The film is, at its heart, about transformation and the challenges that Moshe faces as he departs from his familiar community and enters into an unknown world and culture, a secular society. Documentary competition jurors included IndieWire editor in chief Eugene Hernandez, director Rachel Grady and film executive Molly Thompson.

Two short films were winners. UNIVERSAL MOVEMENT MACHINE: MESHELL MELVIN, directed by Kirby Hammond, won the top prize for Best Documentary Short. THE SHOVEL, directed by Nick Childs, won top honors as Best Short Narrative.

The Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography went to David Morrison, the lenser of the Sundance hit STEPHANIE DALEY, which starred Tilda Swinton and Amber Tamblyn.

Two awards for editing were announced, with top documentary editing honors going to Gloria la Morte and Joseph la Morte for the documentary film AUTUMN'S EYES, and best narrative editing awarded to Boogie Dean, Vinnie Angel and Arthur Wilinski for THE ORANGE THIEF.

As previously reported, the Trailblazer Award for independent vision was given to IFC Entertainment President Jonathan Sehring by actor Matt Dillon.

The Maverick Award recognizing artistic merit was given to two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple by actress-turned-documentarian Rosie Perez.

Honorees, visiting guests and locals then proceeded to the Skytop Lounge, a local landmark that sits atop a mountain with a commanding view of the Hudson Valley, for an evening of food, drink and salsa music. Revelers burned the midnight oil as the Woodstock Film Festival reached its satisfying climax.

Sandy Mandelberger
Festivals Editor

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