Press Release (ePRNews.com) - NEW YORK - Mar 20, 2017 - Founder Artistic Director Nora Armani welcomed the guests, filmmakers, International jury members, partners and sponsors of the festival, and reminded those present that the festival started four years ago to commemorate the brutal hate crime that took the lives of her beloved cousin Vanya Exerjian and Uncle Jack Exerjian. The Festival focuses on all social issues, and socially relevant film content, offering a platform to filmmakers who resist the sweeping waves of commercial cinema.
Armani specially thanked the festival sponsors and partners who were onboard since the inception of our festival, and those who joined in later. The grantors, who believed the festival’s mission, and endorsed it such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Left Tilt Fund, and the Dutch Culture USA/ and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Netherlands in New York. She also thanked the institutional organizations such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office for Film and TV Development and New York Mayor De Blasio’s Office for Media and Entertainment. She then read the congratulatory letter from Governor Cuomo.
Armani also thanked the hospitality partners, Serpouhi Vartivarian of Santatori, Areni Market, Eat off Beat and Courtney Sproule, La Colombe Coffee, Tequila Chito’s, Hemant Mathur of Sahib Indian Restaurant and LGT (Le Grand Triage), Eric Rydin, for catering and adding that important hospitality touch to the festival’s happy hours.
What is a film festival without great films and filmmakers? Armani acknowledged the wonderfully talented filmmakers who were present, and those who unfortunately could not make it because of canceled flights earlier in the week. “This festival is YOUR festival and it is created to become the platform for you to showcase your wonderful work and share it with the audiences who are keen on hearing these human interest stories,” said Armani, inviting filmmakers to stay in touch with the festival ‘family’. “The competition out there is tough and we thank you for braving the waves of commercialism and making Socially Relevant™ Films,” she said.
Ms Armani then thanked the dedicated festival team who worked for the long haul working tirelessly and with full dedication on a volunteer basis. She thanked the jury members, four of whom were present: Afia Nathaniel (filmmaker Dukhtar), Carmen Labaki who came all the way from Lebanon, Claus Mueller and Brigitte Gauthier from France.
The award trophies were the Gotham Bowl, designed and donated by Michael Aram, New York-based world-known metal designer, the beautiful scarf with the Festival Logo specially created by Anet Abnous, and the special label wines celebrating the festival’s annual editions, made and donated by City Winery.
Below are the winners and various award categories.
The Best Script Award:
Three out of the five finalist scripts were declared winners:
The American Dream, The Record, and Almast…The Best Documentary Short Award went to:
Africa Yoga Project directed Andrea Wing (Canada/Kenya)
The Best Actress in a Feature Film Award went to:
Jingke LIANG, as the mother
The Best Actor in a Feature Film Award went to:
Jun FENG, as the son
in Destiny directed by: Wei Zhang (China)
Both awards are accepted on behalf of the production by Jacqueline Si Shi
The Best Actress in a Short Film Award went to:
in Veil of Silence directed by Julie Gourdin
The Best Actor in a Short Film Award goes to:
in The Dead Sea directed by Stuart Gatt
The Women Film Critics Circle Award
is offered annually at SR Film Fest by the WFCC and was presented by Robin Milling on behalf of the WFCC to
2 Girls directed by Jeo Baby (India)
In addition to the Jury awards in the feature and short documentary and narrative film categories, and scripts, SRFF presented a number of recognition awards:
The SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival’s Varoujan Storytelling Award
was presented for the first time this year in honor of the founder’s father who recently passed away, and it went to:
Crows of the Desert by Marta Houske (USA)
accompanied by a $300 cash value across all categories, in memory of a great storyteller, V.A.S. Ekserdjian.
The SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival’s Brave Documentary Award:
The Toxic Circle directed by Wilfried Koomen
The SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival’s Pushing the Boundaries Award:
Roll Call: A Dance Story directed by Anthony DiFranco (USA)
The SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival’s Making a Difference Award:
Straight From the Pen directed by Paul Sutton (USA)
The SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival’s Best Ensemble Film Award:
Split directed by Deborah Kampmeier
The SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival’s Certificate of successful completion
of the Smartphone filmmaking workshop by Ching Juhl was presented to:
The Best Narrative Short Award went to:
The Veil of Silence directed by Julie Gourdain (France)
The Best Documentary Short Award went to:
Africa Yoga Project directed by Andrea Wing (Canada/Kenya)
Filmmaker Arthur Kanegis was invited to the podium to read Martin Sheen’s message to the festival and also show his Word Passport.
The world seems to have lost its way – filled with fear, exclusion and building walls. The amazing story of World Citizen #1 Garry Davis may be just the roadmap needed to find our way — to a better future! See the short film about his life “My Country Is the World” at the wonderful SR Socially Relevant Film Festival in NY – then watch for the forthcoming feature documentary as well. – Martin Sheen
A replica of the Peace and Justice Award presented two years ago at the 2nd edition of the festival in 2015 but broken in transit, was presented to
Guy Davidi for High Hopes his short film that the festival screened in 2015.
The Vanya Exerjian: Empowering Women and Girls Award
in memory of Founding Artistic Director Nora Armani’s cousin and uncle,
victims of a hate crime, that triggered the founding of the festival was
presented by Monica Mahendra Singh together with Ms. Armani and it went to:
Last Night in Edinburgh directed by Bita Shafipour (U.K.)
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The Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature Award went to:
The Chocolate Case directed by Benthe Forrer (Netherlands)
The award was accepted on behalf of the filmmakers, by Vera Kuipers, of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Netherlands
The Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature Award went to:
Prophecy directed by Zuri Rinpoche (Netherlands/Bhutan)
The award was presented by narrative feature category jury member Afia Nathaniel (filmmaker of Dukhtar) and was accepted by
Loday Chophel the lead actor in Prophecy who was present from Bhutan on behalf of the director.
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SR Socially Relevant (TM) Film Festival New York would like to thank the attendees and looks forward to the fifth edition of the festival March 2018. Submissions for the fifth edition open mid-May on Filmfreeway.com and Withoutabox.
For more info: www.ratedsrfilms.org
The Official Trailer of SRFF 2017
Press Contact: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi (929) 228 7663 [email protected]
or contact the festival directly at (212) 253 2022 [email protected]