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Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, and remarkable independent filmmakers from around the globe highlight the sweet 16 celebration

Best Narrative Feature:


Honorable Mention: IT HAD TO BE YOU
Directed by: SASHA GORDON

Best Documentary Feature:

Directed by: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi  

Honorable Mention:

Directed BY: Holly Morris, Co-Directed by: Anne Bogart   

Woodstock, NY (Oct 3, 2015) – The 16th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Ceremony was held tonight at the historic Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY. The festival, which began Wednesday, Sept. 30, will close on Sunday, Oct. 4, celebrates 16 years of exceptional independent film, panels, concerts, events, and parties with the best of the indie film world.

The Maverick Awards Ceremony honored the exceptional films brought to the Woodstock Film Festival this year. Academy Award® winning actress Melissa Leo was on hand to help celebrate the bevy of talent at this year's festival, including honorary award recipients Atom Egoyan and Guy Maddin, two of Canada's most celebrated filmmakers. 

Guy Maddin presented Atom Egoyan with the Honorary Maverick Award. Egoyan's body of work includes theatre, music, and art installations – while delving into issues of memory, displacement, and the impact of technology and media in modern life. Among his films are the groundbreaking Exotica, the multi-award winning The Sweet HereafterFelicia’s JourneyWhere the Truth LiesDevil’s Knot, and this year's Opening Night Film, Remember (starring Christopher Plummer). Atom Egoyan then presented Guy Maddin with the second annual Fiercely Independent Award. Maddin has directed numerous shorts and eleven feature-length films, including The Saddest Music in the WorldMy Winnipeg, and most recently, this year's Closing Night FilmThe Forbidden Room. His most distinctive quality is his penchant for recreating the look and style of silent or early-sound-era films, honoring classic cinema while electrifying it with energy.

This year's ceremony featured the introduction of two inaugural awards, the Carpe Diem Andretta Award, presented to Waffle Street, and the World Cinema Competition, presented to Meet Me In Venice. The inauguration of the World Cinema Competiton Category reflects the global spirit of this year's festival, as WFF partnered with the Netherlands Consulate General in New York and Dutch Culture USA to spotlight Dutch cinema. This year's lineup features a superb collection of international programming from around the world.   

The Maverick Awards Ceremony also includes presentation of awards for Best Feature Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Student Short, the Animation Award, the James Lyons Editing Awards, the Markertek Awards, The Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award for Best Female Director, the Ultra Indie Award, the World Cinema Award, and the inaugural Carpe Diem Andretta Award.


The Maverick Award for BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE was presented by jurors Themla Adams, Stephen Lang, and Joana Vincente to:

OLIVER'S DEAL, directed by Barney Elliott

Honorable Mention was presented to IT HAD TO BE YOU, directed by Sasha Gordon.

The Maverick Award for BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY was presented by jurors Simon Kilmurry, Alan Berliner, and Sara Bernstein to:

INCORRUPTIBLE, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

"This remarkable film traces a journey from idealism to corruption in one of Africa's oldest democracies, asking the question - is power an inherently corrupting influence? What the leaders of the country do not count on is that -- in the end -- it is the people of Senegal who turn out to be incorruptible. Through unprecedented access to all the players, filmmaker Chai Vasarhelyi weaves a complex and thrilling picture of a country at the precipice."  
- 2015 Woodstock Film Festival Jury

Honorable Mention was presented to THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL, directed by Holly Morris, co-directed by Anne Bogart.

"A lyrical, poetic portrait of an unknown group of women in a forgotten land. The Babushkas of Chernobyl live mostly alone, in the shadow of the world's largest nuclear meltdown, surrounded by huge amounts of invisible radiation contamination. Strong and independent, their indelible ties to their homes trumps any health risk to which they might be exposed. A beautifully crafted documentary, this film does what documentaries do best - transport us to an unknown world and introduce us to extraordinary people we might never meet."
- 2015 Woodstock Film Festival Jury

The Maverick Award for BEST ANIMATION was presented by jurors Signe Baumane and Linda Beck to:

THE FIVE MINUTE MUSEUM, directed by Paul Bush

Honorable Mention was presented to RELIGATIO, directed by Jaime Giraldo

The Markertek Award for BEST SHORT NARRATIVE was presented by Benjamin Scott, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Nancy Collet to:

STANHOPE, directed by Solvan "Slick" Naim

Honorable Mention was presented to WELCOME (BIENVENIDOS), directed by Javier Fesser

The Markertek Award for BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM was presented by jurors David F. Schwartz, Isil Bagdadi, and Marjoe Aquilling to:

AGAINST NIGHT, directed by Stefan Kubicki

The Markertek Award for BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY was presented by jurors Hugo Perez, Cynthia Kane, and Jedd Wider to: 

ALL ABOUT AMY, directed by Samuel Centore

Honorable Mention was presented to NANEEK, directed by Neal Steeno

The Haskell Wexler Award for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY was presented with a special introduction by Haskell Wexler to: 

BOB AND THE TREES, directed by Diego Ongaro with cinematography by Chris Teague and Danny Vecchione

James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE NARRATIVE was presented by jurors Meg Reticker and Sabine Hoffman to:

OLIVER'S DEAL, directed by Barney Elliott and edited by J.L. Romeu & Roberto Benavides

Honorable Mention was presented to TOUCHED WITH FIRE, directed by Paul Dalio and edited by Paul Dalio & Lee Percy

James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE DOCUMENTARY was presented by jurors Sabine Hoffman, Katherine Barnier, and Michael Berenbaum to: 

THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL, directed by Holly Morris and edited by Michael Taylor, Richard Howard, and Mary Manhardt

Honorable Mention was presented to I WILL NOT BE SILENCED, directed by Judy Rymer and edited by Paul Hamilton

ULTRA INDIE AWARD was presented by jurors Lori Singer and Leah Meyerhoff to:

LAMB, directed by Ross Partridge

Honorable Mention was presented to BOB AND THE TREES, directed by Diego Ongaro

The WORLD CINEMA AWARD was presented by jurors Claude Dal Farra and Lucy Barzun Donnelly to: 

MEET ME IN VENICE, directed by Eddy Terstall

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE was presented to Roberta Petzoldt (Meet Me in Venice)


Linda-Maria Birbeck, director of THERE SHOULD BE RULES

CARPE DIEM AWARD ANDRETTA AWARD FOR BEST FILM was presented by Lauri and Jim Andretta to:

WAFFLE STREET, directed by Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms

FIERCELY INDEPENDENT AWARD was presented by Atom Egoyan to: GUY MADDIN

HONORARY MAVERICK AWARD was presented by Guy Maddin to: ATOM EGOYAN

The Maverick Award trophies are handcrafted by local artisan Steve Heller of Fabulous Furniture in Boiceville, NY.

The Sponsors for the 2015 Woodstock Film Festival are:
Gold Sponsors: 120 dBfilms,, Toyota
Silver Sponsor: Ketel One Vodka
Superstar Sponsors: BMI, Metrovision, Radio Woodstock / WDST
Award Sponsors: FilmsWeLike, Gigantic Pictures, Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers LLP, Lowel Lights, Panavision NY, Tangerine Entertainment, Technicolor/Postworks NY, Blackmagic Design
State Support: New York State Council of the Arts

The festival will come to a close tomorrow night with the screening of THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, directed by Fiercely Independent recipient Guy Maddin (Woodstock Playhouse, 7:30PM). The film will bring to a close WFF's annual five days of celebration of independent film, filmmakers and their audiences, taking place around the historic arts colony of Woodstock and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Audience Award Winners on Sunday night, Oct 4!