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2014 Images Festival: Award Winners

Street basketball player throws a big shot

The 27th annual Images Festival, which was held in Toronto on April 10-19, has announced their award winners. Ten awards were given out to both seasoned filmmakers, as well as several student awards. The festival jury consisted of Shai Heredia, Heather Keung and Roxanne Sayegh.

One of the big winners was Brett Kashmere, who won the Deluxe Cinematic Vision Award for his basketball documentary From Deep. This win for Kashmere comes hot on the heels of his publishing the acclaimed fourth issue of INCITE! Journal of Experimental Cinema, so it’s been a great couple of this fantastically talented filmmaker and underground film historian.

Other big winners of the festival include Benjamin Pearson, who won the prestigious Images Prize for his experimental narrative Former Models; Brigid McCaffrey, who won the Marion McMahon Award for her film Paradise Springs; and student filmmakers Jacob Robinson and Kelvin Brown from the Royal College of Art in the UK for their short film Dry Stone Waller.

The full list of winners is below, and includes jury statements regarding each film, plus descriptions of what each award is specifically meant to honor.

Images Prize
Former Models, dir. Benjamin Pearson
Through an experimental narrative that explores the fabrication of a pop cultural icon using side-splitting 80s music videos and found media, this film underlines the fantasy that led to the rise and tragic fall of Milli Vanilli band member Robert Pilatus.

Sponsored by Jason Sacha, entertainment lawyer and filmmaker. This is the Grand Prize of the festival, awarded in recognition of the Best Canadian Media Artwork. The recipient receives a $1,000 prize.

Deluxe Cinematic Vision Award
From Deep, dir. Brett Kashmere
As an extensively researched exploration of racial cultural dynamics played out in the sporting arena and on the street, this film essay weaves an impressive tapestry of archival music, mainstream media and cinema allowing us to reflect on the construction of historical narrative.

This prize is sponsored by Deluxe Postproduction and honours excellence and innovation in the visual realization of work by a Canadian film or video artist. The recipient receives $2,500 in post-production services from Deluxe.

On Screen Award
Aykan Safoglu, dir. Off-White Tulips
Through the simple, and yet sophisticated, composition of still/moving images, this film is an extremely powerful, personal and poetic exploration of race and identity.

The Best On Screen award honours the strongest new On Screen (film/video) project in the festival. The recipient receives a $500 prize courtesy Images.

OCAD University Off Screen Award
Cinema chez les Balantes, dir. Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc
For bringing back to life an unachieved and censored film project from the 70s and taking us on a trip to the heart of Guinea-Bissau’s Balanta peoples’ uprising against Portuguese colonialism, this installation constructs a rich reading of history through multiple layered narratives and slides.

Sponsored by the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU), this award honours the strongest new Canadian or international installation or new media work in the festival. The recipient receives a $500 prize.

Steam Whistle Homebrew Award
BAMBITCHELL, dir. Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Mitchell
For drawing attention to the increasingly restrictive Canadian immigration processes, this project uses real propaganda videos, karaoke text, and calls on its viewers to perform the role of the “cooperative citizen.”

Sponsored by Steam Whistle Brewing, this award honours excellence and promise in a local artist. The recipient receives $500 and a Steam Whistle Prize Package.

A group of children yell at an unseen figure

Overkill Award
Loubia Hamra (Bloody Beans), dir. Narimane Mari
For immersing us in a children’s imaginary world, referencing to Algeria’s colonial past, this film uses choreography, shadow-play, non-professional actors and a powerful soundtrack in a playful and original manner, bringing a new perspective to cinematic practices.

Established in 2000 to honour former Executive Director Deirdre Logue, this award is presented annually to an artist whose work approaches extremes of incorrigibility through form and/or content and challenges our notions of experimental practice. Sponsored by an anonymous donor, the recipient receives a $500 prize.

Marian McMahon Award
Paradise Springs, dir. Brigid McCaffrey
A delicately constructed portrait of one woman’s intimate connection with the rhythm of the desert, this film is an exploration of the fragility of humanity, and its interdependence with nature.

Sponsored by Akimbo Art Promotions with film stock support from Kodak Canada. This award is given to a woman filmmaker each year to honour strong work in autobiography, complexity of “subject” and the spirit of Marian McMahon. The recipient is funded to attend the annual Independent Imaging Filmmaking retreat and workshop in Mount Forest, Ontario.

York University Award for Best Student Film
Dry Stone Waller, dir. Jacob Robinson and Kelvin Brown (Royal College of Art, UK)

Sponsored by York University’s Department of Film, the recipient receives a $500 award courtesty York and $250 worth of transfer services courtesy of Frame Discreet. The recipient is determined by audience vote.

Vtape Award for Best Student Video
A Story of Elusive Snow, dir. Minha Park (Cal Arts, USA, based in Seoul)
Sponsored by Vtape, Toronto’s video art distributor, this award includes a $500 prize courtesy Vtape and $250 worth of transfer services courtesy of Frame Discreet. The recipient is determined by audience vote.

Tom Berner Award
Andrew James Paterson
The 2014 Tom berner Award is presented to Andrew James Paterson who has had a significant impact on the Toronto media arts scene over the past three decades, producing a prolific body of work, complemented by his work in fiction and critical writing. Paterson has worked hard to support emerging voices in the media arts sector not only in his capacity as a critic and mentor, but in recent years as the Coordinator of the 8 fest small-gauge film festival and as a steadfast presence at local screenings. Paterson is a great example of the inseparability of artistic innovation and commitment to the development of an independent and experimental art scene.

This award, sponsored by LIFT (The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto) and Images and selected via an open call for nominations, commemorates the late Tom Berner, who for many years supported and nurtured Canadian filmmakers. The award is presented annually to an individual who has provided extraordinary support to the cause of independent filmmaking in Toronto.