In 2003 at the 27th CIFF we launched our Someone to Watch Award series. The purpose of this program is to showcase the work of mid-career filmmakers who we believe are rising stars in international filmmaking. Over the years we have celebrated filmmakers whose talent has been embraced at movie theaters across the country and around the world. This year is no different.

PJ Raval

PJ Raval

PJ Raval is an award-winning filmmaker who is also featured as one of our Focus on LGBT Filmmakers this year. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, his films have premiered at SXSW, Sundance, and Cannes. Also a distinguished cinematographer, PJ won the American Society of Cinematographer's 2005 Heritage Award. His work includes the 2009 Academy Award®-nominated "Trouble the Water," as well as the Independent Spirit Award-nominated "Room." Named both one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film 2006" and one of Out Magazine's "OUT 100," he has also been making a name for himself as a music video director for various bands. In 2009 PJ brought his documentary TRINIDAD, about the sex change capital of America, to Cleveland and won our Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition. CIFF audiences will once again be able to enjoy this film, in addition to his latest documentary BEFORE YOU KNOW IT - the lovable story of three gay seniors in their golden years.

Before You Know It (USA)
Trinidad (USA)

Ché Sandoval

Ché Sandoval

Ché Sandoval was born in Santiago, Chile in 1985. A writer and director, he studied film at Escuela de Cine in Chile, where he did his thesis work and his first feature film YOU THINK YOU'RE THE PRETTIEST, BUT YOU'RE THE SLUTTIEST. His directorial debut was selected at festivals around the world, including Buenos Aires, Toulouse, San Francisco, and Cleveland at the 35th CIFF. Becoming a cult hit in his native Chile, the film received rave reviews and won a number of festival awards. His newest film MUCH BETTER THAN YOU is a spin-off of his first success and won the FEISAL Award at the 2013 BAFICI, the Free Spirit Award at the 2013 Warsaw International Film Festival, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the 2013 Sao Paulo International Film Festival.

Much Better Than You (CHILE)
You Think You're The Prettiest But You're The Sluttiest (CHILE)

Ryan White

Ryan White

Ryan White is originally from Atlanta and a graduate of Duke University's Literature, Film & Video, and Documentary Studies programs. For years he had a longstanding collaboration with eight-time Emmy winner Sherry Jones and was a successful producer of television documentaries. His first film PELADA, an award-winning documentary about a journey around the world to 25 countries told through the lens of pick-up soccer, premiered at SXSW in 2010. Ryan's second documentary GOOD OL' FREDA was a CIFF favorite last year and won the 37th CIFF Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film. Also one of our Focus on LGBT Filmmakers this year, Ryan recently won, along with his co-director Ben Cotner, the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at Sundance for his newest film THE CASE AGAINST 8—a behind-the-scenes look inside the high-profile case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage.

The Case Against 8 (USA)
Pelada (USA)


Previous Recipients of the CIFF's Someone to Watch Award are:

2013 – Nic Balthazar, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Tom Gustafson and Cory Krueckeberg, Martin Lund
2011 – Dave Boyle, Ed Gass-Donnelly, Lisa Gossels
2010 – Emily Abt, Jesper Ganslandt
2009 – Ramin Bahrani, Gerardo Naranjo
2008 – Brillante Mendoza, Helen Hood Scheer
2007 – Matt Bissonnette
2006 – Ann Marie Fleming, Hiner Saleem
2005 – Ronit Elkabetz, Catherine Gund, Khyentse Norbu, Hans Weingartner
2004 – Josef Fares, Gaylene Preston, Pen-ek Ratanaruang
2003 – Alexei Balabanov, Susanne Bier, Agust Gudmundsson

Become A CIFF Member >

Become A CIFF Member

We have five different levels of membership to choose from, so find the one that best fits your film appetite!

38th CIFF Award Winners >

38th CIFF Award Winners

Look through the complete list of award winners from the 38th CIFF!

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • foursquare
  • iphone
  • android