CIFF Awards Preview

March 30, 2014   |   posted in Festival Events


The Closing Night Reception is special evening every year. Not only does it mark the end of the Festival, but it is also an opportunity for audiences to hear the award results. There are two kinds of awards given out by the Film Festival: Juried awards and Audience Choice awards.

Juried awards are judged by panels of experts with special knowledge of the specific types of films being reviewed. For example, one of the judges for the George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Competition, Aleš Rumpel, is from the Czech Republic’s National Film Archive. And, all of the panelists on the Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition are established documentarians, themselves.

Tonight’s Jury Awards are:
George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Competition: $10,000 cash prize
Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition: $7,500 cash prize
Shorts Jury Awards Program: $1,000 cash prize

Attendees are accustomed to grabbing a ballot on their way into a screening, as most of the CIFF awards are decided by audience vote. Those ballots are tallied up, and the resulting scores are averaged based attendance to ensure a fair score.

The longest-running audience choice award is the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film. Roxanne T. Mueller served as the film critic at The Plain Dealer from 1983-1988 until she lost her battle with cancer at the age of 36. She was a great supporter of the CIFF and helped promote film awareness in Cleveland through her writing. This award has been given since 1988 and The Callahan Foundation joins us in presenting the award winner with a $5,000 cash prize.

Tonight’s Audience Choice Awards are:
Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition: $5,000 cash prize
Global Health Competition: $5,000 cash prize
American Independents Competition: $5,000 cash prize
Local Heroes Competition: $5,000 cash prize
Music Movies Competition: $5,000 cash prize
ReelWomenDirect Award for Excellence in Directing By a Woman: $7,500 cash prize
Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award For Best Film: $5,000 cash prize
Howard Hanna Audience Choice Award for Best Short Subject: $1,000 cash prize

The Short Films are always popular amongst CIFF audiences and the jurors are always challenged with choosing the best of the best. The shorts are screened and then the filmmakers are recognized and winners announced. Each award is accompanied with a $1,000 cash prize. From Best Documentary Short to Best Student Short Award, CIFF juror pick the winners for ten awards. The Best Animated Short Film Award winner and Best Live Action Short Film Award winner will qualify for the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards. One such winner, 2011’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, went on to win an Oscar.

Tonight’s Shorts Jury Awards are:
Best Animated Short Award* - sponsored by Reminger Co., L.P.A.
Best Documentary Short Award - sponsored by Jules and Fran Belkin
Best International Short Award - sponsored by MP Star Financial, Inc.
Best LGBT Short Award: Given in Celebration of the Life of Nikki Babbit – sponsored by Jan and Harold Babbit
Best Live Action Short Award* - sponsored by Anne Bloomberg and Alan Gordon Lipson & Judy Harris
Best Ohio Short Award - sponsored by Wayside Furniture
Best Student Short Award - sponsored by MP Star Financial, Inc.
Best Women’s Short Award - sponsored by Jinny and John Johnson
The Clover and Maggie Award: In Celebration of Life - sponsored by Barbara Hawley and David Goodman
The Spalding and Jackson Award: In Celebration of Joy - sponsored by Marcie Goodman

After hundreds of screenings, Q&A’s with filmmakers, a lot of popcorn, the CIFF says goodbye until next year.

Molly Drake and Lara Klaber

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