(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- The Montclair Film Festival (MFF) has announced the winners of the festival’s 2021 film competitions. This year’s festival featured four competitive categories: Fiction, Documentary, Future/ Now, and New Jersey Filmmaking. Additionally, the Fiction and Documentary juries also awarded films for the festival’s Short Film competitions. The MFF also announced the festival’s 2021 Audience Awards and Junior Jury prizes.
Feature Film Jury Awards
The Worst Person In The World, directed by Joachim Trier, was awarded the festival’s Fiction Feature Prize with Sebastian Meise receiving a Special Jury Prize for Directing for his film Great Freedom.
The Fiction Feature Competition featured Drive My Car, directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Great Freedom, directed by Sebastian Meise, A HERO, directed by Asghar Farhadi, The Souvenir Part II, directed by Joanna Hogg, and The Worst Person In The World, directed by Joachim Trier.
The Fiction jury was comprised of Bilge Ebiri (Film Critic), Richard Gladstein (Producer), and Zach Mandinach (The Gotham).
Flee, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, took home the festival’s top Non-Fiction Competition prize, the Bruce Sinofsky Award, in the festival’s Non-Fiction Feature competition. This award was established in memory of filmmaker and longtime Montclair resident Bruce Sinofsky.
The Non-Fiction Feature Competition featured Bernstein's Wall, directed by Douglas Tirola, A Cop Movie, directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios, The First Wave, directed by Matthew Heineman, FLEE, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, and President, directed by Camilla Nielsson.
The Non-Fiction Feature Competition Jury was comprised of Kahane Cooperman (Director), Richard Lawson (Critic), and Nancy Schafer (Producer).
What Do We See When We Look At The Sky?, directed by Aleksandre Koberidze, was awarded the Mark Urman Award For Fiction Filmmaking in the festival’s Future/Now competition, featuring a $5000 cash prize, honoring early career filmmakers. This award was established in 2019 in memory of the film distribution executive Mark Urman, a longtime Montclair resident, and funded through Montclair Film’s Mark Urman Award Fund.
The Special Jury Prize for Visionary Filmmaking was awarded to Jane Schoenbrun for We're All Going To The World's Fair.
The Future/Now Competition featured Clara Sola, directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, The Innocents, directed by Eskil Vogt, Poppy Field, directed by Eugen Jebeleanu, We're All Going To The World's Fair, directed by Jane Schoenbrun, and What Do We See When We Look At The Sky?, directed by Aleksandre Koberidze.
The Future/Now jury was comprised of Penelope Bartlett (Criterion), Matt Grady (Factory 25), and Genevieve Villaflor (Sag Harbor Cinemas).
Kili Big, directed by Ida Joglar, took home the New Jersey Films Competition prize, with awarded a Special New Jersey Local Hero Humanitarian Award to Mayor Mohamed Khairullah, subject of Mayor Mohamed, directed by Jeffrey Togman.
The New Jersey Feature Competition featured American River, directed by Scott Morris, Kili Big, directed by Ida Joglar, Life Of Crime: 1984-2020, directed by Jon Alpert, Mayor Mohamed, directed by Jeffrey M. Togman, and One Pint At A Time, directed by Aaron Hosé.
The New Jersey Films Competition jury was comprised of Reuben Atlas (Director), Dwight Brown (Critic), and Shivani Rawat (Producer).
The festival’s Audience Award for Fiction Feature was awarded to Belfast, directed by Kenneth Branagh
The Audience Award for Non-Fiction Feature was awarded to Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over directed by Dave Wooley
The Audience Award for World Cinema was awarded to Flee, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
The Audience Award for Short Film was awarded to Larry & Me, directed by Lisa Melmed
David Carr Award
The First Wave, directed by Matthew Heineman, took home the 7th Annual David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking, which honors a filmmaker, selected by the festival, who utilizes exemplary journalistic techniques to explore important contemporary subjects and is presented in honor of Mr. Carr’s commitment to truth telling in reporting.
Each year, The Montclair Film Festival welcomes our Junior Jury, made up of thirteen area High School students representing twelve area schools. The Junior Jury awarded their top prize to two films. The Souvenir Part II, directed by Joanna Hogg, and The Innocents, directed by Eskil Vogt, will share the award.
Short Film Jury Awards
Lili Alone, directed by Zou Jing, won the festival’s Fiction Short Film Competition, with a Special Jury Prize for Direction awarded to Nesaru Tchaas for Some Still Search. The Fiction Shorts jury was comprised of Bilge Ebiri (Film Critic), Richard Gladstein (Producer), and Zach Mandinach (The Gotham).
Happiness Is A Journey, directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan won the festival’s Non-Fiction Short Film Competition. A Special Jury Prize for Awareness and Advocacy was awarded to R.I.P. T-Shirts, directed by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis. The Non-Fiction Shorts jury was comprised of Kahane Cooperman (Director), Richard Lawson (Critic), and Nancy Schafer (Producer).
Safe, directed by Ian Barling, won the festival’s New Jersey Shorts competition, with a New Jersey Short Film Special Jury Prize of the Montclair Storyteller Award presented to Topaz Jones and rubberband., directors of Don't Go Tellin' Your Momma. The Competition featured films in the fiction and non-fiction categories from New Jersey. The New Jersey Shorts Competition jury was comprised of Reuben Atlas (Director), Dwight Brown (Critic), and Shivani Rawat (Producer).
“It has been incredibly moving to welcome audiences back to the movies and to feature the work of so many gifted artists who brought the world to us,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “We thank and congratulate every single filmmaker in the festival, each of whom overcame the profound difficulties of our recent times to share their films with our community. We look forward with hope to the continued impact their films will make in the year ahead.”
Montclair Film, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization connects filmmakers from around the region and world with audiences by presenting films and year-round programs that engage, educate, and entertain through the power of visual storytelling. The tenth annual Montclair Film Festival, presented by Investors Bank, will take place from October 21-30, 2021. Montclair Film is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all programs are made possible with funds from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, as well as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others. Montclair Film provides unique and meaningful ways to engage with diverse, creative, and sophisticated audiences and seeks sponsors for its signature film festival and other year-round programs that attract more than 46,000 annual attendees and generate more than 800 million media impressions yearly.