Film Festival Audience Chooses The Year’s Best Films
The results of voting by Friday Harbor Film Festival’s audience members were announced on Sunday evening, October 27, at the grand finale of the Festival that featured awards presentations and screenings of the top-winning films.
Awards were also presented to the Local Hero and the Laszlo Pal Emerging Filmmaker. The majority of the winning films are about women, directed by women, which is serendipitous and appropriate, as women in film are being celebrated this year by many organizations.
These are the winners in each category:
- Audience Choice Award – Best Overall: The IF Project, directed by Kathryn Horan. The film shows the impact of an innovative program aimed at assisting incarcerated women to confront the circumstances that led to their imprisonment and help them on the journey to turn their lives around.
- Best Tales from the Heart: RBG, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West. This film focuses on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg; documenting her career and family life, weaving together an array of Ginsberg’s speeches and writings with a powerful interview with the judge herself.
- Best Explorer and Adventure: Maiden, directed by Alex Holmes. This documentary tells the story of Tracy Edwards’ journey from charter boat cook to the captain of the first-ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
- Best Things to Consider: The Zen Speaker: Breaking the Silence, directed by Robin Greenspun. This documentary shines a light on the dark world of sex trafficking and delves into the emotional and physical devastation survivors experience as they struggle to overcome their trauma.
- Best Short Film: This Being Human, directed by Aimie Vallant. The documentary follows young Iraqi immigrant Hameed as he tells the story of how at age 15, he left his war-torn country for his own survival and to pursue a more peaceful future with an education.
- Best Student Film, ages 13-17: Fading Sound, directed by Friday Harbor High School senior Blake Budwill. This documentary turns the spotlight on the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, investigating the threats to the species.
- Best Student Film, ages 18-26: Kill Your Darlings, directed by Connor Von Kuetzing. In this 22-minute film, friends and crew must talk a film director out of killing a heartless executive after he announces her movie will be recut.
- The Lazlo Pal Emerging Filmmaker Award, chosen by a panel of professional filmmakers, was presented to Katie Supplee for The Last Crop. Through an intimate look at the recession of a local, family farm in rural Pennsylvania, this documentary illustrates the effects of the recession on a farming community and what the disappearance of small farms means for the country.
- The Local Hero Award was presented to Orcas Islander Joe Gaydos, a wildlife veterinarian and science director for Sea Doc Society for his outstanding contributions to the quality of life in the San Juan Islands.
The Festival is grateful to all of our sponsors; providers of food, drink, SWAG bag items, and lodging; and the many volunteers who made the event successful. Thank you!