Tribeca Festival Taps War Films for Top Honors

The fifth annual Tribeca Film Festival presented a decidedly political and international selection of winners at its awards ceremony Saturday night, with three war-themed films taking top honors.

Tristan Bauer’s Argentinian/Spanish Blessed by Fire, the tale of a Falklands War soldier, won the Founders Award for best narrative feature, and Deborah Scranton’s American The War Tapes, featuring footage from US soldiers in Iraq that presenter Ken Burns hailed for its spellbinding brutality, took home the best documentary feature prize. The audience award went to Linda Hattendorf’s The Cats of Mirikitani, the documentary tale of a homeless Japanese-American who lost family members in the Hiroshima bombings.

This year’s thirteen-day fest featured generated more than 160,000 screening ticket sales, a more than 33% increase in industry attendance from last year, and more than $300,000 in prizes and screenings of major studio tentpoles such as Poseidon and Mission Impossible III.

Egyptian director Marwan Hamed was named best new narrative filmmaker for The Yacoubian Building and Turkish Helmer Pelin Esmer nabbed best new documentary filmmaker honors for The Play.

German actor Jurgen Vogel took home the award for best actor in a narrative film for The Free Will and Czech Republic actress Eva Holubova was named best actress in a narrative film for Holiday Makers.

The fest also featured several panel discussions, filmmaker events and record attendance for its annual Family Festival.

There were several honors for documentaries in the lengthy list of winners. Aliona van der Horst and Maasja Ooms’ Voices of Bam, from the Netherlands, earned an award in the new special documentary jury prize category. Three US documentaries also won special outstanding achievement in documentary jury prizes: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Jesus Camp, Stanley Nelson’s Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple and Vicky Funari and Sergio de la Torre’s MAQUILOPOLIS: city of factories.

Oren Rudavsky’s The Treatment took home best made in New York narrative feature honors, and Dan Lohaus’ When I Came Home won the NY Loves Film documentary prize.

Samantha Davidson Green’s Dead End Job won the Student Visionary award, while Nick Childs’ The Shovel and Steve Bilich’s Native New Yorker took home, respectively, the best narrative and documentary short prizes.

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