IFFBoston was proud to award an array of shorts and features, both narrative and documentary, at the 2019 festival.
Grand Jury Prize: Dios Nunca Muere
Special Jury Prize: Grace
Grand Jury Prize: Mickey & The Bear
Mickey and the Bear sets itself apart from the standard coming-of-age indie drama in its careful attention to complexity of character, community, and place. With familial roles in upheaval, and with circumstances and expectations ever-narrowing her path to escape, high school senior Mickey might become a martyr to, above all, her traumatized and grieving father. Yet glimpses of alternate possibilities and her own emerging sense of self provide Mickey with strength and hope. It’s this hope that we, the jury, responded to so powerfully: the sense of potential in Mickey against all odds, without easy answers. Great, humane performances bring that complexity to life, particularly Camila Morrone as Mickey and James Badge Dale as her father. Visual poems find beauty in small-town Montana, from its ranches to its community car shows, and in faces that are yearning, scary, caring, heartbroken, striving, defiant. A revolving one-shot dialogue sequence after a pie-eating contest stands out as the perfect illustration of all the strengths of this film: technical proficiency, visual acuity, and riveting performances allowed to breathe in a tightly wound, well-crafted world. It’s with pleasure that we give the Grand Jury Award to Mickey and the Bear.
Special Jury Prize: Banana Split
Leaving the Bechdel test and senior year in the dust, high school comedy Banana Split’s meet-cute happens when April ends up at the same party as Clara. The two young women bond instantly, which is awkward because April’s been Insta-stalking Clara, her ex’s new girlfriend. Delightfully obscene, prone to daringly stylized flights of fancy, and with a cast of characters who can pull it off, Banana Split is funny as hell and loaded with all the necessary ingredients of a teen rom com. But the cherry on top is its fine-tuned focus on a complicated friendship between these two young women, in turns competitive, goofy, and intimate, that leaves room for the levity of its genre to play with the gravity of its subject matter. Its generosity of spirit is comedy in the best sense.
Grand Jury Prize: My Father, My Farm
Special Jury Prize: Moment to Moment
Grand Jury Prize: Ernie & Joe , directed by Jennifer McShane
Special Jury Prize: We Are Radical Monarchs, directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing: EAT UP, edited by Rachel Clark, Co-Edited by Lucia Small
The jury was unanimous right off the bat in awarding the Grand Jury prize to ERNIE& JOE. This ambitious film pulled off excellent and artful cinematography in life or death situations and was expertly edited. We loved getting to know these two men both at work and in their personal lives. It’s a strong example of what a difference one person can make, while also not shying away from how far we have to go as a country to improve the mental health care system. From our notes, Ernie and Joe is “riveting”, “holy shit – incredible” and “a movie I’m going to tell everyone I know to go see’.
With additional thanks and gratitude to all of our sponsors for this year's festival.see all sponsors