La Passion d'Augustine (The Passion of Augustine), a French-Canadian drama about a nun who runs a respected music program in the early 1960s dealing with changing times and a threatened government shutdown, was the big winner of jury awards at the 2015 Newport Beach Film Festival that ended its eight-day run Thursday.
The jury honored the movie with awards for Best Feature Film, Best Actress (Celine Bonnier), Best Supporting Actress (Lysander Menard), Best Director (Lea Poole) and Best Screenplay (Poole and Marie Vien). La Passion d'Augustine also received an honorable mention for Daniel Jobin's cinematography.
The Best Cinematography prize went to Eduardo Makino for A Despedida, which was the only other film to win more than one jury award as Nelson Xavier was singled out as Best Actor. From Brazil, A Despedida is about a 92-year-old man who says goodbye to all that is most important in his life and spends his final night with his lover, who is 55 years younger than he is.
La Passion d'Augustine and A Despedida were the festival's Canadian and Latino showcase films, which are among the hottest ticket movies and have special post-screening Q&A's and parties associated with them.
The jurors–documentarian Adrian Belic, producer Debra Martin Chase, writer/producer Debra Eisenstadt, movie executive H. Daniel Gross, writer/producer/director/author John Kuri, television executive Jennie Morris and filmmaker Abigail Severance–gave their Best Documentary award to The Chinese Mayor, which is about the polarizing politician running Datong, Geng Tanbo.
Jury awards also were given to: The Way of Tea, which follows a young skinhead into a French grocery store (Best Narrative Short Film); Growing Home, which had American director Faisal Attrache focusing his camera on a barber in a Syrian refugee camp (Best Documentary Short Film); and Lazia (Baths), where Polish director Tomek Ducki follows two elderly swimmers taking a deeper dive than usual during their daily swim (Best Animated Short Film).
Awards based on the ballots of audiences went to: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's dramedy about a high-school geek and gravely ill classmate who become inseparable friends (Feature Film); Who Am I – Kein System ist Sicher (Who am I – No System is Safe), which is about two computer hackers who find meaning and German secret service attention (Foreign Film); A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, which profile an extremely thin woman who is an anti-bullying activist (Documentary); and The Last Man on the Moon, which profiles Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan (Documentary).
The NBFF staff also handed out 22 "Festival Awards" culled from more than 400 films representing 50 countries. Attendance for the 2015 run was on par with last year's attendance of more than 55,000 patrons, the fest says.
The full list of award winners follows on the next page …
2015 JURY AWARDS
BEST FEATURE FILM – The Passion of Augustine
BEST ACTOR – Nelson Xavier (A Despedida)
BEST ACTRESS – Celine Bonnier (The Passion of Augustine)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Lysander Menard (The Passion of Augustine)
BEST DIRECTOR – Lea Poole (The Passion of Augustine)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Eduardo Makino (A Despedida)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY HONORABLE MENTION – Daniel Jobin (The Passion of Augustine)
BEST SCREENPLAY – Marie Vien and Lea Poole (Passion of Augustine)
BEST DOCUMENTARY – The Chinese Mayor
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT FILM – The Way of Tea
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM – Growing Home BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM – Baths
2015 FESTIVAL HONORS:
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: DIRECTING – Russell Crowe (The Water Diviner)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: FEATURE FILM – A Little Chaos
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: FEATURE FILM – Slow Learners
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: FEATURE FILM – Welcome to Happiness
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: FEATURE FILM – Worthy
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: FEATURE FILM – A Nightingale Falling
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: DOCUMENTARY – Fear No Fruit
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: DOCUMENTARY – Life In A Walk
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: ACTING – Alison Brie (No Stanger Than Love)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: ACTING – Pierfrancesco Favino (Senza Pieta)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: The Nature of Modernism: E Stewart Williams, Architect
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: CINEMATORGRAPHY – Tony Mirza (Eadweard)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: EDITING – Beth Moran (Sun Belt Express)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: SHORT FILM – My Bonnie
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: SHORT FILM – Bookin'
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: SHORT FILM – The Present
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING: SHORT FILM – Dead Hearts
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILMMAKING DOCUMENTARY IMPACT AWARD: SHORT FILM- The Soundman
MADE IN CALIFORNIA SHORT FILM AWARD PRESENTED BY THE CALIFORNIA FILM COMMISSION: The Haircut
MADE IN CALIFORNIA SHORT FILM AWARD PRESENTED BY THE CALIFORNIA FILM COMMISSION: The Forgotten
YOUTH FILM SHOWCASE AWARD PRESENTED BY CHOPSHOP ENTERTAINMENT – Love And The Art Of Frisbee Flight
2015 AUDIENCE AWARDS:
FEATURE FILM – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
FOREIGN FILM – Who am I – No System is Safe (Kein System ist Sicher) Germany
DOCUMENTARY – A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
DOCUMENTARY – The Last Man on the Moon