Women Texas Film Festival
announces award winners
for 5th edition of the film festival
Larissa Lam’s FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH is named
Best Feature Film and TAHARA director Olivia Peace wins
the WTxFF Leader Award (Best Director)
Women Texas Film Festival today announced the award winners for the 5th edition of the film festival which concluded on Sunday following an enthusiastic virtual presentation. The awards haul was led by Larissa Lam’s documentary FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH which was named Best Feature Film, with Olivia Peace winning WTxFF’s Leader Award (Best Director) for TAHARA.
Women Texas Film Festival Founder and Festival Director Justina Walford said, “The virtual presentation somehow added to the immediacy of the moment with our screenings and Q&As and it was thrilling to not just experience each film without distractions but to also hear from so many filmmakers and actors and documentary subjects from all around the world right in our living rooms. And the films that our jury selected for these awards all shared the fact that they touched and inspired our judges to such an extent that they needed to be honored.”
The Feature Films Jury included CineCina Film Festival Director Vina Sun, Producer and director Jen Prince (QUALITY PROBLEMS, MILES UNDERWATER), and actor/author Christine Elise McCarthy (BH90210, CHILD’S PLAY, Bathing & the Single Girl).
The Shorts Jury included Oxford Film Festival’s Executive Director Melanie Addington Producer and Executive Producer Milan Chakraborty (PLUS ONE, ASSASSINATION NATION, MY FRIEND DAHMER, THE LIFEGUARD), and Hollywood Shorts Festival Director and Executive Producer, HBO ACCESS, Kimberley Browning.
Along with the award FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH will receive for Best Feature Film, Larissa Lam will also receive a shoot day at Dallas’ AMS Pictures, valued at $1500. Along with her WTxFF Leader Award for Best Director, TAHARA’s Olivia Peace receives equipment rental at Dallas’ MPS Studio, valued at $500 and a $300 Atomica Music Library Gift Card. The Feature Films Jury also chose directors Sharon Yaish and Yael Shachar for the WTxFF Radical Award for their film, A WHORE LIKE ME. Along with the award they will receive a $500 Atomica Music Library Gift Card and Final Draft, valued at $250.
About the award winners, Jury member Prince said, “I was so moved by FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH. It was such a personal story, funny and charming. It took me by surprise again and again. It is a special film.” Regarding Olivia Peace’s WTxFF Leader Award, Prince said, “What she (Peace) did with TAHARA was so exciting, fresh, and forceful and I can’t wait to see what she does next. There clearly was a great collaboration between her, the writer and the actors. It seemed like it was really cohesive around her vision.” Regarding the jury’s selection of Yaish and Shachar for the WTxFF Radical Award, the consensus was that the film and filmmaking were “Brave, mature, and extremely well told – Radical in how they treated the subject. There was courage in making that film.”
A documentary also took the top prize in the short film category, with Jessica Wolfson and Jessie Auritt’s THE PAINT WIZZARD named Best Short Film. Along with the award, Wolson and Auritt will receive a ½ Shoot Day, valued at $600 from Dallas Audio Post, Final Draft, valued at $250, and a $200 Atomica Music Library Gift Certificate. Tracie Laymon received the WTxFF Storyteller Award (Best Writer) for her GHOSTED script. Speaking for the jury, Chakraborty said they were impressed by “A writer that shows a confidence in theme and understanding of her craft that took us on a journey of the birth of a new relationship and how it’s forged from the remnants of the past we hold onto.” With the award, Laymon now has WTxFF bookends, since she won the Leader Award in 2018. She also will receive a $500 Wooden Camera Gift Certificate, and Final Draft, valued at $250.
A Special Jury Mention went to Amy Aniobi’s HONEYMOON, with Chakraborty saying the film “brings us into a new world of the common practice of arranged marriage in the world beyond India. (HONEYMOON shows) a couple’s journey to understand that the day of marriage isn’t a finish line but just the start.” A Special Jury Prize for Acting went to REPLICA’s Olivia Matas. Browning said, “The jury thought her singular performance literally brought us to the edge of our seats, holding our breath – without one word of dialogue.”
As with many film festivals in 2020, the fifth year for Women Texas Film Festival was a reinvention and new virtual approach which was embraced by the organization, which doubled down on the focus on films, filmmakers, post-screening discussions, and in-depth panel expanded talks which WTxFF has become noted for. It also added new “wrinkles” to the virtual presentation including virtual “red carpet” intros which included filmmakers like CIRCUS PERSON director Britt Lower introducing herself during an outdoor hike and FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH’s filmmaking husband and wife team Baldwin Chiu (producer) and Larissa Lam (director) being interviewed by their daughter wit the trio dressed up red carpet-style.
For more information on the Women Texas Film Festival go to WomenTxFF.org.
Women Texas Film Festival (WTxFF) 2020 Award Winners
Best Feature Film
FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH
DIR: Larissa Lam
WTxFF Leader Award (Best Director)
DIR: Olivia Peace
WTxFF Radical Award
A WHORE LIKE ME
DIRS: Sharon Yaish, Yael Shachar
Best Short Film
THE PAINT WIZZARD
DIRS: Jessica Wolfson, Jessie Auritt
WTxFF Storyteller Award
DIR/SCR: Tracie Laymon
Special Jury Mention
DIR: Amy Aniobi
Special Jury Prize for Acting