Awards for 2014

Gold Hugo

IN-COMPETITION

New Directors Competition

WINNERS

Underdog: Ronnie Sandahl (director) (Cinenic Film (production company), Hummelfilm (production company), Anagram Film (production company))

Underdog: Ronnie Sandahl
The Gold Hugo goes to "Underdog" (Sweden), a modern take on class conflict that keeps its focus on its believable characters instead of highlighting the melodrama inherent in its narrative. When a young Swedish woman named Dino begins working for a successful Norwegian man named Steffen, the consistently genuine performances and Ronnie Sandahl's mature handling of difficult themes allow the film to resonate. It is a film that both addresses specific cultural issues and yet feels simultaneously universal through its honesty. Director: Ronnie Sandahl.

IN-COMPETITION





Short Film

IN-COMPETITION

Best Short Film

WINNER

Amasone: Marianne O. Ulrichsen
The Gold Hugo for Best Short Film goes to "Amazon" (Norway). Marianne O. Ulrichsen's "Amazon" finds its power in contrasting the small heartbreaks of childhood against the vast beauty of the Norwegian landscape. This coming of age story, involving shifting vulnerabilities and eventual connection between two young girls, pulses with life, buoyed by the human performances of its two young actors and the breathtaking cinematography of Annika Summerson. The lyrical short film captures and celebrates the undefined possibilities inherent in liminal spaces: those unscheduled afternoons, new meetings and open landscapes that lead to self-discovery. Director: Marianne O. Ulrichsen.

IN-COMPETITION




















































Best Documentary

WINNER

Eco de la montaña: Nicolás Echevarría
The Gold Hugo goes to "Echo of the Mountain" (Mexico). Through extremely intricate artistic works, a Huichol artist conveys the symbols and meanings of his own native culture-a traditional culture kept alive for thousands of years in the deep mountains of Mexico. Director Nicolás Echevarría follows artist Santos de la Torre for one year, as he elaborates his next mural. Rich aural and visual textures provide an intimate view of Santos and his world. Echevarría's documentary conveys the hybrid complexity of the exchange between modern and traditional cultures still coexisting in our globalized present. Director: Nicolás Echevarría.

IN-COMPETITION






Best Feature

WINNER

IN-COMPETITION














Silver Hugo

Best Actor

WINNER

Best Actress

WINNER

Best Director

WINNER

New Directors Competition

WINNER

Next to Her: Asaf Korman
The Silver Hugo goes to "Next to Her" (Israel), an accomplished portrait of sisterhood with striking performances conveying a difficult subject matter. Liron Ben-Shlush anchors the film with her stunning turn as Chelli, intimately capturing how responsibility can turn into codependency. Asaf Korman subtly portrays that the victims are not always who we think they are. Director: Asaf Korman.

Best Screenplay

WINNERS

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (feature film): Shlomi Elkabetz (director), Ronit Elkabetz (director)

Best Cinematography

WINNER

Best Animated Short Film

WINNER

Coda: Alan Holly
The Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short Film goes to "Coda" (Ireland). "Coda"'s elegantly simple visuals, minimal lines and solid patches of color, describe an urban nighttime world of disconnection and insularity. Here, the moment of dying is seen as a chance for re-evaluating the individual's relationship to humanity and life itself. The jury recognizes this film for the challenging depth of its themes, and for the spare but powerful aesthetic which presents those themes with lyrical complexity. Director: Alan Holly.

Best Narrative/Live Action Short

WINNER

In August: Jenna Hasse
The Silver Hugo for Live Action Short is awarded to "In August" (USA). Through its beautiful cinematography and sincere performances, "In August" exquisitely captures the moment between a little girl realizing her world is changing forever and the change itself-the sublime before the storm. Director: Jenna Hasse.

Best Short Film

WINNER

Best Documentary Short

WINNER

Love. Love. Love.: Sandhya Sundaram
The Silver Hugo is awarded to "Love.Love.Love." (Russia). Sandhya Daisy Sundaram's "Love.Love.Love." is a rotating treatise on the forms love takes in the lives of Russian women. In a beguiling series of deceptively compact tableaus, it evokes a universal hunt for romance and companionship from the dawn of birth to the twilight of old age. We award "Love.Love.Love." Best Documentary Short because, in rare form, it lives up to its title, and reflects invisible truths found in the combination of everyday moments. Director: Sandhya Daisy Sundaram.

Special Jury Prize

WINNER

Gold Plaque

Best Art Direction

WINNER

Best Costume Design

WINNER

Best Experimental Short Film

WINNER

Prehistoric Cabaret: Bertrand Mandico
The Gold Plaque for Best Experimental Short goes to "Prehistoric Cabaret" (France). In this colonoscopic reverie, courtesy of the world's most dangerous camera, we penetrate the cosmic mystery shrouded in secrets within the enigma at the very center of being (or at least through the center of our lovely hostess). Life IS a cabaret. Director: Bertrand Mandico.

Best Narrative Short Film

WINNER

Ártún: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
The Gold Plaque for Narrative/Live Action Short goes to "Artun" (Iceland/Denmark), a pale yellow, Black Metal ode to that age when you feel like the dirtiest thing in the world because you're still so clean. Director: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

Best Student Short Film

WINNER

Skunk: Annie Silverstein
The Gold Plaque for Best Student Short is awarded to "Skunk" (USA). Demonstrating instincts similar to early David Gordon Green or Debra Granik, "Skunk" masterfully teases the audience with the promise of a lazy summer day and the nightmare that other teens induce upon each other. The young actors' nuanced performances wonderfully illustrate youthful humiliations via the conflicts of puberty-the bravado of boys who can't yet control their bodies, and the retribution of a girl not interested in taking things lightly. Director: Annie Silverstein.

Special Jury Prize

WINNERS

Ghost Train: James Fleming, Kelly Hucker
A Gold Plaque - Special Jury Prize goes to "Ghost Train" (Australia). "Ghost Train" paints a vivid portrait of a man who is drawn to a cabaret dancer at a local haunted house. As he deals with his wife with Alzheimer's and faces his own death, he finds solace in her vivacity and energy in a house dedicated to death. Through found footage, stunning black and white cinematography and borrowing the style of bygone horror films, "Ghost Train" leads the audience on an exploration of life, death and legacy. Directors: James Fleming and Kelly Hucker.

Symphony No. 42: Reka Bucsi
The Gold Plaque-Special Jury Prize goes to "Symphony No. 42" (Hungary). The jury was hypnotized by the associative links between the domestic and the natural, and by the portrayal of animal exploitation as a farce. These nihilistic allegories functioned both as a dystopia and as an indictment of contemporary human activity. Director: Réka Bucsi.

Special Mention

WINNER

The Owners: Adilkhan Yerzhanov
For originality

Television - Investigative Reporting/News Documentary

WINNER

Silver Plaque

Best Animated Short Film

WINNER

Drifting: Joel Benjamin
The Silver Plaque is awarded to "Drifting" (USA), for its strange manipulation of time, and the notion of capturing the uncapturable, for no witness. A documented life critique. Director: Joel Benjamin.

Best Narrative/Live Action Short

WINNER

Gli immacolati: Ronny Trocker
The Silver Plaque for Narrative/Live Action Short goes to "The Immaculates" (France). In this affecting document of tragedy, director Ronny Trocker weaves a quilt of 3D imagery, leading viewers through a disorienting landscape of retelling and remembrance. Director: Ronny Trocker.

Special Mention

Best Animated Short

WINNER

Man on the Chair: Dahee Jeong
A Special Mention goes to "Man on the Chair" (South Korea), for its poetic pastel beauty and its willingness to be calm and powerful at the same time. Director: Jeong Dahee.

Best Short Film

WINNERS

Washingtonia: Konstantina Kotzamani
A Special Mention goes to "Washingtonia" (Greece). With humor and heart, "Washingtonia" exists in the space between narrative and free association, offering an absurdist urban myth that is somehow recognizable, even as it eludes definition. Director: Konstantina Kotzamani.

Un Paraiso: Jayisha Patel
Special Mention to "A Paradise" (Cuba), a brief but compelling observation of a poor family in rural Cuba, and a discreet look into complex issues surrounding children living in poverty. Director: Jayisha Patel.

Audience Choice Award

WINNER

IN-COMPETITION

Audience Choice Award

WINNERS




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Best Narrative English-Language Feature

WINNER

Chicago Award

Best Film

WINNERS


The Alley Cat: Marie Ullrich (director), Dylan Verrechia (director of photography)

The Alley Cat: Marie Ullrich
The Chicago Award, presented to a Chicago or Illinois artist for the best feature or short film, goes to "The Alley Cat," directed by Marie Ullrich, an exceptionally innovative and refreshing first feature representing the auspicious and exciting start of a promising filmmaking career. Bold, gritty, and full of energy, Ullrich's film is a prime example of first-rate low-budget filmmaking, serving as an intriguing announcement of a new voice.

Emerging Artist Award

WINNER

Artistic Achievement Award

WINNER

Founder's Award

Best Actor

WINNER

Birdman: Michael Keaton
The 50th Chicago International Film Festival presented actor Michael Keaton with the Founder's Award for his electrifying performance as an actor who hopes to revive his moribund career in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's daring comedy "Birdman." "To pick a single film or performance from this year's incredibly strong lineup of more than 150 films was difficult, but an eagerly anticipated challenge - they all exemplify the Festival's spirit of innovation and discovery. And yet, Michael Keaton's performance in 'Birdman' moved me deeply; it confirmed that Keaton is not only one of our greatest American actors, but one whose work will soon be reevaluated and further appreciated," said Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza.

Q Hugo Award

Best Feature

WINNER

Xenia: Panos H. Koutras
The Gold Q Hugo Film Award goes to "Xenia" (Greece) for confronting an unfriendly world with defiant gaiety. Director: Panos H. Koutras

Silver Q Hugo Award

Best Feature

WINNER

Something Must Break: Ester Martin Bergsmark
The Silver Q Hugo Film Award goes to "Something Must Break" (Sweden), for telling a brave, modern story about characters whose relations to gender and sexuality are hard to categorize but are lived with passion and guts. The jury looks forward to the unfolding career of this exciting filmmaker who presented this tale in such an uncompromising way. Director: Ester Martin Bergsmark.

Roger Ebert Award

New Directors Competition

WINNER

La tirisia: Jorge Pérez Solano
The Roger Ebert Award goes to "La Tirisia" (Mexico), which instills empathy through its director's strong sense of visual composition and handling of difficult themes. Setting his film in a surreal, sensual landscape in Oaxaca, Mexico, this subtle drama of two pregnant women transports viewers to a unique part of the world, but deals with universal human emotion at the same time. It's the kind of unforgettable journey that only film can replicate. Director: Jorge Pérez Solano.

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