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New Hope Film Festival completes first decade with awards presentations


The 10th annual New Hope Film Festival ended its 10-day run with an awards festival at the New Hope Arts Center in New Hope July 28.

Mayor Larry Keller applauded the event that featured 89 films representing 17 countries, and festival President Doug Whipple introduced the awards.

Jury award winners included “Ek Aasha,” a film about the struggles of a transgender girl to become a teacher in India, for best alternative feature. “Sif,” a film about a celestial object crashing to earth during the Viking era, won best student film.

“The Reckoning of Darkness,” about a shipwrecked castaway, won best short film. “Shattered Dreams” won best documentary for its hard-hitting look at the world of sex trafficking in America. “From Liberty to Captivity,” which also looked at the sex trafficking industry, won the cultural spirit award.

Other awards were given to: “The Stateless Diplomat: Diana Apcar’s Heroic Life,” best biographical film; “Voice for the Wild,” animal welfare award; “Their War,” best foreign film; “A Blood Throne,” best experimental short; “Just Between Us,” experimental spirit award;

“Virtually,” best science fiction; “Eagle Feather,” best animated feature; “Beyond Sixty Project,” audience favorite best documentary; “Son of Blackbeard,” best comedy; “Second Samuel,” best period film; “Anyone Like Me,” student cultural spirit award;

“Against the Wall,” New Hope award; “Union,” artistic spirit award; “Tarab,” best narrative feature; “Beautiful Life,’ LGBTQ spirit award; “Nathan’s Kingdom,” best supernatural film; “Epic Quest,” best webisode; and “Shut Up, I’m on a Roll,” best music video.

“Vietnam Aftermath,” which won best short documentary, provided the most emotional moment at the ceremony as Vietnam veteran Gary Monsees stepped up to accept the award on behalf of filmmaker Tom Phillips who was recovering from back surgery.

“As a Vietnam veteran who was not recognized when I came home, this seems more…” Choked with tears, Monsees was unable to finish his sentence. He was among four veterans featured in the film who share their stories after 40 years of silence. Although his words were brief, he left the stage to a standing ovation.

Whitney Hamilton won best director for “Union,” a film in which a woman passes herself off as her dead brother to survive in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Script submissions were also awarded, including “The Fourth Psalm” for best narrative feature, “Rodeo” for best teleplay, “The O’Malley” for best period script, and “The Gael” for best short screenplay.

Audience Choice awards went to “Charlie Bee Company” for best TV pilot, “Let It Go: The Cat Thief” for best music video, “Second Samuel” for best narrative feature, “Beyond 60 Project” for best documentary, and “Virtual” for best short film. Best script was awarded to “Requite,” and best picture was awarded to “The Last Witness.”