Another year of Big Muddy Film Festival has come and gone. It’s been a wild ride of events and films and fun. The awards ceremony was broken up into two separate events on Sunday, March 1, 2020. The first was the John Michaels Awards Ceremony that was hosted at Carbondale Public Library at 2 pm and the Closing Ceremony at 5 pm at Guyon Auditorium.
To learn more about the awards, please click here.
So, without further adieu, here are the winners of The 42nd Annual Big Muddy Film Festival:
The Mike Covell Award Winner: Deep Learning | Andrew Laudone – A sophisticated AI-driven program has completely replaced film and television in every American home with custom on-demand videos featuring an exact likeness of the viewer. Enter Moira: a meek middle-aged woman whose custom videos begin to reveal frightening things about herself.
The John Michaels First Place Award Winner: L’EAU EST LA VIE (WATER IS LIFE): FROM STANDING ROCK TO THE SWAMP | Sam Vinal – On the banks of Louisiana, fierce Indigenous women are ready to fight—to stop the corporate blacksnake and preserve their way of life. They are risking everything to protect Mother Earth from the predatory fossil fuel companies that seek to poison it.
The John Michaels Second Place Award Winner: What If Black Boys Were Butterflies? | DaeQuan Collier – While other boys can enjoy a childhood of freedoms, for many reasons, Black boyhood is a brief, complicated existence.
The John Michaels Honorary Award Winner: Haven | Colin Askey – Lynda, an indigenous woman dealing with the loss of both of her sons, and Max, the sole survivor of a horrific car accident, are patients at the Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. As participants in a radical opioid-assisted therapy program, the first of its kind in North America, they are provided with medical-grade heroin, a safe place to inject. Free from the desperation of the street and the fear of overdose death, Lynda and Max can finally focus on healing. For Patrick, one of the nurses, the clinic is simply another integral part of the healthcare system. His only question is why there aren’t more places like it, while thousands die in the ongoing overdose epidemic.
Best Documentary (Long) Winner: L’EAU EST LA VIE (WATER IS LIFE): FROM STANDING ROCK TO THE SWAMP | Sam Vinal
Best (Long) Documentary Runner Up: Haven
Best (Short) Documentary Winner: In the Wake | Natasha Nair – A portrait about traditional handloom weavers of Kerala India, and their resilience in the face of cultural displacement, consumerism and forces of nature.
Best (Short) Documentary Runner Up: They Looked at Me And I Smiled | Ben Edelberg – Artists who use their bodies as their medium or canvas while existing in their natural environments. Are they performing? Do their performances end after the makeup is removed? Can a performance continue in an empty apartment instead of in front of an audience?
Best Experimental Winner: Without A Scratch | Samantha Farinella – An experimental short documentary that takes the viewer on the journey of the queer filmmaker’s experience with a pituitary tumor, exploring the interconnectedness and complexity of healing, memory and love.
Best Experimental Runner Up: Somniloquy | Yichao Fu – A film rife with Chinese symbolism that represents a division between the older and younger generations; at heart is the struggle between traditional values and trying to find an identity in rapidly changing China.
Best (Long) Narrative Winner: Driving Lessons | Marziyeh Riahi – According to the laws of Iran, Bahareh must have her traditional, chauvinistic husband accompany her to driving lessons so she and her instructor will not be alone.
Best (Long) Narrative Runner Up: In Between | Aliyar Rasti – A crime scene investigation is in progress. A young woman is made to reenact the events leading up to the tragic death of her boyfriend for a detective and his assistant. She maintains that it was an accident and that she’s innocent, but he has his suspicions that it was not.
Best (Short) Narrative Winner: one night | Aida Alimadadi – Iran, is a middle aged widow who is stalked by a memory from her deceased husband. Overwhelmed by the grief of his absence, she is led to an act of fierce melancholia in order to cope with it.
Best (Short) Narrative Runner Up: Norrberg – The Great Hold-Up | Santtu Koivisto – A televised improvisation sketch show comes to a halt when one of the actors wants a rerun for her dead character. The other two actors and the studio band have to play along as she takes over the live TV show and leads them into an old western story.
Best Animation Winner: Dinner Time | Kate Renshaw-Lewis – A hand-drawn animation about the power dynamics within a hyper-nuclear family.
Best Animation Runner Up: King of the House | Zige Zhang – A delusional man lives alone in a small dark house, believing that he is the king of the world and his supremacy is secure. However, his sovereignty is shaken by the arrival of a stranger. Little by little, this intruder occupies his living space, forces him to face his inner fears, cowardice and inferiority. Eventually, he realizes the great king he conjured in his tiny kingdom, is nothing but a pitiful tramp to the rest of the world.