Audiences and jurors honor best of AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs festival

The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival has announced fourteen winners of audience and jury awards and special prizes:

Best US Feature : "Our School" (Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coco-Cozma), a chronicle of the struggle to mainstream Roma (or gypsy) children into Romania's school system.


Special Jury Mention : "The Bully Project" (Lee Hirsch), an examination of school bullying's impact on victims and their families.

Special Jury Mention: "When the Drum is Beating" (Whitney Dow), a portrait of Haiti's most beloved band, Septentrional, that also captures the Haitian national character.


Sterling Award for Best World Feature: "Family Instinct" (Andris Gauja), an extreme dysfunctional-family film from Latvia about brother-sister incest.

Special Jury Mention: "Position Among the Stars" (Leonard Retel Helmrich), the final entry in the director's trilogy about Indonesian life from the perspective of one Jakarta slum family, the Shamuddins.

Sterling Award for Best Short Film: "Guanape Sur" (János Richter), an exploration of an otherwise uninhabited Peruvian island that hosts thousands of breeding sea birds -- and, every eleventh year, men who come to harvest their guano.

Honorable Mention: "Still Here" (Alex Camilleri), the saga of AIDS educator and activist Randy Baron.

Cinematic Vision Award: "Life in a Day" (Kevin MacDonald), a rendering of a day in the life of mankind, July 24, 2010, sifted from 4,500 hours of video from 192 countries. WGA Documentary Screenplay Award: "The Loving Story" (Nancy Buirski and Susie Ruth Powell) -- that is, the love story of Mildred and Richard Loving, whose marriage was at the center of a history-changing anti-miscegenation civil rights case.

Whole Foods Market and Silverdocs Grant for Works in Progress: (1) "The Great Invisible" (Margaret Brown), about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill's effects on Gulf Coast oil and fishing industries, and the world: and (2) "Bluespace" (Ian Cheney), an investigation of the corruption and renewal of urban waterways.

Tribeca Film Institute and Silverdocs Transmedia Lab Pitch Award: The award is given to "The Tillman Story Interactive Edition" (Amir Bar-Lev), "to develop a cross-platform interactive project that will allow audiences to actively participate in the acclaimed 2010 documentary 'The Tillman Story' while viewing it," and "a navigable platform through which audiences can view outtakes, investigate documents, interact with others, and keep up-to-date on the latest developments in the Tillman controversy."

Audience Award (for features): "Donor Unknown" (Jerry Rothwell), a real-life cousin to "The Kids are Alright," about a twenty-year-old daughter of lesbian mothers who uses an online registry to contact other young adults with same sperm-donor father.


Audience Award (for shorts):"Mr. Happy Man" (Matt Morris), a look at Johnny Barnes, an 85-year-old Bermudan who stands at an intersection and cries out a sincere, "I love you!" to passersby.

These winners will be unspooling today at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, along with the Guggenheim Retrospective Screenings of films by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (which also run through the week).