Winners of the 15th Montreal Independent Film Festival
The standing ovations have ended and the votes are in as the Montreal Independent Film Festival came to a raucous conclusion for the fifteenth year.
The seasonal festival recently announced the winners of the latest edition which is an online event with screening and promotion options for the official selections and the award winners. The festival is about the spirit of indie cinema, discovery, arts, culture and finding outstanding independent films from all over the globe.
Let’s take a look at who took home top prizes as awards season charges on towards it’s hopeful Academy Awards conclusion.
Soon-to-be household name Ashley Nichols took home the prize for Best Actress for her stunning performance in The Chimera Effect.
As if studying for the bar exam was not hard enough, Nichols’ Samantha Antrum is also dealing with the recent death of her father. Prior to his passing, he wished to continue to “protect her from what’s to come” but will not be able to. Samantha’s life starts to unravel as a mysterious “Watcher” takes residency deep into Samantha’s psyche.
It becomes clear why Nichols’ performance resonated with voters as Samantha enters a race against time to discover the identity of this person who has entered her life and their intentions before it is too late.
Loris Freeman as an actor needs little introduction, and his performance in Pierre & Jeanne will make it even easier for his name to be remembered after taking home the prize for Best Actor. In the movie, Pierre the elder brother gets bogged down in questioning the sacredness of his family.
The question of whether or not his family’s money is hiding a secret too heavy to handle is answered with singular panache and exemplary mettle by Freeman, making for quite the standing ovation at the festival once the film ended.
Best Music Video
Anjali Nayar’s inimitable wielding of musical storytelling brought more than a few audience members to their feet for her video Closer.
This film follows the story of one young brown woman, who breaks out of the life expected of her. She doesn’t measure up to what a good South Asian woman should be: she’s not light enough and doesn’t have straight enough hair.
Trapped in a sheltered life, she dreams of (or foreshadows) more. The cyclic nature of the opening scene is reminiscent not only of the repetitive nature of her daily life but also of samsara, the larger cycle of birth and death without enlightenment.
As the winner of the festival’s Best Thriller category, Director Alessandro Riccardi had the entire audience on the edge of their seats as they watched his exhilarating and frequently overwhelming contribution It’s Not Over.
The film follows lovers Max and Sarah who meet when Albert, Sarah’s husband, is in the hospital to do his work as a doctor. One night, Albert dies in a domestic accident and the way is cleared for the two lovers who can come to light. Not long after, however, Max finds something disturbing in Sarah’s behavior, and a series of suspicions creep into him.
Best Feature Director
Lionel Bernadiin took home the prize for Best Feature Director for his stellar storytelling and thunderous climax in his film Grounds of Hope.
The film follows Alex, a former professional boxer who lives a small-town rural life as a worker in a concrete materials company. One night, chased by armed men, his twin sister breaks into his home with a migrant and his daughter. Alex, forced by the situation, accepts to hide them, unaware that they are the object of many lusts. With no choice and under financial pressure, he starts boxing in illegal matches.
Which of these directors and films do you think will make it all the way to the Academy Awards? Who do you think was unfairly snubbed? Let us know in the comments?