LAFF 2009: 'Those Who Remain', 'Soul Power' Take Top Honors
After a week marked by celebrity deaths and documentaries gone Bananas!*, the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival has drawn to a close. Film Independent announced the award winners for this year's fest at a special event, presented by Target. And while normally I am not in the habit of mentioning who presents a particular program, Target sponsors the festival's Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature), which includes an unrestricted $50,000 cash prize for the winning film's director(s). So I'm happy to plug their name, as they have made the lives of documentarians just a bit easier over the past several years with this award.
This year the lucky winners are Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman for Those Who Remain (Los Que se Quedan). The film, from Mexico, is an intimate and discerning depiction of the impact of migration on families left behind by loved ones who travel north emerges as a nuanced portrait of “the other side” of the immigration story.
The Documentary Feature Competition jury was comprised of film critic David Ansen, writer-director Anna Boden, and director Darius Marder. This was the first time that international films were included in the narrative and documentary competition categories. In bestowing Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman with the Target Documentary Award, the Jury stated: “With its generosity of spirit and lyrical grace that illuminates a human landscape with fresh eyes, Those Who Remain reminds us that documentaries can be both journalism and poetry.”
Trailer from Hot Docs for Those Who Remain
The award for Best Documentary Short Film went to Anna Gaskell’s Replayground, a humorous reenactment of a children's quarrel. The Shorts Competition jury was comprised of art director KK Barrett, producer Tracey Bing, and digital media artist and filmmaker Alex Rivera. The Jury stated: “The concept was so fresh and unexpected in its use of children’s visions of their playground actions as content for a play that they would then be entrusted to cast and direct. A case of a brilliant premise carrying a film.”
Soul Power Theatrical Trailer
José Flores and friend in Nacido Sin