Maïmouna Doucouré’s “Maman(s),” the story of an 8-year-old girl in Paris whose father returns home from Senegal to his family with a second wife, won the IMAX Industry Prize at TheWrap’s fifth annual ShortList Film Festival on Wednesday.
Jim Cummings’ “Thunder Road” won the second-ever Creators League Prize, presented by PepsiCo, at a ceremony at YouTube Space LA in Culver City.
In addition, David Hansen’s “Slingshot” picked up the Audience Award by receiving the most votes from viewers visiting the ShortList website since nominations were announced on August 9.
Each filmmaker received a $5,000 cash prize.
In presenting IMAX Industry Prize, the ShortList jury stated: “We responded to the filmmaker’s ability to create an intimate experience while expressing universal human emotions. We were moved by the film’s ambition, depth, elegant craftsmanship and performances.”
Doucouré spoke eloquently when accepting the honor. “I just want to say a lot of horrible things happened in France and still happening in several countries around the world,” she said. “I think where policy fails cinema can help to bring people together. We need cinema to know each other and love each other. Today we chose love.”
This year’s jury included Catherine Hardwicke, director of “Twilight”; Jennifer Levine, Untitled Entertainment’s president of production, Bec Smith, agent at United Talent Agency; Kevin Iwashina, founder and CEO of Preferred Content; and Mark Gill, president of Millennium Films.
“Slingshot,” the winner of the Audience Prize, follows a 10-year-old boy named Frankie whose summer vacation at a run-down trailer park takes an unexpected romantic turn when he meets 10-year-old Tayla. (The film is no longer available online.)
Meanwhile, Creators League Prize winner “Thunder Road” stars writer-director Jim Cummings as a police officer who offers an emotional and unconventional eulogy at this mother’s funeral inspired by Bruce Springsteen.
“You can really become your own studio by having your own YouTube channel,” Cummings said, “so long as you know the cavalry isn’t coming and you know you don’t have to do all the work.”
This year’s 12 finalists also included award-winning short films by Sol Friedman, Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto, Meg Smaker, Nina Gantz, Matt Kazman, Margaret Brown, Jörn Threlfall, Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, and Dan Taberski.
The final 12 films in the 2016 edition of the ShortList festival came from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Amsterdam, Brazil, France, Australia and the U.K.
The winners were chosen from a field of 12 short films that have already won awards in the past year at festivals including the Atlanta Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, San Francisco International Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, and the L.A. Film Festival.
The awards were preceded by a panel discussion about the future of independent film that featured the festival’s jury members and moderated by TheWrap’s CEO and editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman.
This is the fifth year for the ShortList Film Festival, which last year awarded both the jury and audience awards to Chilean animated short “Bear Story,” which went on to win the Academy Award this year for Best Animated Short Film.
Sponsors of the festival include PepsiCo, IMAX, YouTube Space LA, FilmL.A.,Inc., hint, and Svedka.