‘Blood Stripe,’ ‘Political Animals’ Win Top Prizes at LA Film Festival

French director Anaïs Volpé’s “HEIS (chronicles)” also claims World Fiction Award

Last Updated: June 9, 2016 @ 1:55 PM

Remy Auberjonois’ “Blood Stripe,” a feature about a female U.S. Marine sergeant struggling after returning from her third tour of duty in Afghanistan, won the top prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

The documentary feature award, also announced Thursday, went to “Political Animals,” Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares’ account of the first openly gay members of the California House of Representatives.

“With all the talk about diversifying Hollywood, the LA Film Festival provides proof that talented filmmakers with new voices are out there, they just need a platform and that’s what we’re providing,” said Stephanie Allain,  the festival’s director. “One of the more satisfying aspects of this job is watching new directors blossom in the spotlight. I’m grateful to our esteemed jurors for their service and congratulate the winners.”

The LA Film Festival kicked off on June 1 with the world premiere of Ricardo de Montreuil’s “Lowriders,” and it will conclude on Thursday with Jonas Cuaron‘s “Desierto.” Special screenings have included the world premiere of “Zedd True Colors” and “The Conjuring 2.”

See all of the recipients below.

U.S. Fiction Award
Winner: “Blood Stripe,” directed by Remy Auberjonois
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Kate Nowlin, Remy Auberjonois
Producer: Schuyler Weiss, Julie Christeas, Remy Auberjonois, Kate Nowlin
Cast: Kate Nowlin, Tom Lipinski, Chris Sullivan, Rusty Schwimmer, Rene Auberjonois
Film Description: After a third tour of duty in Afghanistan, a Marine sergeant returns home to find herself hemorrhaging anxiety and paranoia from unseen wounds. World Premiere

The U.S. Fiction Jury awarded the following special mentions: 

Special Mention for Comedy: “Chee and T,” directed by Tanuj Chopra
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Tanuj Chopra, Chee Malabar
Producer: Sohini Sengupta
Cast: Dominic Rains, Sunkrish Bala, Asif Ali, Noureen DeWulf, Rebecca Hazlewood, Bernard White, Karan Soni, Himanshu Suri, Scott Rogers
Film Description: A delirious ride with two hot henchmen, who are tasked with getting their South Asian boss’s out-of-control nephew presentable for his engagement party by day’s end. World Premiere

Special Mention for Visual Accomplishment: “Paint it Black,” directed by Amber Tamblyn
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Amber Tamblyn, Ed Dougherty
Producer: Wren Arthur, Amy Hobby, Anne Hubbell, Amber Tamblyn
Cast: Janet McTeer, Alia Shawkat, Alfred Molina, Emily Rios, Rhys Wakefield
Film Description: Barely able to process the death of her true love, Josie is drawn into a twisted relationship with the deceased’s mother as irrational grief explodes in beautiful and terrifying ways. World Premiere

World Fiction Award
Winner: “HEIS (chronicles),” directed by Anaïs Volpé
Country:  France
Screenwriter: Anaïs Volpé
Producers: Anaïs Volpé
Cast: Alexandre Desane, Matthieu Longatte, Emilia Derou-Bernal, Akéla Sari, Anaïs Volpé
Film Description: A millennial artist returns to her mother’s home in Paris, only to have her personal ambitions confronted by her family’s expectations in this energetic and visually distinct debut film. World Premiere

The World Fiction Jury awarded a special mention to:
Special Mention: “Lupe Under the Sun,” directed by Rodrigo Reyes
Country: Mexico/USA
Screenwriter: Rodrigo Reyes
Producers: Su Kim
Cast: Daniel Muratalla, Ana Muratalla
Film Description: After a lifetime working in the California fields, Lupe learns that he is about to die and desperately struggles to return home to his family in Mexico to make amends–before it is too late. World Premiere

Documentary Award
Winner: “Political Animals,” directed by Jonah Markowitz, Tracy Wares
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Jonah Markowitz
Producers: Anne Clements
Cast: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe
Film Description: The first openly gay California State Representatives, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe, and Carole Migden, had to utilize cunning, strategy and endurance when authoring and introducing the legislation that fundamentally changed the landscape of LGBT rights. World Premiere

LA Muse Award
Winner: “Namour,” directed by Heidi Saman
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Heidi Saman
Producers: Matthew Keene Smith
Cast: Karim Saleh, Waleed Zuaiter, Mona Hala, Nicole Haddad
Film Description: Set in the City of Angels during the economic recession of the late 2000’s, a twenty-something Egyptian American valet driver must come to grips with his dead-end job, disintegrating family and disappearing relationships in this stylish homage to Los Angeles. World Premiere

The LA Muse Jury awarded a special mention to:
Special Mention: “No Light and No Land Anywhere,” directed by Amber Sealey
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Amber Sealey
Executive Producer: Miranda July
Producers: Drea Clark, Alysa Nahmias, Amber Sealey
Cast: Gemma Brockis, Jennifer LaFleur, David Sullivan, Kent Osborne, Deborah Dopp, Jade Sealey
Film Description: Grieving over her mother’s death, Lexi abruptly leaves her life and husband in London to come to Los Angeles in pursuit of the father who abandoned her when she was three. World Premiere

Nightfall Award
Winner: “Beyond The Gates,” directed by Jackson Stewart
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Jackson Stewart, Stephen Scarlata
Producers: Barbara Crampton, Amanda Mortimer
Cast: Graham Skipper, Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Sara Malakul Lane, Barbara Crampton
Film Description: Two estranged brothers dig through their missing father’s video store, discovering a VCR board game that holds a connection to their father’s disappearance and deadly consequences for anyone who plays it. World Premiere

Award for Short Film
Winner: “The Beast (Zvjerka),” directed by Daina Oniunas Pusić. Croatia.
Film Description: A complicated relationship between an elderly mother and daughter is forever altered when a bat flies into their lives.

The Shorts jury awarded special mentions to:

Special Mention for Breakthrough Performance: “Thunder Road,” directed by Jim Cummings. USA.
Film Description: Officer Arnaud loved his mom.

Special Mention for Excellence in Animation: “The Lingerie Show,” directed by Laura Harrison. USA.
Film Description: A drug addict throws a lingerie show to seduce her boyfriend away from his sugar daddy, which devolves into mayhem.

Award for Documentary Short
Winner: “The Gatekeeper,” directed by Yung Chang.Japan.
Film Description: A retired police detective patrols Tojinbo Cliffs, a notorious destination for suicides in Japan.

Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film
Winner: “GREEN / is / GOLD,” directed by Ryon Baxter
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Ryon Baxter
Producers: Anthony Burns, Ryon Baxter
Cast: Jimmy Baxter, Ryon Baxter, David Fine, Liz Clare, Shelley Mitchell
Film Description: After his father goes to prison, a wayward tween has nowhere to live except with his high school dropout brother, who is building–at all costs–a marijuana business. World Premiere

This award is given to the fiction feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. World Premiere fiction feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature: U.S. Fiction, World Fiction, Limelight, LA Muse, and Nightfall.

Audience Award for Documentary Feature Film
Winner: “Political Animals,” directed by Jonah Markowitz, Tracy Wares
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Jonah Markowitz
Producers: Anne Clements
Cast: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe
Film Description: The first openly gay California State Representatives, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe, and Carole Migden, had to utilize cunning, strategy and endurance when authoring and introducing the legislation that fundamentally changed the landscape of LGBT rights. World Premiere

This award is given to the documentary feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. World Premiere documentary feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Documentary and LA Muse.

Audience Award for Short Film
Winner: “Into Darkness,” directed by Rachida El Garani
Film Description: This documentary gives insight into a deeply religious Moroccan family as they struggle with blindness and extreme poverty.

This award is given to the short film audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Short films screening in the Shorts Programs or before feature films in the Festival were eligible for the Audience Award for Short Film.

Audience Award for Web-series
Winner: “Instababy,” directed by Rosie Haber
Description: Gay adoption is illegal in Mississippi, so Toni and Keeta look for a baby on Instagram.

This award is given to the web-series audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system.