‘War Witch,’ ‘Una Noche’ Win Top Tribeca Awards

All Tribeca's acting winners are non-professionals, and one disappeared (and apparently defected) on his way to the festival

"War Witch" and "Una Noche" were the big winners in the Tribeca Film Festival jury awards, which were handed out on Thursday night in New York City.

War Witch"War Witch" was named Best Narrative Feature, and its leading actress Rachel Mwanza (left) was named Best Actress. "Una Noche" took home awards for director Lucy Molloy, cinematographers Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder, and leading actors Dariel Arrechada and Javier Nunez Florian. 

Javier Nunez Florian did not attend the festival; he disappeared in the Miami airport on his way to the festival and is believed to have defected to the United States with fellow Cuban actor Anailin de la Rua. (Florian and de la Rua in the film, below)

"Una Noche" deals with two Cuban teens; one is forced to flee to the United States, while the other debates whether to follow or remain with his sister.

"War Witch" is a portrait of a 14-year-old African girl who is kidnapped by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. Like the winning actors from "Una Noche," star Mwanza is a non-professional. This indelible character study of a girl who becomes a woman before our eyes in the midst of harrowing war gives words to the unspeakable," read the jury comments. "Riveting, heartbreaking, vivid, and eloquent, the movie balances scenes of crazy enemy hatred with moments of luminous private love.”

Una NocheOther winners in the narrative competition include "All In," which was honored for its screenplay, and "Unit 7," which received a special jury mention.

"The World Before Her" won the top prize in the documentary competition, with a special mention going to "The Revisionaries."

Other doc winners include "Wavumba" for directing and The Flat" for editing.

Short film awards went to "Asad" (narrative short) and "Paraiso" (documentary short), while the Student Visionary Award went to "Stitches."

The Tribeca (Online) Film Festival awards, which are chosen by online votes, were given to the feature film "On the Mat" and the short "CatCam."

Winners received cash prizes of up to $25,000, as well as original art. The awards were presented by a number of Tribeca officials and jurors, among them founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal and jurors Patricia Clarkson, Irwin Winkler, Leelee Sobieski, Michael Moore, Lucy Walker and Susan Sarandon.

Other jurors included Dakota Fanning, Jim Sheridan, Whoopi Goldberg, Susannah Grant, Kim Cattrall, Stuart Blumberg, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Dancy, Brett Ratner and Shailene Woodley.

Audience Award winners will be announced on Saturday.

The winners:

Best Narrative Feature: "War Witch," directed by Kim Nguyen
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature: Dariel Arrechada and Javier Nunez Florian, "Una Noche"
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature: Rachel Mwanza, "War Witch"
Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature: Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder, "Una Noche"
     Special Jury Mention: Alex Catalan, "Unit 7"
Best Screenplay for a Narrative Feature: Daniel Burman and Sergio Dubcovsky, "All In" ("Suerte en Tus Manos")
Best New Narrative Director: Lucy Mulloy, "Una Noche"

Best Documentary Feature
: "The World Before Her," directed by Nisha Pahuja
     Special Jury Mention: "The Revisionaries," directed by Scott Thurman
Best Editing in a Documentary Feature: Tali Halter Shenkar, "The Flat" ("Hadira")
Best New Documentary Director: Jeroen van Velzen, "Wavumba"
     Special Jury Mention: Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed, "Ballroom Dancer"

Best Narrative Short: "Asad," directed by Bryan Buckley
     Special Jury Mention: Ritesh Batra, "Café Regular Cairo"
Best Documentary Short: "Paraiso," directed by Nadav Kurtz
     Special Jury Mention: David Darg and Bryn Mooser, "Baseball in the Time of Cholera"
Student Visionary Award: "Stitches"

Best Feature Film: "On the Mat," directed by Frederic Golding
Best Short Film: "CatCam," directed by Seth Keal