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First-Time Female Filmmakers Take Home Best Film and Best Screenplay Awards at Outfest

Women and Hollywood By Inkoo Kang | Women and Hollywood July 22, 2014 at 10:00AM

Sydney Freeland's "Drunktown Finest" won the Best Film trophy and Desiree Akhavan's "Appropriate Behavior" the Best Screenwriting prize from the US Grand Jury.
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"Drunktown's Finest"
"Drunktown's Finest"

Director Sydney Freeland's Drunktown's Finest was named Outfest's Best US Dramatic Feature Film at the festival's awards ceremony this past Sunday. The reservation-set drama also won the audience-selected Best First US Dramatic Feature prize.

In a Sundance interview with Women and Hollywood, Freeland explained her motivations for making her first film: "I was born and raised on the Navajo reservation, and growing up I never felt like I saw the people and places that I knew represented on film. On a really basic level, I just wanted to tell a story about those people that I knew and give them a chance to be represented on film."

Another debut, Desiree Akhavan's Appropriate Behavior, won the Best Screenwriting in a U.S. Dramatic Feature prize. Centering on the romantic travails of a post-collegiate Persian bisexual hipster (played by Akhavan), Appropriate Behavior made our Most Anticipated Films of 2014 list back in January. 

Venezuelan filmmaker Mariana Rondón won a Special Programming Award for her feature Bad Hair, an exploration of familial homophobia. Cheryl Furjanic took home the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature for Back on Board: Greg Louganis for her portrayal of the openly gay Olympian diver.

Below are the female/trans winners at Outfest:

Grand Jury Awards

Actress in a U.S. Dramatic Feature
Gaby Hoffmann in Lyle
"For taking us on a supernatural journey, all the while remaining sincere and sympathetic, the 2014 Outfest Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a US Dramatic Feature Film goes to Gaby Hoffmann for LYLE."

Screenwriting in a U.S. Dramatic Feature
Desiree Akhavan for Appropriate Behavior
"For her commitment to honesty and vulnerability with hilarious and poignant results, the 2014 Outfest Grand Jury Award for Screenwriting in a US Dramatic Feature Film goes to Desiree Akhavan for APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR."

U.S. Dramatic Feature Film
Drunktown’s Finest, Directed by Sydney Freeland
"For taking us into a dynamic world full of rich and flawed characters with unexpected journeys, the 2014 Outfest Grand Jury Award for US Dramatic Feature Film goes to DRUNKTOWN’S FINEST directed by Sydney Freeland."

International Dramatic Feature
Something Must Break, Directed by Ester Martin Bergsmark
"The Jury’s selection is a film that is both fearless and original. Through the lead character’s gripping performance, we experience a love story that is unconventional and also truly universal. The storytelling is enhanced by an impressive sound design and raw cinematography. The 2014 Outfest Grand Jury Award for International Dramatic Feature Film goes to SOMETHING MUST BREAK, directed by Ester Martin Bergsmark."

Dramatic Short Film
Jellyfish, Directed by Rosie Haber
"For an engaging and unique film that encapsulates the simplicity, beauty, and amorphous nature of its namesake with maturity and nuanced sensitivity, the 2014 Outfest Grand Jury Award for Dramatic Short Film goes to JELLYFISH by Rosie Haber."

Special Programming Awards

Freedom
Bad Hair, Directed by Mariana Rondón
"For depicting the corrosive effects of familial homophobia on a child determined to defy cultural expectations the Special Programming Award for Freedom goes to writer-director Mariana Rondón for BAD HAIR."

Audience Awards

Documentary Short
Families Are Forever, Directed by Vivian Kleiman

Documentary Feature
Back on Board: Greg Louganis, Directed by Cheryl Furjanic

First US Dramatic Feature
Drunktown’s Finest, Directed by Sydney Freeland

This article is related to: Outfest, Sydney Freeland, Drunktown's Finest, Desiree Akhavan, Appropriate Behavior


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