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Vail Film Festival announces 2021 award-winning films

2021 Vail Film Festival concluded Sunday night with an award ceremony recognizing jury and audience favorites

Organizers of the 18th annual Vail Film Festival, which celebrated women in film Sept. 23-26, have announced the official award recipients for this year’s festival.

“We are incredibly proud to shine a light on female filmmakers,” Vail Film Festival director Corinne Hara said. “The films being screened are interesting not only for the themes that are explored, but how women specifically address these themes. We are thankful to the many innovative and groundbreaking artists who joined us for this year’s festival. We also want to thank all of our sponsors, as well as our patrons, volunteers, and staff for their generous support.”

The festival’s executive director Sean Cross also acknowledged the challenges that filmmakers overcame during the pandemic to show their work this past weekend.



“We are especially thankful to those filmmakers who were able to produce high-quality work in an unprecedented environment, and we hope that we can return to an in-person event next year, so we can all celebrate these innovative films together,” Cross said.

Film winners

This year’s festival screened almost 80 films, including narrative features, documentaries, short films and student films. Jurors recognized the following exceptional films:



“Voodoo Macbeth”, the story of the first all-black cast to perform Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in 1936, won the Best Narrative Feature category.
Vail Film Festival/Courtesy Photo

Best Narrative Feature: “Voodoo Macbeth”

Directed by: Agazi Desta, Dagmawi Abebe, Victor Alonso-Berbel, Roy Arwas, Hannah Bang, Christopher Beaton, Tiffany Kontoyiannis, Zoe Salnave, Ernesto Sandoval and Sabina Vajraca

Written by: Agazi Desta, Jennifer Frazin, Morgan Milender, Molly Miller, Amri Rigby, Joel David Santner, Erich Sutherlin and Chris Tarricone

Produced by: Miles, Alva, Jason Phillips and Ivy Xiao

Starring: Inger Tudor, Jewell Wilson Bridges, Jeremy Tardy, Daniel Kuhlman, Wrekless Watson, Ashli Haynes, Gary McDonald and June Schreiner

Synopsis: In 1936 Harlem the first all-black cast to perform Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, directed by a young and arrogant Orson Welles, battles to make it to opening night.

Best Documentary: “The Revolution Generation”

Directed and produced by: Josh and Rebecca Tickell

Cast: Michelle Rodriguez, Shailene Woodley and Corbin Bleu

Synopsis: Narrated and starring Michelle Rodriguez, “The Revolution Generation” is a manifesto for today’s youth on the societal forces that have shaped and held back their generation and how they can deploy their unique strengths to revolutionize the political system.

Best Documentary went to “The Revolution Generation,” which follows how today’s youth is revolutionizing the political system.
Vail Film Festival/Courtesy Photo

Best Short Film: “Are They Smiling?”

Written and directed by: Kate Jean Hollowell

Starring: Kate Jean Hollowell and Max Baumgarten

Synopsis: A young woman decides to carry on the family tradition of attending the county fair, this time with her dead parents.

Best Short Documentary: “Something To Give”

Directed and produced by: Gareth Gwyn

Starring: Hyppolite Ntigurirwa

Synopsis: Experience a celebration of the power of the human heart amid the aftermath of atrocities in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Best Student Film: “Undercut”

Written and directed by: Kelly Pike

Produced by: Kelly Pike

Synopsis: High school female athletes become unlikely teammates in the wake of unspoken trauma.

The Audience Award goes to the film that garnered the most votes from viewers over the course of the weekend. This year’s award went to “Our Dad, Danielle,” a documentary about a trans woman in Texas who came out at age 57.
Vail Film Festival/Courtesy Photo

Audience Award: “Our Dad, Danielle”

Directed by: Sarah King

Produced by: Sarah King, Leah Judge

Synopsis: An extraordinary story of a world-renowned patent attorney in Sugar Land, Texas who at 57 came out as a trans woman and is now navigating LGBTQ+ issues and fighting for trans rights as she and her family challenge the idea of what modern love looks like.

Feature Screenplay winners:

1st place: “Over It” by Joy Goodwin

2nd place: “Blue Motel” by Ted Campbell

3rd place: “Land of Light” by Nicholas Batchelder

Short Screenplay winners:

1st place: “Permission” by Joe Capucci

2nd place: “Heavy Flow” by Paige Wood

3rd place: “Greg The Puddle” by Shaun Radecki

TV Pilot winners:

1st place: “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Erin Burchard

2nd place: “Hartline” by Chuck Driskell

3rd place: “Dragoness” by Samantha Duncan

For more information about the Vail Film Festival, visit VailFilmFestival.com.


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