After screening 60 films at the 5th Annual Gold Coast International Film Festival, the winners were announced at the closing awards ceremony, held at LOLA in Great Neck, on November 15.
The Deluxe film Award for Best Documentary also was a tie: “Mind Game,” about WNBA superstar Chamique Holdsclaw, a Queens native, who became the best and most famous women’s basketball player on the planet, the “female Michael Jordan,” until her career was derailed by depression and near-suicide, a film made by two-time Oscar nominee Rick Goldsmith. this was The New York premiere of the documentary.
The other winner was “We are Twisted F*cking Sister!”, a documentary about the flamboyant band, making its Long Island premiere – appropriate since the band had such strong connections to Long Island and the Long Island “club scene” of the 1970s. This was the US premiere of the film about to their 10-year odyssey to fame as they cross-dressed their way to headlining every club from Long Island beach bars to New Jersey bowling alleys, recounted by the band themselves, their managers and some of their most devout fans. After the film, Andrew Horn and Twisted Sister members Jay Jay French, Mark “The Animal” Mendoza & Co-Manager Joe Gerber (and a whole lot of family and fans) reminisced.
The winner of “Best Narrative Panavision Award” went to “Mustang,” directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, a poignant, eloquent drama, about five sisters in a Turkish village band together to fight back against the limits imposed on them. Direct from the Cannes Film Festival the film is France’s official submission to the Academy Awards.
The short film “Subway Love,” tied with “Tender Stories #1” for the juried award of best in show. the best student film was “The Present.” The audience award for best short film went to “Grounded.”
Other notable films and events showcased at the festival:
“Partner with the Enemy,” a documentary about two women—one Israeli and one Palestinian—to defy impossible odds to build a business, and a friendship, together. The film is extraordinarily intimate – it does not even feel like a film, you feel more like the proverbial fly on the wall. It is sensitive, moving, even suspenseful This was the Long Island premiere and the filmmaker, Chen Shelach, and his wife, Anat Shelach, who is one of the women, were available to discuss the film.
“Two Who Defied the Nazis: The Journey of Waitsill and Martha Sharp,” tells the heretofore untold story of Waitsill and Martha Sharp, from the Universalist Unitarian Church, who left their young children to go into Europe to rescue Jews from the Nazis. No one knew of what the couple did, until grandson Artemis Joukowsky III interviewed his grandmother for a 9th grade history project. As a result of his research, the couple was named as Righteous Among the Nations (only the fourth Americans), at Yad Vashem. Ken Burns and Tom Hanks are associated with the film which will be aired on PBS in fall 2016.
In all, some 60 films were screened during the festival, including a screening of films produced by young people (the youngest filmmaker was six years old whose film was so good, it was screened as part of the Short Films program).
The Festival kicked off with an intimate conversation with award winning writer, director and producer Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”) on the campus of LIU Post on November 9, and with a special screening of Spurlock’s new short film “Crafted.”
A preview event featured a screening before the wide release of “The 33,” with Director Patricia Riggen, who was honored with the festival’s first-ever “Woman of Influence” award and a conversation with Riggen.
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