2017 Winners

2017 Jury

Margaret Rorison
Sheilah Wilson
Dani Leventhal


Feature Narrative

We have chosen All the Cities of the North as feature narrative. ACON offers new ways of considering narrative as material and form, and weaves a spell of stunning color and composition, survival in a post-industrial world and contemplation of the interrelationship of fantasy, love and companionship. We appreciated how the role of the filmmaker was made ambiguous through reveals of cameras, crew, etc., and yet how we remain implicated and believing in the unfolding drama of the characters and their relationship to survival and desire.

Short Narrative

Maria is a narrative that is unrelenting in its refusal to bend to our expectations of family dynamics. We appreciated the beauty of the imagery, as well as the commitment to an ambivalent depiction of birth and familial structure.

Feature Documentary

Alone Among the Taliban for its alternative voice challenging western media presentations of the other. It presents an effort at objectivity, and we are aware of the filmmaker navigating the space as a subjective presence.

Short Documentary

Raised by Krump is a beautiful portrait of individuals who speak to the creation and importance of a dance form they helped to birth. The relationship between creative expression and personal story is beautifully articulated through camera work, dance and the stories shared by the subjects.


Whatever the Weather is a beautiful and horrifying journey through a child’s world of abuse, alcoholism and neglect told through animation. The exquisite drawings of negative space reminded us of the inverses of the world, the underneath spaces that are so rarely explored, and the importance of privileging them as equal part of story.


He Who Eats Children is a troubling and beautiful portrait of history and story between cultures, including the culture and history of documentary which we, as the viewer, witness as form to be constructed and deconstructed.

Black Bear Award

Les Chassis de Lourdes was selected for its use of sound as material, much as the film that composes the piece is also used as material to be cut, re-worked and collaged together to create new iterations of familiar structures.

Film House Award

If I were Any Further Away I’d Be Closer to Home challenges our expectations of how to make a documentary of place through slow takes which are choreographed into a beautiful and enigmatic observation of daily life and routine. The reliance on the visual as sole communication made us curious to see where this film maker would go using the Film House Award, with its loan of an ARRI Amira camera for two weeks.

Jurors’ Recognition

To Be Free for it’s incredible sound, as well as the depiction of the strength and transcendence of Nina Simone, and the human behind the voice.

Another Time for its nuanced depiction of the ties of family, duty, love and tradition as it plays out in family.

Refugee for its thoughtful depiction of family and love of a mother separated from her children as she waits for asylum to be granted in the US. This comes at a time when these stories need to be heard, and the implications that we, as privileged Americans, are often immune to are felt through the personal story.

The Noise of Licking for its bizarre, perverse and thoroughly engaging depiction of interspecies love and desire.

Blue Movie for its material rendering and re-imagining of memory.

Good Luck Orlo! for the depiction of narrative from the point of view of a child, and how the filmmaker allows emotion and its ramifications to guide the narrative logic of the film.

The Modern Jungle for creating a lush documentary of place and culture, and doing so through privileging the interdependency and power differentials as energetic forces that drive the construction of story.