Home Film Festivals / Expos / Conventions AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED for MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL 2017 |


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LADY MACBETH wins the 2017
Montclair Film Festival Fiction Feature Award
STRONG ISLAND wins the Bruce Sinofsky Award for Documentary Feature
THE REAGAN SHOW wins The David Carr Award For Truth In Non-Fiction Filmmaking
Audience Awards To MAUDIE (Fiction), DOLORES (Documentary), CLASH (World Cinema), and EDITH & EDDIE (Short Film)
May 8, 2017 – The Montclair Film Festival (MFF) announced the winners of the 2017 film competitions at a ceremony held on Saturday evening at the MFF’s new home, The Investors Bank Film & Media Center. This year’s festival featured four competitive categories with five films in each: Fiction, Documentary, Future/ Now, and New Jersey Filmmaking. The 2017 festival featured over 150 feature and short films screened over ten days.
LADY MACBETH, directed by William Oldroyd, was awarded the festival’s Fiction Feature Prize with the actor Florence Pugh receiving a Special Jury Prize for her performance in LADY MACBETH.
STRONG ISLAND, directed by Yance Ford, took home the Bruce Sinofsky Award in the festival’s Documentary Feature competition.  This award was established in memory of Bruce Sinofsky and was presented by Mr. Sinofsky’s daughter, Claire Sinofsky. A Special Jury Prize for Direction was awarded to Matthew Heineman for CITY OF GHOSTS.
BEACH RATS, directed by Eliza Hittman, was awarded the Future/Now prize, honoring emerging low-budget American independent filmmaking, and SWIM TEAM, directed by Lara Stolman, took home the New Jersey Films Award, which honors a select group of films made by New Jersey artists, and an American Truth Seeker Award given by the jury to Reuben Atlas and Samuel D. Pollard for the film ACORN & THE FIRESTORM.
THE REAGAN SHOW, directed by Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez took home the 3rd Annual David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking, which honors a filmmaker, selected by the festival, who utilizes journalistic techniques to explore important contemporary subjects and is presented in honor of Mr. Carr’s commitment to reporting on the media. The award was presented by Mr. Carr’s daughter, the filmmaker Erin Lee Carr.
The Montclair Film Festival also announced the winners of the 2017 Audience Awards. The awards are voted upon by audiences in four categories with MAUDIE, directed by Aisling Walsh in Fiction, DOLORES, directed by Peter Bratt in Documentary, CLASH, directed by Mohamed Diab in the World Cinema category, and EDITH + EDDIE, directed by Laura Checkoway in the Short Film category taking home top honors. 
The festival also features a Junior Jury, made up of fifteen area High School students representing twelve area schools. The Junior Jury awarded a Special Jury Prize for Innovative Filmmaking to Kitty Green for her film CASTING JONBENET and awarded the top prize to ELIÁN, directed by Tim Golden.
“This year’s films represent a vast range of ideas, artistic approaches, and cinematic points of view,”said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall. “We are honored to be able to share these films with our audiences, and congratulate all of our filmmakers on their outstanding work.”
Congratulations to the 2017 winners of The Montclair Film Festival Awards:
Fiction Feature Competition Winner
Directed by William Oldroyd
Fiction Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize for Extraordinary Performance
Florence Pugh for LADY MACBETH
Bruce Sinofsky Prize for Documentary Feature Competition Winner
Directed by Yance Ford
Documentary Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize for Direction
Matthew Heinemann, CITY OF GHOSTS
Future/Now Winner
Directed by Eliza Hittman
New Jersey Films Competition Winner
Directed by Lara Stolman
New Jersey Films Competition
Special Jury Prize
American Truth Seeker Award
Directed by Reuben Atlas and Samuel D. Pollard
Audience Award For Fiction
Directed by Aisling Walsh
Audience Award For Documentary
Directed by Peter Bratt
Audience Award For World Cinema
Directed by Mohamed Diab
Audience Award For Short Film
Directed by Laura Checkoway
Junior Jury Award
Directed by Tim Golden & Ross McDonnell
Junior Jury Special Jury Prize For Innovative Filmmaking
Directed by Kitty Green
The Films & Jurors of the 2017 Montclair Film Festival Competitions
Documentary Feature Competition
CASTING JONBENET directed by Kitty Green
CITY OF GHOSTS directed by Matthew Heineman
FOR AHKEEM directed by Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Zoest
THE REAGAN SHOW directed by Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez
STRONG ISLAND directed by Yance Ford
Dan O’Meara, VP, Special Projects & Documentary, NEON
Rosie Wong, Sundance Film Festival
Joe McGovern, Journalist, Entertainment Weekly  
Fiction Feature Competition
AFTERIMAGE directed by Andrzej Wajda
CLASH directed by Mohamed Diab
THE COMMUNE directed by Thomas Vinterberg
LADY MACBETH directed by William Oldroyd
GOOK directed by Justin Chon
Arianna Bocco, EVP, Acquisitions & Productions, IFC Films
Ashley Clark, Journalist, The Guardian
Robert Eggers, Director, THE WITCH 
BEACH RATS directed by Eliza Hittman
FITS & STARTS directed by Laura Terruso
MENASHE directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
PERSON TO PERSON directed by Dustin Guy Defa
THE STRANGE ONES directed by Lauren Wolkstein, Christopher Radcliff
Holly Herrick, Head of Film & Creative Media, Austin Film Society
Dan Nuxoll, Artistic Director, Rooftop Films
Eliza Berman, Deputy Culture Editor, TIME 
New Jersey Films Competition
ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM directed by Reuben Atlas and Samuel D. Pollard
ALL WE NEED IS ANOTHER CHANCE directed by Corbett Jones
SUPERGIRL directed by Jessie Auritt
SWIM TEAM directed by Laura Stolman
Charles Poekel, Director, CHRISTMAS, AGAIN
Tom Roston, Journalist and Author, I Lost It At The Video Store
Raphaela Neihausen, Executive Director, DOC NYC
Montclair Film, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, nurtures and showcases the talents of filmmakers from around the region and world. Montclair Film unites, empowers, educates, and celebrates our region’s diverse cultural heritage and robust artistic community by presenting engaging programs and events all year long. The sixth annual Montclair Film Festival will take place from April 28 through May 7, 2017. MFF 2017 is made possible through generous support from Investors Bank; Audible; Hackensack Meridian Health; the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; Ashenfelter, Slous, McDonough, Golia & Trevenen, LLP; Chubb; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; and William H. Connolly & Co., and others.  Our programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism and New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For information about Montclair Film, visit


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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.