AFI FEST 2009 has announced Andrea Arnold’s FISH TANK and Javier Rebello’s WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO as the joint winners of the inaugural AFI FEST New Lights Competition. A Special Jury Mention went to Scandar Copti’s and Yaron Shani’s AJAMI. The New Lights Competition was created to acknowledge and honor vital, groundbreaking films by first and second time feature filmmakers from around the world.
The winners were announced at AFI FEST’s reception in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel following the Closing Night Gala presentation of Tom Ford’s A SINGLE MAN at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The star-studded event included appearances by the director and the film’s stars Colin Firth, Ginnifer Goodwin, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, and Ryan Simpkins as well as celebrity guests Cindy Crawford and Randy Gerber, Robert Evans, Harry Hamilin and Lisa Rinna, Kenny Ortega, Brett Ratner, and Rita Wilson among others.
The awards were presented by actress and filmmaker Angela Bassett, who chaired the jury, following an introduction of her fellow jury members: fellow actress and filmmaker Julie Delpy, noted film journalist and author Bill Krohn, Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (BAFICI) Artistic Director Sergio Wolf and Hong Kong filmmaker Yonfan. FISH TANK cast member Michael Fassbender was on hand to accept on behalf of the film.
AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo said, “The establishment of the AFI FEST New Lights Competition has been one of many highlights for this year’s festival. Led by Angela Bassett, our jury enjoyed and deliberated over a truly outstanding group of films, and ultimately decided that the award should be shared by these two amazing works of art.”
NEW LIGHTS COMPETITION AWARD WINNER
FISH TANK Cast: Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing DIR: Andrea Arnold PROD: Kees Kasander EXEC PROD: Christine Langan, David M. Thompson, Paul Trijbits UK
WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO (LA MUJER SIN PIANO) Cast: Jan Budar, Esperanza De la Vega, Tomás del Estal, Nadia de Santiago DIR: Javier Rebello EXEC PROD: Damián Paris, Stefan Schmitz, María Zamora Spain/France
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
AJAMI Cast: Fouad Habash, Nisrine Rihan, Elias Saba, Youssef Sahwani DIR: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani PROD: Moshe Danon, Thanassis Karathanos EXEC PROD: James Richardson Israel/Germany