New York, NY [April 30, 2011] – The 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), co-founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, and presented by founding sponsor American Express, announced the winner of the Heineken Audience Award – Give Up Tomorrow – tonight at Eye Beam in New York City. The film’s director, Michael Collins, will receive a cash prize of $25,000.
Throughout the Festival, which kicked off on April 20, audiences have been able to vote for the Heineken Audience Award by completing nomination ballots upon exiting screenings of TFF films. Films in the World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight and Cinemania sections were eligible for the Heineken Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film. Final results were tabulated and announced during this evening’s Festival wrap party.
Give Up Tomorrow received a Special Jury Mention in the World Documentary Competition at this year’s TFF and played to rapturous response and standing ovations. The film was also supported by the Tribeca Film Institute’s Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, and the filmmaker is an alumnus of the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.
The film tells the story of culinary student Paco Larrañaga, who, at 19 years old in 1997, was arrested for the kidnap, rape, and murder of two sisters on the provincial island of Cebu in the Philippines. Despite demonstrable evidence of his innocence, including 40 eyewitnesses and photographs placing him hundreds of miles from the scene, Paco’s legal ordeal was only just beginning. Dubbed the Philippines’ “trial of the century,” Paco’s ordeal became a galvanizing focal point in a far-reaching exposé of gross miscarriage of justice at the highest levels.
Following the case and its aftermath for more than a decade, the film traces Paco’s story from the ethnic and class tensions at its roots, through a distracting thread of tabloid sensationalism, and ultimately to appeals and interventions from foreign governments and NGOs as the injustice of Paco’s situation becomes ever more stark and undeniable.
“From the first standing ovation of Give Up Tomorrow at its premiere at the Festival it was clear that audiences were passionate about the portrayal of Paco Larrañaga’s unjust incarceration. We hope that the film will raise awareness of Paco’s plight and lead to his freedom,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival. “This film is remarkably well crafted and I hope this award brings it the additional visibility it deserves.”
“Tribeca was there from the beginning. They really gave us the introduction to the film world,” said director Michael Collins. “This award gives us so much hope. Now I know that the film is going to be seen by a broader audience and I’m incredibly grateful.”
All other 2011 TFF award winners were announced previously at an awards show on Thursday, April 28, 2011. A full list of winners can be found at www.tribecafilm.com.