The Stony Brook Film Festival concluded Saturday night with the presentation of awards – including a grand prize which is not given out every year, reserved only for those films that made a special impact at the festival.
The winner of that grand prize – the first one awarded since 2009 – was a.k.a. Doc Pomus, marking the first time a grand prize was awarded to a documentary. The documentary delved into the life of Jerome Felder, one of the most prolific songwriters of the early rock 'n roll era, who wrote such songs as "Viva Las Vegas" and "Teenager in Love." When the documentary screened on July 23, it received a standing ovation. It was conceived by Doc Pomus's daughter, Sharyn Felder; was directed by Peter Miller and William Hechter; and featured interviews with Dr. John, Joan Osborne, Ben E. King, Dion, Leiber and Stoller, Shawn Colvin, and B.B. King.
Best Feature Award (Audience Choice): Wunderkinder. Director Marcus O. Rosenmüller attended the July 22 screening, saying: "The screening of Wunderkinder at the Stony Brook Film Festival was a great experience. Rarely is there an audience like yours with lots of interest in a filmmaker’s point of view."
Best Feature Award (Jury) – tie: Shuffle. Director, writer, photographer and composer Kurt Kuenne, who could not attend the festival, said in a statement: "I saw photos of last weekend's stupendous crowd, and it made me so sad I couldn't have been there to experience the festival with all of you. Thank you so much to everyone at the Stony Brook Film Festival for inviting our film to screen in the first place -- and to the fabulous audience members who came out to see the film last weekend. Without you, there's no reason to make movies."
Best Feature Award (Jury) – tie: Taped (U.S. Premiere). Written by Marnie Blok and Diederik Van Rooijen. Directed by Diederik Van Rooijen. Produced by Alain De Levita. A couple travels to Buenos Aires to rekindle romance, but inadvertently tape a corrupt police officer committing murder, and must try to escape alive.
Best Short (Audience Choice) – Bordando la Frontera. A film by René Rhi. A father – willing to do almost anything he can to save his child's life – must make a difficult choice.
Best Short (Jury) – Shoot the Moon. A film by Alexander Gaeta. A woman turns to a nationally-televised game show in a last-ditch effort to save her home and her family.
Festival Achievement Award for Outstanding Performance – Philippe Torreton, Guilty. Torreton played Alain Marécaux, who along with his wife and 12 other people were accused of heinous acts of pedophilia they never committed. Based on a true story that broke in 2001, Marécaux and the others were subjected to a cruel and unfair judicial system that wreaked havoc on their lives and families.