29th sfiaaff jury award winners

On Thursday night, the 29th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, presented by the Center for Asian American Media, closed out another successful run of its main San Francisco portion with an awards ceremony announcing the festival's jury award winners. Here's the press release with the list of awardees:
SFIAAFF 2011 Comcast Narrative Competition

For the first time, SFIAAFF has partnered with Comcast to present the narrative competition awards. The jury included Aseem Chhabra, an entertainment writer and host of the online series "The Aseem Chhabra Show"; Quentin Lee, director of the 2009 film THE PEOPLE I'VE SLEPT WITH; and Leonardo Nam, a Hollywood actor who starred in the SFIAAFF 2009 Best Narrative Feature HALF-LIFE.

Winner, Best Film: THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE!, Dir. Zeina Durra

Jury Statement: Great filmmaking has to be courageous. This film has a clever and engaging script and an inspired sense of humor. Depicting a slice of life of an artist, it takes us inside the world of eccentric artists in New York and reminds us of the freshness of Wayne Wang's CHAN IS MISSING.

Winner, Special Jury Prize: THE TAQWACORES, Dir. Eyad Zahra

Jury Statement: It's an important thing for this film to be made because it shows the diversity of Islam that we don't see in popular media. With well-drawn characters that we care about, the film is engaging to a universal audience.

Johnnie Giles, Comcast's Regional Vice President of Government Affairs, said: “Comcast congratulates these filmmakers for bringing Asian American stories to light. These awards underscore our commitment to independent cinema, and we're proud to continue this tradition on Cinema Asian America, our new On Demand destination featuring shorts from SFIAAFF's first-ever Online Film Festival.”

SFIAAFF 2011 Documentary Competition

The documentary jury included Anita Chang, an educator and award-winning documentary filmmaker; Jessie Mangaliman, a veteran journalist and local board member of the Asian American Journalists Association; and Alex Rivera, a digital-media artist and filmmaker.

Winner, Best Film: MADE IN INDIA, Dirs. Rebecca Haimowitz and Vaishali Sinha

Jury Statement: An unflinching and surprising look at a rapidly growing industry that puts women's bodies on a new global market.

Winner, Visual Achievement Award: SUMMER PASTURE, Dirs. Lynn True and Nelson Walker

Jury Statement: A lyrical treatment of an ancient living tradition - set against a harsh and breathtaking landscape - battling the forces of urbanization and the free market.

Winner, Award for Achievement in Citizen Journalism: OPEN SEASON, Dirs. Lu Lippold and Mark Tang

Jury Statement: A nuanced approach to an urgent contemporary issue - that of refugee and migrant struggles to find a home and justice in 21st-century America.
The festival continues through March 20 in San Jose, with the world premiere of Upaj at the Montgomery Theater on a selection of the festival's films at the Camera 12 Cinema through March 20. The Verizon Audience Awards for Best Narrative and Best Documentary features will be announced after the festival at the CAAM website.

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