In a press release on Oct. 7, Homer Theatre owners and Homer Documentary Film Festival organizers Lynette and Jamie Sutton announced the final results for the DocFest awards.
The Suttons also announced that they have temporarily taken the Homer Theatre off the market while some upgrades are being done.
The winners are:
Audience Award: “Maiden.” A film about the first all-women crew to sail the Whitbread Round the World Race, “Maiden” beat out just barely “Biggest Little Farm” and “Human Nature.” The Suttons said “Maiden” came close to selling out on its final night. Based on attendance alone, “Biggest Little Farm” had the most viewers.
Jury Award: “Human Nature.” “This even-handed look at the recently acquired ability to change the very nature of any living organism challenged the audience technically, intllectually and morally,” the Suttons said.
Director’s Award: “Honeyland.” The film about a woman living in an isolated Macedonian valley came about after three years of filming by its two directors. “An unforgettable, intimate story that will remain in the minds of the audience members forever,” the Suttons said.
Student Award: (tie) “For Sama” and “Maiden.” The Student Award was voted on by almost the entire student body of Flex High School and a number of attendees from Homer High School. To encourage a broadened world view, DocFest admitted students for free to some showings at the festival.
“The Flex discussion, particularly about For Sama, was heated and deep-felt,” the Suttons said. “One student observed the shock of the reality of war and its horrors, as shown in ‘For Sama,’ and how far-removed Syria and its tragedy was — and how lucky we are to live in Homer, Alaska.”
Based on the number of people who attended the 16th annual festival, this year was the most successful ever, with total attendance of 3,624 for all of the shows. More festival passes (228) were sold than ever, too. Several showings sold out, one for “Honeyland” and one for “The Serengeti Rules.” “Biggest Little Farm” also came close to selling out at the Gala Night opening.
This year, DocFest also partnered with the first Alaska World Arts Festival.
“The Homer Theatre and the Doc Fest are very pleased to join with the Arts Festival to further enrich the remarkable arts and cultural offerings in Homer,” the Suttons said. “We all learned a lot about working together. We want the Arts and the Film Festivals to be real successes for all of Homer.”
The Suttons said that while the Homer Theatre is off the market, they continue “to look for two or three couples who want the fun and opportunity to be in the ‘movie business,’ and to use this remarkable, and profitable, resource to serve and enliven life in Homer.”