This year’s jury winners in the Thin Line Film Festival, one feature film and two short films, offered fresh perspectives on Western values.
Best feature film went to Goodness in Rwanda. The best short film was awarded to What I Hate About Myself, and the best student short film went to Haenyeo: Women of the Sea.
Festival director Joshua Butler said he found it interesting that — with many of last year’s winning films following Westerners trying to “do good” in developing countries — so many films this year examined how such altruism is received. This year’s films showed the Western perspective doesn’t always resonate.
“What we get back is a reflection of Western society,” Butler said.
In their 28-minute film, What I Hate About Myself, the filmmakers follow an 18-year-old Chinese girl who competes for free cosmetic surgery in a televised competition in hopes that she can look more “Western.”
In their 12-minute film, the creators of Haenyeo: Women of the Sea travel to Jeju Island, South Korea, to film a portrait of Chuwar Park, an 82-year-old woman who still dives for sea food without scuba gear. They follow her daily routine and plumb her past to shed light on a matriarchal culture that is still much as it was 200 years ago.
For Goodness in Rwanda, Thin Line and Denton offered the U.S. premiere. The film followed a Canadian theater troupe as they toured their play about genocide in Rwanda. The film received its world premiere in April at the ReelWorld Film Festival in Toronto, where it received the Audience Choice award.
This year’s festival didn’t poll for audience favorites, although the local film, When We Were All Broncos, proved so popular that the festival offered a third screening.
Not all the films in the festival, including Broncos, were eligible for a jury prize. But, for those that were, the jury screened the top six and evaluated them for subject matter and relevance, along with their entertainment value, Butler said.
The student film winners, Alex Igidbashian, Dave Jeong and Kevin Sawicki, receive a $500 cash prize for their work. For their short film, directors and editors Ben Mullinkosson and Bobby Moser, receive a $5,000 credit for their next film at Panavision. Tara Hughes, who directed the feature film, receives a $10,000 credit at Panavision.
“That should help them pay for their next film,” Butler said.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.