Announcing the 2017 Golden Gate Award Winners

60th San Francisco International Film Festival

Golden Gate Awards New Directors Prize winner: Everything Else, Natalia Almada (Mexico/USA/France)

This year we awarded nearly $40,000 in prizes to emerging and established filmmakers.

For 60 years, the Festival’s Golden Gate Awards have honored deserving filmmakers and their projects, heralding unsung excellence and exposing local and international audiences to unique and innovative filmmaking. Among the most significant awards for emerging global film artists in the United States, the Golden Gate Awards embody SFFILM’s commitment to global storytelling and independent filmmaking.

Drum roll please…


Winner: Everything Else, Natalia Almada (Mexico/USA/France)

The Jury Noted: “For its humanism, its consistency of vision, its formal rigor, and its remarkable blend of fiction and non-fiction, we give the New Directors award to Natalia Almada and her film Everything Else.”


Winner: Brimstone & Glory, Viktor Jakovleski (USA)

The Jury Noted: “Spectacular and visceral, dangerous and spiritual, this high flying documentary transports us into the ecstatic rituals of a Mexican town.”

Photographer: Pamela Gentile

McBaine Bay Area Documentary Feature Award: The Force, Peter Nicks (USA)

“For it’s timely and in-depth examination of the relationship between the police and the community, unafraid to show the complex humanity of all sides of this fraught subject, we give this award to Peter Nicks’ gripping and finely crafted documentary.” -Golden Gate Award Jury

The Force, Peter Nicks (USA)

Special Jury Prize: School Life (formerly In Loco Parentis), Neasa Ni Chianeáin, David Rane (Ireland/Spain)

The jury noted: “The jury would like to give a special jury prize to a movie that take us into an eccentric and idyllic world with intuitive grace and a richly empathetic vision.”

School Life (formerly In Loco Parentis)


Best Narrative Short: Univitellin, Terence Nance (France)
LEFT: Special Jury Prize: A Brief History of Princess X, Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal/France/UK) RIGHT: Best Documentary Short: The Rabbit Hunt, Patrick X Bresnan (USA)
Best Animated Short: Hot Dog Hands, Matt Reynolds, (USA)
LEFT: Best New Visions Short: Turtles Are Always Home, Rawane Nassif (Qatar/Lebanon/Canada ) RIGHT: Bay Area Short First Prize: In the Wake of Ghost Ship, Jason Blalock (USA)
Bay Area Short Second Prize winner: American Paradise, Joe Talbot, USA.

Best Narrative Short winner: Univitellin, Terence Nance (France)

Special Jury Prize: A Brief History of Princess X, Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal/France/UK)

Best Documentary Short winner: The Rabbit Hunt, Patrick X Bresnan (USA)

Best Animated Short winner: Hot Dog Hands, Matt Reynolds, (USA)

Best New Visions Short winner: Turtles Are Always Home, Rawane Nassif (Qatar/Lebanon/Canada)

Bay Area Short First Prize winner: In the Wake of Ghost Ship, Jason Blalock (USA)

Bay Area Short Second Prize winner: American Paradise, Joe Talbot, USA.


The Family Film jury consisted of Common Sense Media Editor-in-chief Jill Murphy, author Jim Averbeck, and educator Alexandre Petrakis.

Best Family Film winner: Valley of a Thousand Hills, Jess Colquhoun (South Africa/UK)

The jury noted :“This film is a moving, refreshing, and unexpected portrait of a section of the culture of South Africa, feeling so far away geographically but so easy to relate to emotionally. We were drawn into the ease and dynamics of the kids’ friendships. The authenticity of the storytelling from its young subjects helped create a deeper connection to the audience. It was hopeful, inspiring, reassuring, and visually stunning. We feel audience members of a wide range of ages can walk away with a lasting impression that captures the simplicity of childhood layered with life lessons on focus, respect, and friendship.”

Valley of a Thousand Hills, Jess Colquhoun (South Africa/UK)

Special Jury Prize: Summer Camp Island, Julia Pott (USA)

The jury noted: “We want to see more of this and wish it could be turned into a series. We love the quirky originality of the story, animation, and characters.”

Special Jury Prize: Summer Camp Island, Julia Pott (USA)


The Youth Works jury was comprised of bay area high school students Ethan Bresnick, Shamaurea Sanford, and Melinna Equihua, with adult supervisor Jill Shackleford, Associate Producer of KQED’s Film School Shorts.

Winner: Cycle, Caleb Wild (USA)

The jury noted: “Cycle presented an honest portrait of a young man coming-of-age that examined his character beyond the typical tropes of masculinity, offering viewers an engaging journey that felt personal and surprising with strong cinematography.”

Cycle, Caleb Wild (USA)


The Google Breakthrough in Technology Award jury was comprised of members of Google’s Computer Science in Media and Industry Relations teams, including Courtney McCarthy, Strategist in Computer Science in Media, and Julia Hamilton Trost, Account Executive, Google Media Sales.

Google presents the Breakthrough in Technology Award for the best use or display of technology and innovation. The award honors filmmakers who go the extra mile to highlight the use of technology to solve a problem and make the world a better place, and aspires to promote diversity in tech while disrupting negative stereotypes in STEM fields.

Winner: N.O.VI.S., Arthur Rodger ‘Harley’ Maranan (Philippines)

N.O.VI.S., Arthur Rodger ‘Harley’ Maranan (Philippines)

60th San Francisco International Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival) is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country’s most beautiful cities. The 60th edition runs April 5–19 at venues across the Bay Area and features nearly 200 films and live events, 12 juried awards with close to $40,000 in cash prizes, and upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests.

Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round nonprofit organization delivering screenings and events to more than 100,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 10,000 students and teachers annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services.

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