admin On aprile - 4 - 2014
Ambassador Miculescu, Barnie Jones & Nora Armani

Ambassador Miculescu, Barnie Jones & Nora Armani

NEW YORK – What kicked off with a very successful week on Friday March 14, 2014 at the Quad Cinema with Momcilo Mrdkaovic’s Mamarosh and a celebratory reception at The Fourth Restaurant, closed on Thursday, March 20, 2014 with an equally successful awards night at New York’s Tenri Cultural Institute. During the span of a week, Rated SR film festival’s inaugural edition screened over 50 films from 18 countries to audiences hungry for films with socially relevant content.

The closing awards ceremony was attended by over 100 invitees, jury members, filmmakers, festival friends and supporters. Founding Artistic Director Nora Armani thanked all the partners and sponsors who helped make the film festival a success. She emphasized the importance of support from patrons who understand the significance of such a festival, where awareness towards social issues is raised, which in turn spurs positive social change, and reminded those present that Rated SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York strives to become the platform for filmmakers engaged in socially relevant film content. “It is through the voices of socially engaged filmmakers that such awareness may be raised and such positive change can be hoped for,” said Armani. Many of the talented filmmakers, almost half of whom are women, were present at both the opening and closing ceremonies.

From the reactions of the filmmakers present, audience members and most specifically Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! who delivered the festival’s Inaugural Keynote address, Ms. Armani said she became “convinced that the festival was on the right track. But that its journey had only just begun.”

Armani thanked Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! for delivering an inspirational and uplifting inaugural keynote address on Tuesday, March 18 where she graciously received the Rated SR inaugural keynote address award, and oversaw the presentation of The Rated SR Social Justice Award that was selected out of five films contending for that award, of which the winning film was Coal Rush (directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo).

The much-awaited moment of the awards distribution started with her invitation of film critic, and member of the Women Film Critics Circle, Chiara Isabella Spagnoli Gabardi to give out the WFCC award to the winning film. Ms. Gabardi thanked Prairie Miller who founded the WFCC and mentioned that it is the 10th anniversary of WFCC. The WFCC award that was presented to Small Small Thing by Jessica Vale. The film tells the story of 7-year old Olivia Zinnah victim of a rape in Liberia, who dies of her inflicted wounds at the age of 9. The award was received by the film’s co-producer Barnie Jones.

Jury Members

Jury Members

Next Armani invited Lucie Tripon and Aram Spendjian from the festival team to give out the Rated SR Socially Relevant Film Festival’s scriptwriting award, in the form of scriptwriting software offered by Final Draft, which were awarded to Lynda Lemberg & Jeffrey Allan Russell (Canada) for Grace and Linda Niccol for Poppy (New Zealand). The winners were present.

For the short film category, Niki Bhattacharya, Social Documentary Department School of Visual Arts was invited to give out the Rated SR Short Film award in the form of script writing software offered by Final Draft to the winners The Barber, by Nicola Morris (UK) and Guswenta (Two Row Wampum) by Gwendolen Cates (USA).

Armani mentioned the most recent festival partner, IndiePix that had come onboard with a new award, in the form of a distribution deal for up to 7 short films. “This new relationship with IndiePix will add momentum to the festival and recognition to the films as it will extend world wide distribution of these short titles in a commercial setting that will reward the filmmaker, help promote the festival, and give these works the widest possible distribution today,” said Armani.

In the documentary competition category a distribution deal from Cinema Libre Studio of Los Angeles, was awarded by Jury member Niki Bhattacharya, to Not Who We Are by Carol Mansour – a documentary about Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The first runner up was selected, Stable Life buy Sara Macpherson.

The “Empowering Women and Girls” award in memory of Vanya Exerjian, in the form of a trophy designed and donated by Michael Aram, was presented by her Excellency Ambassador Simona Miculescu permanent representative of Romania to the UN. It was awarded to Jessica Vale for Small Small Thing. Co-producer Barnie Jones received it on behalf of he filmmaker.

Closing Night Awards

The last remaining category was the Grand Prize of the festival, generously donated by Elliott Kanbar of the Quad Cinema’s QuadFlix Select Program, representing a weeklong release of the winning film. The feature competition category Grand Prize winner was Jessica Vale for Small Small Thing. The first runner us was selected Lucky Express by Anna Fischer.

The birth of Rated SR Socially Relevant film festival New York was celebrated by the cutting of a special cake. Armani announced that Early Bird Submissions for the second edition open in June.

Words of gratitude were spoken for many friends, family, to members of the Rated SR team who volunteered their time and worked very hard to make the festival a reality. And to conclude Armani’s words of deepest gratitude went to the audience members present, “Because without your help and support we cannot have a second year’s festival. And now that the festival exists, it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure it not only survives, but thrives!”


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