Above, Tom Kalin
On Saturdays and Sundays during AIFF2020, the festival will focus attention on our winners of its special awards.
May 23-24: Strand Releasing Weekend (Indie Institution Award)
May 30-31: Tom Kalin Weekend (Pride Award)
June 6-7: Renee Tajima-Peña Weekend (Rogue Award)
June 14: Garrett Bradley Weekend (James Blue Award)
INDIE INSTITUTION AWARD: MARCUS HU AND STRAND RELEASING
Founded in 1989, Strand Releasing has consistently shone as a leading distributor of foreign language, American independent, and documentary films. Taking risks and embracing daring, sometimes outrageous filmmakers and works at which others might balk, Strand is a friend to outsiders, to iconoclasts, to queer artists, and to cinematic truth-tellers all. In its 30 years of existence, Strand Releasing has distributed the works of such highly esteemed and world-renowned filmmakers as Catherine Breillat, Lucrecia Martel, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Fatih Akin, Ira Sachs, Pablo Trapero and Jacques Nolot – to name a few. Co-founder Marcus Hu has also served as a producer on Dennis Cooper's Frisk and Gregg Araki's The Living End and is active nationally as a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. Previously, he served on the Sundance Film Festival's National Advisory Committee, the boards of IFP West and Los Angeles Outfest, and others.
Strand Releasing Weekend
May 23: Adam
Two women transform each other’s lives in this resonant portrait about the courage and compassion it takes to move beyond living with grief and shame.
Celebrating Strand Releasing’s 30th anniversary, more than 30 filmmakers and friends of the company honor its indelible contribution to independent cinema by making short iPhone films.
PRIDE AWARD: TOM KALIN
The Pride Award, supported by the Equity Foundation, is given annually to a leading figure in LGBTQ media.
Filmmaker, writer, and activist Tom Kalin is a prominent figure in the New Queer Cinema. He is known for narrative features, mixed media installations, and short experimental films and videos. His first feature, Swoon, was awarded the Caligari Prize in Berlin, the Fipresci Prize in Stockholm, and Best Cinematography at Sundance. Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, premiered in Cannes; it was the opening night film in Zurich and screened at Sundance, London, and Tribeca, among many others. Kalin was also a member of ACT UP and a founding member of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury, known for its provocative public art projects. Kalin’s work is in the collection of the Centre George Pompidou, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and New York’s MoMA, among others.
Tom Kalin Pride Award Weekend
May 30: Swoon
Tom Kalin’s 1992 feature on the 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case makes explicit the homosexuality of the protagonists and the homophobia of contemporary criminal psychology.
May 31: The Short Films of Tom Kalin
A selection of short films made by Tom Kalin from his AIDS activist artwork They Are Lost to Vision Altogether, made in 1989, through his latest music video for Mandy Patinkin, From the Air.
ROGUE AWARD: RENEE TAJIMA-PEÑA
AIFF2020 will celebrate the rise of Asian American independent filmmaking with a Tuesday night series of Asian American-themed films and a Rogue Award tribute to one of our most important American independent filmmakers.
Renee Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker whose credits include Who Killed Vincent Chin?, Calavera Highway, Skate Manzanar, Labor Women, and other films about immigration, race, ethnicity, gender, and social justice. Tajima-Peña has been deeply involved in the Asian American independent film community as an activist, writer, and filmmaker. She was the director and first paid staff person at Asian Cine-Vision in New York and a founding member of the Center for Asian American Media (formerly National Asian American Telecommunications Association). Tajima-Peña is the series producer/showrunner of Asian Americans, an unprecedented 5-hour series on the Asian American experience that airs on PBS in May 2020. At UCLA, she is Professor of Asian American Studies, Director of the Center for EthnoCommunications, and holder of the Alumni and Friends of Japanese American Ancestry Endowed Chair.
Renee Tajima-Peña Rogue Award Weekend
A rollicking ride across the changing terrain of American culture, this odyssey recaptures the spirit of Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, Asian American style.
June 7: No Más Bebés
The story of immigrant mothers who sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were pushed into sterilizations while giving birth at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the 1960s and ‘70s.
JAMES BLUE AWARD: GARRETT BRADLEY
The James Blue Award, with support from the James Blue Alliance, is given to a filmmaker whose films exemplify the values of Oregonian director James Blue (1930-80), whose work addressed complex issues of social justice and social/political change.
Garrett Bradley works across narrative, documentary, and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes like race, class, familial relationships, social justice, southern culture, and the history of film in the United States. Her collaborative and research-based approach to filmmaking is often inspired by the real-life stories of the people in the work. In January of 2020, Bradley became the first black woman to win Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival for her 2020 non-fiction feature film Time, which Amazon will release later this year. Bradley was also honored with the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize for the short film Alone, which was released by The New York Times OpDocs.
Garrett Bradley James Blue Award Weekend
June 14: The Short Films of Garrett Bradley
Two short films by Garrett Bradley will be featured in this program. America was inspired by the recent discovery of footage from a feature film made in 1913 by an interracial cast and crew for a black audience. Alone is about Bradley’s friend Aloné Watts. Her name holds a bitter aptness, because it describes her own ongoing isolation because of her partner’s incarceration.