Submitted by Friday Harbor Film Festival
A local San Juan Island producer won the Audience Choice Awards at the 2018 Friday Harbor Film Festival, Oct. 26 – 28.
Amy Herdy, investigative producer of the “Bleeding Edge,” was thrilled to win the Audience Choice Awards for the best film of the 2018 Friday Harbor Film Festival. Her memorable quote when accepting the award was to the filmmakers themselves when she told them the 10 films she had watched “fed her soul and please give us more.”
The winners of the categories were:
Explorers and Adventures: a thrilling high seas adventure, “Ocean Warriors; Chasing the Thunder.”
Tales of the Heart: “Big Sonia,” a Holocaust survivor explores the meaning of being a survivor.
Things to Consider: “On Her Shoulders,” Nadia Murad, the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner’s crusade to speak out.
Audience Choice Short: “The 100-Year-Old Whale,” about our own local whale Granny.
Capt. Paul Watson was awarded the Andrew V. McLaglen Lifetime Achievement Award to a standing ovation. Watson received the award for his life‘s work with both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd; as he is a true hero for the oceans.
San Juan Island composer Alex Shapiro was given the well deserved Local Hero Award for her activism through music. Megan Vivenzio honored Alex with a special dance performance to her own music.
The Friday Harbor Film Festival also inaugurated the Laszlo Pal Emerging Filmmaker Award. Laszlo, a former board member of the Friday Harbor Film Festival, recently passed away. He spent 30 years teaching filmmaking, so the festival chose to honor his memory with this new award. The award went to Partho Gupte to a young man from India, who is a gifted young filmmaker and whose films illustrate great promise. He was surprised to receive the award. Gupte spoke eloquently upon receiving the award of how much it meant to him and how dedicated he is to his craft.
Sunday morning, Maria Garcia, a film critic from New York City who was very impressed and promised to return next year, skillfully facilitated the popular filmmakers’ forum. It was an enlightening experience for all who attended.
Overall, the Friday Harbor Film Festival was a great weekend of films, filmmakers and an eager and enthusiastic audience. There were several sell-out venues. The festival enjoyed a 20 percent increase in film viewings in spite of the ferry schedule changes, though several refunds were given to folks who had planned to attend from Vancouver Island.
The top 10 films will be screened during the winter twice a month, starting Jan. 15 at the San Juan Island Grange in Friday Harbor.