Spotlight Award

Every film needs more fans. We want to shine a great big light on films that need to have big audiences and filmmakers from whom we can’t wait to see more. Our Spotlight Award celebrates what’s coming and what’s already here. These films may soon be headed to theatres or DVD or iTunes and Netflix. Whatever their path, you need to seek them out. Previous winners in this category include Jessica Oreck’s Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2010), Andrei Ujica’s The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2011), Tatiana Huezo Sánchez’ The Tiniest Place (2012), Wojciech Staron’s The Argentinian Lesson (2013), Cristian Soto and Catalina Vergara for The Last Station (2014), Johanna Hamilton for 1971 (2015) and Alexandre Nanău for Toto and His Sisters (2016).

Among the Believers

Nominated for
In Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, the charismatic Islamist Abdul Aziz Ghazi sits on the floor in the largest of the Koranic schools of which he is the spiritual leader. He takes a big sack into his arms, turns it upside down...

The Land of the Enlightened

Nominated for
In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over five years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look...

The Pearl

Nominated for
Far from the celebrity and magazine covers of Laverne Cox and Caitlin Jenner, THE PEARL witnesses the loss and extraordinary risk of four middle-aged senior war vets, steel foremen, and fathers and grandfathers coming out for the first time as...

Les Sauteurs (Those Who Jump)

Nominated for
Abou and his friends stand on a sparse Moroccan hillside looking out at the tiny Spanish enclave of Melilla. All that stands between them and their El Dorado are three towering fences. German filmmakers Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner entrusted...

Dead Slow Ahead

Nominated for
A freighter crosses the ocean. The hypnotic rhythm of its pace reveals the continuous movement of the machinery devouring its workers: the old sailors’ gestures disappearing under the mechanical and impersonal pulse of the 21st century neo-capitalism. Perhaps it is...

All This Panic

Nominated for
Filmed over the course of three years, All this Panic follows Ginger and Dusty, sisters growing up in New York City, along with their friends and classmates as they navigate high school politics and growing up in front of the...

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