What I say to this dog is vital to the plot of At The End of the Tunnel .
What I say to this dog is vital to the plot of At The End of the Tunnel .

The Golden Space Needle Awards took place this morning at the Space Needle. Its winners for best film, best actor, best director, and so on were not picked by experts and critics but by the ever-changing sea of faces called the audience. Also announced during this event were awards selected by a jury.

SIFF's masses picked Rodrigo Grande as this year's best director. His film At The End Of The Tunnel, which also won best film, is an Argentinian heist thriller with lots of dizzying twists and a great noirish atmosphere. In my review of the Tunnel, I argued that it was the kind of film Hollywood has forgotten how to make. A film that keeps one step ahead of the audience, as it makes its way through the maze of an elaborate plot. Superhero films only test the superhero's power: its effectiveness, its weak points, its chances against a very powerful enemy. Between each of these tests are a bunch of dead spaces. Not much construction is needed for a plot that's solely built to reward waiting. In Tunnel, there are no wasted spaces and no time to wait. Even what a girl whispers to a dog is of great importance.


What defines Northwest cinema is the art of natural light.
What defines Northwest cinema is the art of natural light. Lane 1974

The New American Cinema award went to Lane 1974, a film directed by the rising star of Seattle's film community, S.J. Chiro. Though the film is set in Northern California, it is very much a local film because, like a leaf on an evergreen, it's very sensitive to the effects and textures of natural light. Indeed, Pacific Northwest Cinema can first be defined as just this kind of sensitivity. The film's star, Sophia Mitri Schloss, however, deserved the audiences' award for best actress. Her performance of a teen who is watching her family and her era disintegrate is remarkable. Also, Chiro's work has this as its deep understanding: the condition of a childhood, no matter how awful it be, is always the fairy tale.

You can read Julia Raban's interview or Lane1974's director here.


One more note: The Lena Sharpe Award, which is given to the the best film directed by a woman, went to the director of the powerful #BlackLivesMatter-era documentary Step Amanda Lipitz. It's a film about black teenage girls just trying to get to college. Higher education offers them the best and most realistic chance to get out of poverty. We have seen movies about black youth with hoop dreams; this film is about black youth with dreams to get a good GPA.



Here are the winners and runner-ups for the main awards. (You will notice that Wes Hurely's Little Potato, which won the best short documentary award at SXSW Film Festival, came second at SIFF.)

SIFF 2017 GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AUDIENCE AWARDS

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD - BEST FILM
AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, directed by Rodrigo Grande (Spain/Argentina 2016)

First runner-up: KING’S CHOICE, directed by Erik Poppe (Norway 2016)
Second runner-up: I, DANIEL BLAKE, directed by Ken Loach (United Kingdom/France/Belgium 2016)
Third runner-up: PATTI CAKE$, directed by Geremy Jasper (USA 2017)
Fourth runner-up: LANE 1974, directed by SJ Chiro (USA 2017)


GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD - BEST DOCUMENTARY
DOLORES, directed by Peter Bratt (USA 2017)

First runner-up: CHASING CORAL, directed by Jeff Orlowski (USA 2017)
Second runner-up: STEP, directed by Amanda Lipitz (USA 2017)
Third runner-up: CITY OF GHOSTS, directed by Matthew Heineman (USA 2017)
Fourth runner-up: DIRTBAG: THE LEGEND OF FRED BECKEY, directed by Dave O’Leske (USA 2017)


GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD - BEST DIRECTOR
Rodrigo Grande, AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Spain/Argentina 2016)

First runner-up: Justin Chon, GOOK (USA 2017)
Second runner-up: Philippe van Leeuw, IN SYRIA (Lebanon/France/Belgium 2017)
Third runner-up: Mani Haghighi, A DRAGON ARRIVES! (Iran 2016)
Fourth runner-up: Hirokazu Kore-eda, AFTER THE STORM (Japan 2016)


GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD - BEST ACTOR
David Johns, I, DANIEL BLAKE (United Kingdom/France/Belgium 2016)

First runner-up: Leonardo Sbaraglia, AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Spain/Argentina 2016)
Second runner-up: Timothy Spall, THE JOURNEY (United Kingdom 2016)
Third runner-up: Fares Fares, THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT (Sweden/Denmark/Germany 2017)
Fourth runner-up: Bogusław Linda, AFTERIMAGE (Poland 2016)


GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD - BEST ACTRESS
Lene Cecilia Sparrok, SAMI BLOOD (SAMEBLOD) (Sweden/Norway/Denmark 2016)

First runner-up: Elina Vaska, MELLOW MUD (Latvia 2016)
Second runner-up: Danielle MacDonald, PATTI CAKE$ (USA 2017)
Third runner-up: Sophia Mitri-Schloss, LANE 1974 (USA 2017)
Fourth runner-up: Simone Baker, GOOK (USA 2017)


GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD - BEST SHORT FILM
DEFEND THE SACRED, directed by Kyle Bell (USA 2016)


First runner-up: LITTLE POTATO, directed by Wes Hurley, Nathan M. Miller (USA 2017)
Second runner-up: THE GENEVA CONVENTION, directed by Benoit Martin (France 2016)
Third runner-up: FLUFFY, directed by Lee Filipovski (Serbia/Montenegro/Canada 2016)
Fourth runner-up: THE CLEANSING HOUR, directed by Damien LeVeck (USA 2016)


LENA SHARPE AWARD FOR PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Presented by Women in Film Seattle
Amanda Lipitz, STEP (USA 2017)


SIFF 2017 COMPETITION AWARDS


SIFF 2017 OFFICIAL COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
SAMI BLOOD (SAMEBLOD) (d: Amanda Kernell, Sweden/Norway/Denmark 2016)

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
MY HAPPY FAMILY (d: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross, Georgia/Germany/France 2017)

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SIFF 2017 NEW DIRECTORS COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
BOUNDARIES (PAYS) (d: Chloé Robichaud, Canada (Québec) 2016)

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
THE INLAND ROAD (d: Jackie Van Beek, New Zealand 2017)


SIFF 2017 NEW AMERICAN CINEMA COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
LANE 1974 (d: SJ Chiro, USA 2017)