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The Box wins big at GATFFEST 2017 - Special awards to Lennie Little-White, Franklyn St Juste

Published:Sunday | June 25, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Franklyn ‘Chappie’ St Juste
Lennie Little-White

The fifth annual Greater August Town Film Festival (GATFFEST) closed the curtains on nine days of regionally themed film screenings with an awards ceremony at the University of the West Indies on Saturday. Seventy-three films, screened over nine days, were scrutinised for a month by a select panel of judges.

The panel comprised freelance multimedia journalist Ina Sotirova; Dr Lisa Tomlinson, cultural critic and lecturer; Dr Anthony Frampton, journalist and filmmaker; Fabian Thomas, artistic director of Tribe Sankofa; and film stalwart Franklyn 'Chappy' St Juste. The judges decided on nine awards, nine films were given a Viewer's Choice Award, and there were 16 recognition awards.

The night's biggest winner was the animated tragedy The Box, written, produced, and directed by Iranian Merve Cirisoglu Cotur, who lives in the United Kingdom. The Box was the recipient of Best International Film, Best Animation, The Best of the Spirit of GATFFEST, and The Archibald McDonald Award for Best Film.

Recognition awards were issued to iconic Jamaican filmmaker Lennie Little-White and renowned director Franklyn St Juste, as well as to Professor Archibald McDonald and Professor the Most Hon Sir Kenneth Hall, patron of GATFFEST, as well as sponsors of the event.

Jamaican documentary Beneath the Surface walked away with a Viewers Choice Award for Montego Bay (tying with A Grimm Deal) and The Best UWICFP Production. Best Young Filmmaker went to Jamaican Odane Thompson for Bad Company, which was also a Viewers Choice Award winner for Jamaican Film Night (tying with Guilty Pleasures).

Cowboys and Indians by CLAVEITO Films was also a multi-award winner, taking home to Spain Most Original Screenplay and the Viewers Choice Award for European Film Night (tying with Gorilla).

The Franklyn St Juste Award for Best Directing went to South African film Sicela Amanzi (Water Please), directed by Mlu Godola. The Lennie Little-White Award for Best Local Film went to Shoot the Girl, written by Tony Hendricks.

Awardees who were unable to attend the event filmed themselves, and their messages of gratitude were relayed on a big screen for the audience to enjoy. The big screen was further utilised when the awards ceremony morphed into a 10th night of screening,the lights dimming for category winners to be shown.