Among the four audience awards presented, CalArts alumni Jason Tippet (Film/Video BFA 09) and Elizabeth Mims (Film/Video BFA 10) were again rewarded for their work on Only the Young, a teen skater documentary set in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Writes AFI Fest's Mike Dougherty:
...Only the Young is a work of nonfiction — a simple portrait of youth in America that reaches dizzying emotional heights thanks to dazzling cinematography, beautifully rhythmic editing and the intelligence and vision of directors Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims.
The duo won the Young Americans section, competing against fellow CalArtian Mike Ott (Film/Video MFA 05, BFA 03), whose film Pearblossom Hwy also screened in the same category. Ott returns to favored themes in Pearblossom Hwy: angst, broken dreams and immigration, often blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction.
This year marked Ott's second AFI Fest appearance—in 2010 he, too, won the Fest's audience award for his film Littlerock.
Other CalArtians at the festival included: alumna Sara Gunnarsdóttir (Film/Video MFA 12) and her film The Pirate of Love, which screened during Shorts Program One; and CalArts School of Film/Video faculty member Bérénice Reynaud, a contributing writer for Senses of Cinema, who served on the three-person panel for the Grand Jury Award, New Auteurs. That top honor was taken by director Gabriela Pichler’s Eat Sleep Die.