When all the votes were counted for both jurors and audiences in the Ashland Independent Film Festival, it was the complex, heart-grabbing and ultimately heroic “Bastards y Diablos” that swept both groups as Best Feature.
A major presence in the film and at the festival, executive producer Dillon Porter co-starred in the film as an elder half-brother to Andrew Perez. The two young men meet as adults after their father’s death, and journey the length of Colombia scattering his ashes, meeting many of the loves and kin of his life.
The 15th annual festival ran Thursday through Monday at half a dozen theaters, showing over 100 films.
Other audience awards were the Rogue Creamery’s Best Feature Length Documentary for “Voyagers Without Trace,” the tale of a French trio who rafted the Green and Colorado Rivers, shooting much color film, but almost disappearing from history until this documentary.
The Jim Teece Award for Short Film went to “The Stairs,” with Anthony Heald of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival playing a lonely gent who hires a male escort for company on Christmas Eve, and finds unexpected kinship and caring.
For Best Short Documentary, the audience chose “Mothering Inside,” an Oregon film that shows a successful program to keep women prison inmates connected with their children.
For Best Acting, the jury of film professionals here chose “Five Nights in Maine,” with David Oyelowo, Rose Perez and Dianne Wiest. They portrayed the fallout from a black-white marriage cut short by the death of the bride.
The Honorable Mention for acting went to “A Light Beneath Their Feet,” a coming-of-age story about a young woman going off to college and leaving behind a bipolar mother. It starts Taryn Manning from “Orange is the New Black.”
Best short film for jurors was “Killer,” a story of puberty, with honorable mention for “El Tigre,” a tale of boxing in the Dominican Republic.
Other juried awards are:
“Hooligan Sparrow” for the Les Blank Award for Best Feature Length Documentary. Honorable Mention for “The Birth of Sake.”
“Nuts,” Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary. Honorable Mention for “In Pursuit of Silence.”
“100 Years Show” for Best Short Documentary. Honorable Mention for “Greenwood.”
“There was a stellar group of films to select from this year,’’ said Richard Herskowitz, director of programming. “Audience ratings overall were astonishingly high, and our jurors did not have an easy time narrowing down favorites.”