The 18th Annual Tribeca Film Festival announced its festival jury awards today and winning a big sweep is 19-year-old filmmaker Philip Youmans.
The New Orleans native received top honors for his film Burning Cane which made its debut last week at the festival. Burning Cane received the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film and Wendell Pierce earned an award for Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film.
Phillip Youmans is the first African-American director to win this award, as well as the youngest director to have a feature in Tribeca; he wrote, directed, and shot the film at age 17.
Produced by both Wendell Pierce and Phillip Youmans, the film is set among the cane fields of rural Louisiana, Burning Cane follows a deeply religious mother struggling to reconcile her convictions of faith with the love she has for her troubled son.
The documentary 17 Blocks, an intimate and gripping documentary with home footage that spans over two decades, won Best Documentary Competition, as well as Best Editing in a Documentary Film. 17 Blocks tells the story of the Sanford family, whose struggles with addiction and gun violence eventually lead to a journey of love, loss, and acceptance.
Below is a list of all the winners:
U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2019 U.S. Narrative Competition were Lucy Alibar, Jonathan Ames, Cory Hardrict, Dana Harris, and Jenny Lumet.
Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Burning Cane, directed by Phillip Youmans. The winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Bloom” by Fred Tomaselli. The award was given by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal on behalf of the jury. Jury comment: “The Founders Award goes to a voice that is searingly original. One of the jurors compared this filmmaker’s unique voice to a latter day Faulkner, Welty, Williams. We loved this filmmaker’s vision and we love this filmmaker’s inevitable brilliant future. We are honored to present this award to Phillip Youmans for Burning Cane.”
Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Haley Bennett in Swallow. Jury comment: “For a sensitive, engaging performance the best actress award goes to Haley Bennett for Swallow.”
– Jury special mention: “For her always surprising and deeply engaging work in Stray Dolls, Geetanjali Thapi.
Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Wendell Pierce in Bu
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Jamie Broadnax is the creator of the online community for Black women called Black Girl Nerds. Jamie has appeared on MSNBC's The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and The Grio's Top 100. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. She's the primary film critic for BGN and is a member of the Critics Choice Association.