That’s a wrap on our countdown to NFF Year 20! For those who need a refresher from last year’s edition, the festival opened with The Skeleton Twins and closed with Richard Linklater’s much heralded Boyhood (pictured). The Audience Award winner was Rory Kennedy’s Oscar nominated Last Days in Vietnam. Aaron Sorkin accepted the Screenwriters Tribute from his West Wing colleague Bradley Whitford, while Life Itself director Steve James received our Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling award and I Origins helmer Mike Cahill scooped up our New Voices in Screenwriting award.
IN THE NEWS
NFF Year 18 kicked off with the Opening Night screening of (eventual) Oscar winner Twenty Feet From Stardom (pictured), featuring a live performance by Judith Hill, and the Opening Day Pixar selection, Monsters University. Other films included Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12; Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Fruitvale Station; Lake Bell’s In a World…; The Spectacular Now, from James Ponsoldt, who lit up Sundance year with his David Foster Wallace biopic, The End of the Tour; as well as the documentaries Blood Brother, God Loves Uganda, Blackfish and The Short Game.
2012 was an absolutely jam packed year in Signature Programs. Diane Keaton presented the Screenwriters Tribute to her collaborator Nancy Meyers (The Parent Trap, Something’s Gotta Give), while Frank Langella, who attended the festival with Robot and Frank, received the Compass Rose Acting Award; Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar of Beasts of the Southern Wild took home the New Voices in Screenwriting Award; and Rory Kennedy received the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award. Bill Hader hosted the All-Star Comedy Roundtable, with participants Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey and Chris Rock, and NFF held a Staged Reading of former Tributees Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor’s The Lost Cause, with participants Steve Zahn, Mike Birbiglia, Cara Seymour, Stephen Root and Tom Cavanaugh.
Paul Haggis, the Oscar winning writer-director of Crash and In the Valley of Ellah, and the screenwriter behind the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, received our Screenwriters Tribute in 2011. Vera Farmiga, who attended the festival with her directorial debut Higher Ground, was the recipient of the Compass Rose Acting Award, while Cars 2 screenwriter Ben Queen was honored with the New Voices in Screenwriting award. The All-Star Comedy Roundtable was hosted by Seth Meyers, and included Jerry Seinfeld, Aziz Ansari, Ben Stiller, and Colin Quinn.
2010 marked NFF’s first collaboration with Pixar as Toy Story 3 opened the festival, and writer Michael Arndt (an Oscar winner for Little Miss Sunshine) received the very first New Voices in Screenwriting Award. Waiting for Superman director Davis Guggenheim, meanwhile, received the first ever Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling, which has since gone to Steve James, Barbara Kopple and Rory Kennedy. Robert Duvall, who attended the festival with Get Low, scooped up the Compass Rose Acting Award, and Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Wag the Dog, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Natural, Bugsy) was the recipient of our Screenwriters Tribute, which the festival commemorated with an anniversary screening of Diner.