2013 Golden Starfish Awards

The following awards were announced at the 2013 Golden Starfish Awards Ceremony:

Golden Starfish & Audience Awards | Zelda Penzel | Nussbaum | Rabinowitz | Tangerine |
Views From Long Island | Conflict and Resolution | Sloan Foundation

Golden Starfish Awards

Our Golden Starfish Awards honor emerging directors from around the world in narrative feature, documentary feature, and short film competition sections. Juried by world-class filmmakers and industry professionals, these competitions represent the important, provocative premieres by cinema’s next wave of master filmmakers.

Narrative Competition

The Golden Starfish Award for Best Narrative Feature Film awards an emerging director with an in-kind filmmaking service package with a total value of over $145,000 and a magnum of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. We’re thrilled to highlight this year’s exciting and eclectic group of fresh talents.
View the films in contention.

The Selfish Giant

Golden Starfish Award for Best Narrative Feature

Winner: The Selfish Giant, directed by Clio Barnard



Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

Winner: Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears


Documentary Competition

The Golden Starfish Award for Best Documentary Feature Film is selected from this year’s five award contenders by the documentary feature jury; a $3,000 cash prize and a magnum of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne will be awarded.
View the films in contention.


Golden Starfish Award for Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Code Black, directed by Ryan McGarry


Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Desert Runners, directed by Jennifer Steinman


Short Film Competition

The Golden Starfish Award for Best Short Film comes with a $1,000 cash prize and a magnum of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. The winner will also qualify for an Academy Award® in the category of Best Live Action Short Film.
View the films in contention.

Whale Valley

Whale Valley

Golden Starfish Award for Best Short Film

Winner: Whale Valley, directed by Gudmundur A. Gudmundsson


Audience Award for Best Short Film

Winner: One Last Hug…, directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky


Narrative & Shorts Jury

Karen-DurbinKaren Durbin was a staff writer and arts and entertainment editor at The Village Voice in the 1980s, specializing in film, and after a similar stint at Mirabella, she returned to the Voice in the mid-90s as the paper’s editor in chief. In the summer of 2000 she became Elle Magazine’s first film critic, a job she delights in to this day.

Alex Karpovsky wrote, directed, and acted in the films The Hole Story and Red Flag, co-wrote and directed Woodpecker and Rubberneck, and directed the documentary Trust Us, This Is All Made Up. He plays Ray on the HBO series Girls, and appears as an actor in the films Tiny FurnitureBeeswax, and the forthcoming Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Raul EsparzaRaúl Esparza is a four-time Tony Award nominee in every acting category. He currently stars as A.D.A. Barba on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and guest stars as Dr. Frederick Chilton on Hannibal. Film credits include Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty, Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take, and Trouble in the Heights. On Broadway, he has appeared in Leap of FaithArcadiaSpeed-the-Plow (Tony nomination),The Homecoming (Tony nomination), Company (Tony nomination), Chitty Chitty Bang BangTaboo (Tony nomination), Cabaret, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, among many others. He is the recipient of the OBIE, the New York Outer Critics Award, the Barrymore, the LA Ovation Award, the Jose Ferrer Award, and three Drama Desk Awards. 

Documentary Jury

Dan-CrownIn 2010, Daniel Crown founded Red Crown Productions with his partner, Daniela Taplin Lundberg. Earlier this year, Red Crown released What Maisie Knew, starring Julianne Moore. Currently, Red Crown has 14 projects in development, including: Life Partners, starring Leighton Meester and Adam Brody; and Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba with Cary Fukunaga attached to direct. Their 2014 slate includes Three Little Words, starring Amanda Seyfried. A native of Chicago, Daniel lives in New York with his wife Ellen and their four children.

Nancy-GerstmanNancy Gerstman is co-president and co-founder of Zeitgeist Films. She has worked in all aspects of film distribution and exhibition including a stint at Landmark Theatre Corp., the largest independent theatre chain in the US. She is in demand as a juror, panelist and commentator on issues related to independent and foreign language film and is Permanent Artist-in-Residence in the Master’s Program in Media and Communication Arts at CCNY. She was born in Queens, New York.

Michael-HalsbandOne year after receiving his BFA, Michael Halsband became the official tour photographer for the Rolling Stones, documenting their 1981 North American tour. His fashion and portrait work has appeared in Vanity FairTimeGQVogue, and Life, among others. His photographs have been exhibited throughout the world, and in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Parrish Art Museum. Halsband’s work as a film director includes music videos and advertising campaigns, as well as Growing Farmers for The Peconic Land Trust of Eastern Long Island and winner of HIFF 2012’s Audience Award.

Zelda Penzel “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” Award

The Zelda Penzel “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” Award is presented to a film raising awareness about the moral and ethical treatment and the rights of animals that inspires compassion and compels social change. Dedicated to those who suffer in silence. The 2013 award included a $1,000 cash prize.

Winner: Emptying the Skies, directed by Douglas Kass; co-directed by Roger Kass

Nussbaum Award

The Jeremy Nussbaum Prize for Provocative Fiction recognizes uncompromising stories that have an undercurrent of politics or philosophy; these are edgy films that demand intellectual engagement. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of $5,000.

Winner to be announced.

Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice

The Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice is given to a film that most exhibits the values of peace, equality, and global justice. The award, which is accompanied by a cash prize of $1,500, is named In honor of two people who spent their entire lives fighting for those values.

Winner: The Square, directed by Jehane Noujaim

Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award

The Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award honors an outstanding female filmmaker with a cash prize of $1,000.

Free Ride

Free Ride

Winner: Free Ride, directed by Shana Betz

1-Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 12.47.40 PM

Suffolk County Film Commission Views From Long Island Award

The Views From Long Island Award is presented by the Suffolk County Film Commission to a a film that features local/resident filmmakers, the area’s unique landscapes, and the important issues—both social and political—facing Hamptons communities.

Paula Garces in The Maid's Room

Paula Garces in The Maid’s Room

Winner: The Maid’s Room, directed by Michael Walker


Conflict and Resolution Award

React-to-Film-Logo-150The 2013 winner of the Brizzolara Family Foundation Award for a film depicting positive Conflict & Resolution goes to Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson for their film Plot For Peace. The award is accompanied by a cash award of $5,000 and an additional award from REACT to FILM, which includes being a part of REACT to FILM’s “Influencer Series” in spring 2014 at a high profile cultural organization, as well as being featured across REACT to FILM’s College Action Network comprised of over 3 dozen campuses nationwide.

Winner: Plot for Peace, directed by Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson

Conflict and Resolution panel followed the screening of Plot for Peace on October 13. Panelists included: Jean-Yves Ollivier, subject of Plot for Peace;Stephen Smith, writer and Duke University adjunct professor of African Studies and Cultural Anthropology; Michael Ledeen, political analyst; Coralie Charriol Paul, president of React to Film; and Sharon Waxman, Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of The Wrap, who moderated.

The-Square-650For the first time, HIFF also presented an Honorable Mention, and the Brizzolara Family Foundation bestowed $2,000 to the filmmakers. Congratulations to Jejane Nouhaim for her film The Square.

In partnership with React to Film.

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Award

Alfred P. SloanThe culmination of our outstanding partnership, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and HIFF present the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize to a narrative film highlighting a realistic and compelling portrayal of science and technology. The winner receives a $25,000 cash prize.

Winner: Decoding Annie Parker, directed by Steven Bernstein

“For its searing dramatization of one woman’s personal heroism and another woman’s scientific dedication that led to the groundbreaking 1990 discovery of the bRcA1 gene responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers, and for several exceptional performances, the 2013 Alfred P Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival goes to Steven Bernstein’s powerful feature film, Decoding Annie Parker.” —Doron Weber, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

A panel followed the screening on October 11 about the history, themes, and issues in Decoding Annie Parker. Panelists included Annie Parker, the film’s subject; director Steven BernsteinSusan Solomon, Executive Director of New York Stem Cell Foundation; Barron LernerNew York Times blogger and author of Breast Cancer Wars; and Dr. Robert Benezra  a Member of Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for a post-screening panel discussion about the history, themes, and issues in Decoding Annie Parker.