‘The Novice,’ ‘Brighton 4th’ + More Win Big at 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

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Photo Source: "The Novice": Tribeca Film Festival

After taking a break last year due to the pandemic, the Tribeca Film Festival is back, and wrapped up over a week of premieres on June 20 in New York City. The 20th anniversary of the festival saw films “The Novice,” “Brighton 4th,” and “The Ascension” bring home top honors, and for the first time ever doled out awards to podcasts and games. This year’s lineup included 66 films from across the globe and 54 world premieres, with 60% of the films being directed by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ filmmakers. 

Despite a challenging year, festival director Cara Cusumano said she was proud to see what the industry had accomplished. “It’s been a challenging time for filmmakers, storytellers, and actors, and we’re so proud to honor the perseverance and dedication many of them displayed while working through the many obstacles that arose as a result of COVID-19. Each of these recipients truly embody the spirit of our creative community,” she said in a statement to the press.

The prestigious Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film went to Lauren Hadaway’s “The Novice,” which tells the story of a queer college freshman, played by Isabelle Furman, who joins her university’s rowing team and challenges herself to become the top boat. Furman took home the Best Actress award, adding to the film’s overall wins, including Best Cinematography.

The Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film award went to Matthew Leone for “God’s Waiting Room,” a film telling the story of three vastly different people who cross paths in the heat of summer in central Florida. 

In the International Narrative category, “Brighton 4th,” directed by Levan Koguashvili, took home three of the five awards, including Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor for Levan Tediashvili’s performance. The Georgian film is about a wrestler who travels to Brooklyn to help his son out of a gambling debt. The Best Actress award went to Bassant Ahmed and Basmala Elghaiesh for their performances in Egyptian film “Souad.”

Of the two esteemed directing awards, the Best New Narrative Director went to Nana Mensah for “Queen of Glory.” The Nora Ephron award, which goes to a female writer or director embodying the spirit of the late filmmaker, went to Chanel James and Taylor Garron for “As of Yet,” along with a $25,000 prize. 

This year saw two new categories in gaming and podcasts, sponsored by Audible. The Game Award was given to Geography Robot’s “Norco.” The podcast category was split in two, with “Guardians of the River” taking home the Non-Fiction Narrative Award and “Vermont Ave.” earning the Fiction Narrative Award. For more on the Tribeca Film Festival, including interviews and news coverage, click here.

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