Vail Film Festival announces 2017 award winners |

Vail Film Festival announces 2017 award winners

Daily staff report
“Custody,” a Colorado premiere, won the award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2017 Vail Film Festival.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Organizers of the 14th annual Vail Film Festival, which celebrated women in film from Thursday through Sunday, have announced the official award recipients for this year’s festival.

“We are incredibly proud to shine a light on female filmmakers this year. The films being screened are interesting not only for the themes that are explored, but how women specifically address these themes,” said Megen Musegades, Vail Film Festival co-director. “We are thankful to the many innovative and groundbreaking artists who joined us for this year’s festival, as well as to our patrons, volunteers, staff and sponsors for their generous support.”

The festival honored two prolific female artists for their outstanding achievement in film during Saturday evening’s award ceremony at the Cascade Theater. Two-time Oscar nominee Julie Delpy was presented with the 2017 Vanguard Award, and Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy nominee Christina Ricci was honored with the 2017 Renegade Award.

First featured in Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Detective” at the age of 14, Delpy studied filmmaking at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has directed, written or acted in more than 50 films. In her most recent role, she stars with J.K. Simmons in the 2017 film “The Whole New Everything.” She has been nominated for two Academy Awards and won three Cesar Awards, among many other industry accolades.

Making her screen debut at the age of 9 in “Mermaids” with Winona Ryder and Cher, Ricci has received several awards during her career in TV and film and currently stars in and executive produces the Amazon original series “Z: The Beginning of Everything.”

Film Winners

The 2017 Vail Film Festival jurors recognized exceptional films in the following categories:

• Best Narrative Feature: “Custody,” a Colorado premiere, was written and directed by James Lapine, produced by Katie Mustard and stars Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Ellen Burstyn. “Custody” follows the legal proceedings and intimate family dynamics of a single mother who risks losing her two children over an ill-timed argument.

• Best Documentary: “Little Stones,” a world premiere, was written, directed and produced by Sophia Kruz and co-produced by Meena Singh. “Little Stones” follows four women from around the world who use art to empower women and girls.

• Best Short: “Quick Fix,” a world premiere, was written and directed by Brian Leider and produced by Natalie Brasington and Nick Marshall. After a traumatic experience on the subway, Scotty finds much more than he was looking for when he visits an old friend.

• Best Student: “Rocket,” a Colorado premiere, was directed by Student Academy Award winner Brenna Malloy. “Rocket” is a bittersweet fairy tale set in the world of 1950s dirt track racing.

• Audience Award: “Little Pink House,” a Colorado premiere, was written and directed by Courtney Moorehead Balaker. “Little Pink House” follows the story of a small-town nurse, Susette Kelo, who emerges as the reluctant leader of her working-class neighbors in their struggle to save their homes from political and corporate interests.

Screenplay Winners:

First place: “Butterfly Children,” written by Melanie Schiele. A furniture craftsman struggles to save his failing marriage and 6-year-old daughter afflicted with a rare and debilitating disease, leaving her skin as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.

Second place: “Calls to Virginia,” written by Jason Ruscio.

Third place: “Beasts Undiscovered,” written by Catherine Dale and Jeremy Dehn.

*In attendance to accept the award. For more information about the Vail Film Festival, visit

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