$10,000 cash to the filmmaker (director, or writer/director) of the jury-selected best film made by a filmmaker making his or her feature narrative (60 min or longer) film debut. This special award recognizes and supports artists early in their careers as professional filmmakers. It was created by the South Florida family of Jordan Alexander Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter and Cornell University film studies graduate who, during his brief entertainment career, held production positions with the Tony award-winning Broadway hits 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal and Jersey Boys. He died in a tragic hiking accident while traveling in Nicaragua at age 23, before realizing his professional ambitions. This Achievement Award in the amount of $10,000 USD will be awarded to a film artist of a narrative first feature film by the Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund.
YOU RESEMBLE ME, directed by Dina Amer.
Jury: Estrella Araiza, Jonathan Cuartas, and Alexandre Moratto.
During the bombing attacks in Paris in 2015, a young woman called Hasna Aït Boulahcen was arrested and identified as Europe’s first female bomber. Journalist Dina Amer interviewed her friends and family; she has since reimagined her story, beginning with her wrenching separation as a child from her sister when they were placed with different foster families. Three actresses play the troubled adult Boulahcen becomes, reflecting her sense of fractured identity as she searches for something to do that will make her feel she belongs.
The selection committee said in a statement, “We chose the film for its bold depiction of fragmented identity and social inequality through its masterful weaving of styles. Part intimate character study, part topical drama, and part documentary, this fearless filmmaker, a former journalist who reported on the real-life events that inspired the film, takes a personal approach that is at once earnest and troubling, moving and provocative.”
Sabrina Doyle for Lorelei
Jury: Kira Davis, Karen Foster, and Gonzalo Maza
Gonzalo Maza for This is Cristina (Ella es Cristina)
Jury: Florencia Jimenez-Marcos, Leticia Jorge, and Naji Abu Nowar.
Alexandre Moratto’s Socrates
Xavier Legrand’s Custody
Tomás Alzamora’s Little White Lie
Lorenzo Vigas’ From Afar
Naji Abu Nowar and Bassel Ghandour’s Theeb *
Maria Gamboa and Adriana Arjona’s Mateo *
Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge’s So Much Water *
* Prior to 2019, Jordan Ressler awardees were given to the film’s credited screenwriters.