Cinema/Chicago News

51st Chicago International Film Festival Announces Audience Award Winners

Published: November 2, 2015  |  Filed under: Festival News

The Audience Has Spoken

Cinema/Chicago’s 51st Chicago International Film Festival announces the winners of its Audience Choice Awards. Every new film that played at the 51st Festival (Oct 15-29, 2015) is eligible to win the audience award.

Festival audience members received a ballot at each public screening during the two-week Chicago International Film Festival. Festival moviegoers ranked films on a five-point scale.

All votes were tallied and averaged after the 51st Festival officially closed. Overall, audience members gave this year’s Festival films an average rating of 4.2 out of a five-point scale. Films that received the highest averages were declared the winners as listed below.

Presented by Cinema/Chicago

Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative English-Language Feature

Country: USA
Director: Tom McCarthy
Synopsis: Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James and Stanley Tucci, Spotlight tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Tom McCarthy, Spotlight is a tense investigative dramatic-thriller, tracing the steps to one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times.

Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Foreign-Language Feature

Country: Turkey, Greece, France
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Synopsis: At the start of this stark, meditative drama that recalls The Virgin Suicides, five sisters play in the sea with their male classmates. As punishment for such immoral behavior, the grandmother and uncle raising the girls imprison them at home to maintain their “purity” until marriage. Submission or defiance seems to be the only options, as each sister, one by one, finds her own personal escape route.

NOTE: Mustang is also France’s entry into the 2016 Academy Awards.

Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature

Country: USA
Director: Michael Moore
Synopsis: What has lured Michael Moore, the documentary genre’s most entertaining rabble-rouser, back to feature films after a six-year hiatus? Only the future of his country, naturally. Where To Invade Next is an expansive, rib-tickling, and subversive comedy in which Moore, playing the role of “invader,” visits a host of nations to learn how the U.S. could improve its own prospects. The creator of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine is back with this hilarious and eye-opening call to arms. Where To Invade Next shows the solutions to America’s most entrenched problems already exist in the world, he says–they’re just waiting to be co-opted.

NOTE: Where To Invade Next also won the 51st Chicago International Film Festival’s Founders Award, which is given to one film across all categories that captures the spirit of the Chicago International Film Festival for its unique and innovative approach to the art of the moving image. The award was given to director Michael Moore at the Festival’s Awards Night on Friday, October 23, 2015 at The Peninsula.

Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film

Country: Japan, Singapore, USA
Director: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Synopsis: A chain-smoking, corporate Japanese woman develops a crush on her English teacher in this ingenious comedy of manners and Americanization.

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