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'City of Joy' and 'Pushing Dead' AIFF audience favorites

"City of Joy" and "Pushing Dead" were the audience favorites in the 16th annual Ashland Independent Film Festival, held Thursday through Monday in Ashland.

Awards were presented Sunday night at the Historic Ashland Armory.

“City of Joy,” the tale of oppressed women amid violence in the Congo, won the Rogue Creamery Audience Award for Best Feature Length Documentary.

“Pushing Dead,” which portrayed a man living with HIV but without $3,000 a month for prescription medication, won the Varsity Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.

“Whose Streets?” won Special Jury Recognition for a Documentary Feature. It portrays tragic conflicts and death as police, accused of racism, confront African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

“My First Kiss and the People Involved" took awards for Best Narrative Feature and the Gerald Hirschfeld Cinematography Award. The film shows a severely autistic teen girl in a group home forced to use cold logic and experience to survive.

Filmmaker Rachel Lambert was presented with the "Faerie Godmother Award" for an emerging female filmmaker.

"Black Canaries" was given Special Jury Recognition for a Narrative Short. Filmmaker Jessie Kreitzer returned to his roots in Iowa to absorb the coal mining industry that impacted the health of his ancestors.

“Plea,” a 20-minute story about a lawyer who has only minutes to talk her 16-year-old client into copping a plea for murder, won the Jim Teece Audience Award for a Short Film.

Other awards went to:

  • Les Blank Award for feature length documentary — “Quest.”
  • Best Documentary Short — “Kish.”
  • Best Narrative Short Film — “Last Leatherman of the Vale of Cashmere.”
  • Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary — "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail."
  • Best Short Documentary, audience award — “The Tables.”
  • Rogue Award — Alex Cox.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award — James Ivory.
  • Pride Award (LGBT) — Jenni Olson.
  • Special Jury Recognition for Documentary Editing — "I Am Another You."
  • Special Jury Recognition for a Documentary Short — “The Boatman.”
  • Special Jury Recognition for a Narrative Feature — "The Missing Sun."

For more about the awards, go to www.ashlandfilm.org.

'My First Kiss and the People Involved' award at the AIFF Awards Ceremony at the Historic Ashland Armory on Sunday. [Mail Tribune / Larry Stauth Jr.]