Hamptons International Film Festival 20,000 Species of Bees
A still from 20,000 Species of Bees courtesy of the Hamptons International Film Festival

The Hamptons International Film Festival has released the list of winners for the 2023 festival, and highlights include Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES, which won best narrative feature.

Presented by HamptonsFilm, the 31st annual festival took place from Oct. 5-12 amid the beautiful fall weather in East Hampton, New York.

This year’s lineup was 49% female-directed, according to HamptonsFilm, and came from 42 countries. In total, 72 features and 46 shorts were screened.

With its award for best narrative feature, 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES received a $2,500 cash prize and $72,500 in in-kind goods and services sponsored by Panavision, Hamptons Locations, and On Location Education. 

“The narrative feature award is given to 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES, an exceptionally sensitive and nuanced portrayal of childhood, shown largely from the perspective of an eight-year-old struggling to understand their identity. The performances are heartbreaking, anchored by young Sofia Otero, who is a revelation. As gender issues are currently debated in loud and polemic terms, this outstanding film presents the feelings of a child with uncommon grace,” said narrative competition jury members Arianna Bocco, David Koepp, and Matt Singer.

Nick August-Perna’s TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME won the award for best documentary feature along with a $2,500 cash prize and $20,000 in in-kind goods and services, sponsored by GreenSlate and 91 East Productions. 

“With a strong group of documentary contenders at HIFF this year, we are proud that our selection for Best Documentary Feature is Nick August-Perna’s World Premiere feature film, TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME. We were greatly impressed with the way August-Perna constructed the telling of this controversial story—one that addresses issues of power, consent, and truth in the context of race, gender, and disability—with a sophisticated nuance that respects not only its subjects but the audience as well,” said documentary competition jury members Caryn Coleman, Marie Therese Giurgis, and Carlos Sandoval. 

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Xinying Lao’s XIAOHUI AND HIS COWS won best narrative short film, and Volker Schlecht’s THE WAITING won best documentary short film. Both received $1,000 cash prizes and will qualify for Academy Awards consideration. 

This year’s audience awards went to Jennifer Esposito’s FRESH KILLS and Ken August Meyer’s ANGEL APPLICANT. The audience award for best short film was a tie between Sam Hamilton and Julian Alvarez’s FORGOTTEN FOUNDERS: DAVID HEMPSTEAD, SENIOR and Sam Roebling’s MERV.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!” HamptonsFilm Artistic Director David Nugent said. “We were honored to welcome so many returning filmmakers as well as those sharing their films with our audiences for the first time here in the Hamptons. Our community came out in droves and welcomed this year’s films and guests with such warmth and enthusiasm.” 

“As we close out our 31st edition, we want to express our utmost gratitude to not only our incredible audiences for their continued support of the festival, but also to our diligent staff, volunteers, sponsors, partners, and esteemed guests for making it possible to program another year of dynamic screenings and conversations,” said HamptonsFilm Executive Director Anne Chaisson. 

Hamptons International Film Festival
Emily Bader in FRESH KILLS courtesy of Hamptons International Film Festival

See the full list of winners below.

HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2023 WINNERS

HIFF Award Winner for Best Narrative Feature
20,000 SPECIES OF BEES, directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

HIFF Best Narrative Feature Special Mention

THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED, directed by Joanna Arnow

HIFF Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature

TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME, directed by Nick August-Perna

HIFF Award Winner for Best Narrative Short Film

XIAOHUI AND HIS COWS, directed by Xinying Lao

HIFF Award Winner for Best Documentary Short Film

THE WAITING, directed by Volker Schlecht 

HIFF Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Feature

FRESH KILLS, directed by Jennifer Esposito

HIFF Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature

ANGEL APPLICANT, directed by Ken August Meyer

HIFF Audience Award Winner for Best Short Film

FORGOTTEN FOUNDERS: DAVID HEMPSTEAD, SENIOR, directed by Sam Hamilton and Julian Alvarez

and

MERV, directed by Sam Roebling

The Peter Macgregor-Scott Memorial Award

THE BREAKTHROUGH, directed by Daniel Sinclair 

The 2023 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award to Films of Conflict and Resolution

A REVOLUTION ON CANVAS, directed by Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder

and

BEYOND UTOPIA, directed by Madeleine Gavin

Victor Rabinowitz and Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice

SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD, directed by Anna Hints

The Zelda Penzel Giving Voice to the Voiceless Award

WILDING, directed by David Allen

Suffolk County Next Exposure Grant 

THESE DAYS, directed by Junior Gonzalez 

The Sherzum Award

RUSTIN, directed by George C. Wolfe

and

SUMMER QAMP, directed by Jen Markowitz

New York Women in Film & Television Award for Excellence in Narrative Filmmaking

FANCY DANCE, directed by Erica Tremblay

New York Women in Film & Television Award for Excellence in Narrative Filmmaking Honorable Mention

FRESH KILLS, directed by Jennifer Esposito

New York Women in Film & Television Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking

BEYOND UTOPIA, directed by Madeleine Gavin

University Short Film Awards

SO THEY SAY “Así Dicen”, directed by Natalia Luque

FIRST, I DREAM “Primero, Sueño”, directed by Andrés Lira 

CLASSMATES, directed by Major Dorfman

ME & AYDAROUS, directed by Sara Balghonaim

DAYDREAMING SO VIVIDLY ABOUT OUR SPANISH HOLIDAYS, directed by Christian Avilés

Main Image: A still from 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES courtesy of Hamptons International Film Festival

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