The jury for the Hardacre Film and Cinema Festival has announced its awards in seven categories, prior to their screening this weekend in Tipton, Iowa.
The award-winning films and their categories are:
Best Narrative Feature: "Sita Sings the Blues" by director Nina Paley. Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India and then dumps her by e-mail. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both the ancient tragedy and the modern comedy in this animated interpretation of the Indian epic "Ramayana."
Runner-up: "Breaking Upwards," by director Daryl Wein. After four years together, a young New York couple has grown stifled and decides to intricately strategize their own breakup.
Best Documentary: "Pride of Lions," by directors John and Louise Woehrle. This documentary presents the nation of Sierra Leone in a new light - the story of what it means for a country and its people brutalized by an 11-year civil war to move beyond their scars.
Runner-up: "Out in the Silence," by directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson. The announcement of filmmaker Joe Wilson's wedding to another man in his small hometown newspaper leads to a firestorm of controversy and a plea for help from the mother of a gay teen being tormented at school.
Best Short Film: "Hector Corp.," by director Gary H. Lee. A timely, black comic thriller about layoffs and economic horrors. The Hector Corp. must take extreme measures to manage its employees - with unexpected executioners.
Runner-up: "Bathtub to Happiness," by directors Norbert and Nadine Keil. Victor and Marie have never met, but they find themselves in the same enchanted, traveling bathtub - neither wearing clothes.
Best Student Film: "The Guy Chronicles," by director Ryan Kohler. After a failed marriage and writing career in the city, 28-year-old Guy Aston is back in his hometown. Guy's attempt at securing a backup job at the local newspaper proves difficult as he eventually ends up on a wild goose chase with old pals.
Runner-up: "Le Paradis de L'imbecile" ("A Fool's Paradise"), by director Patrick Griffin. Joe can't help but delve into film-fueled fantasies to liven up his dull life.
Best Animated Film: "I am so proud of you," by director Don Hertzfeldt. Cult animator Hertzfeldt's sequel to "Everything will be ok" (Hardacre's Best Animated Film winner, 2007) follows the continuing struggle of Bill, whose recovery from mental illness is overshadowed by dark family secrets.
Runner-up: "Repaired?" by director Seung-Hoo Ihm. Two aliens try to fix their UFO after crashing from the moon to the Earth.
Best Experimental Film: "Ghost Conversations" by director Jeremy Bessoff. A woman pines for the return of her husband, lost somewhere in World War II. This dream conjures the ghost of a flying ace and traps him between two inescapable landscapes: the desolation of war and the safety of domesticity.
Runner-up: "Paradoxes and Oxymorons," by director Kate Raney. This animated interpretation of John Ashbery's poem features narration by DJ Spooky and offers a meditation on shapes, lines and language.
Best Iowa Filmmaker (a tie): "Horizons," by director Jordan Crabtree. An apathetic man is shocked to life after a friend's life-changing decision; and "Contrails," by directors James Niebuhr and Andy Richards. Through innovation and imagination, a young man pursues his unlikely dream of flight.