Crowds gather on the plaza outside the Wellmont Theater following the screening of “The French Dispatch” on Thursday, Oct. 21, the opening night of the Montclair Film Festival. This year marks both the festival’s 10th anniversary and a return to in-person movie screenings after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the festival to go virtual in 2020. (NEIL GRABOWSKY/COURTESY MONTCLAIR FILM)

The Montclair Film Festival announced the winners of the festival’s 2021 film competitions Monday.

This year’s festival featured four competitive categories: Fiction, Documentary, Future/ Now and New Jersey Filmmaking. Additionally, the Fiction and Documentary juries also awarded films for the festival’s Short Film competitions. The festival also announced the festival’s 2021 Audience Awards and Junior Jury prizes.

Feature Film Jury Awards

“The Worst Person in the World” directed by Joachim Trier, was awarded the festival’s Fiction Feature Prize, with Sebastian Meise receiving a Special Jury Prize for Directing for his film “Great Freedom.”

The Fiction Feature Competition featured “Drive My Care,” directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, “Great Freedom,” directed by Sebastian Meise, “A Hero,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, “The Souvenir Part II,” directed by Joanna Hogg and “The Worst Person in the World,” directed by Joachim Trier.

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The Fiction jury was comprised of Bilge Ebiri (film critic), Richard Gladstein (producer) and Zach Mandinach (The Gotham).

“Flee” directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, took home the festival’s top Non-Fiction Competition prize, the Bruce Sinofsky Award, in the festival’s Non-Fiction Feature competition. This award was established in memory of filmmaker and longtime Montclair resident Bruce Sinofsky.

The Non-Fiction Feature Competition featured “Bernstein’s Wall,” directed by Douglas Tirola, “A Cop Movie,” directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios, “The First Wave,” directed by Matthew Heineman, “Flee,” directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen and “President,” directed by Camilla Nielsson.

The Non-Fiction Feature Competition jury was comprised of Kahane Cooperman (director), Richard Lawson (critic) and Nancy Schafer (producer).

“What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?” directed by Aleksandre Koberidze, was awarded the Mark Urman Award For Fiction Filmmaking in the festival’s Future/Now competition, featuring a $5,000 cash prize, honoring early career filmmakers. This award was established in 2019 in memory of the film distribution executive Mark Urman, a longtime Montclair resident and funded through Montclair Film’s Mark Urman Award Fund.

The Special Jury Prize for Visionary Filmmaking was awarded to Jane Schoenbrun for “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair.”

The Future/Now Competition featured “Clara Sola,” directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, “The Innocents,” directed by Eskil Vogt, “Poppy Field,” directed by Eugen Jebeleanu, “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair,” directed by Jane Schoenbrun and “What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?” directed by Aleksandre Koberidze.

The Future/Now jury was comprised of Penelope Bartlett (Criterion), Matt Grady (Factory 25) and Genevieve Villaflor (Sag Harbor Cinemas).

“Kill Big,” directed by Ida Joglar, took home the New Jersey Films Competition prize, with awarded a Special New Jersey Local Hero Humanitarian Award to Mayor Mohamed Khairullah, subject of “Mayor Mohamed,” directed by Jeffrey Togman.

The New Jersey Feature Competition featured “American River,” directed by Scott Morris, “Kili Big,” directed by Ida Joglar, “Life of Crime: 1984-2020,” directed by Jon Alpert, “Mayor Mohamed,” directed by Jeffrey M. Togman and “One Pint at a Time,” directed by Aaron Hosé.

The New Jersey Films Competition jury was comprised of Reuben Atlas (director), Dwight Brown (critic) and Shivani Rawat (producer).

Audience Awards

The festival’s Audience Award for Fiction Feature was awarded to “Belfast,” directed by Kenneth Branagh

The Audience Award for Non-Fiction Feature was awarded to “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” directed by Dave Wooley.

The Audience Award for World Cinema was awarded to “Flee,” directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen.

The Audience Award for Short Film was awarded to “Larry & Me,” directed by Lisa Melmed.

David Carr Award

“The First Wave,” directed by Matthew Heineman, took home the 7th Annual David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking, which honors a filmmaker, selected by the festival, who utilizes exemplary journalistic techniques to explore important contemporary subjects and is presented in honor of Mr. Carr’s commitment to truth telling in reporting.

Junior Jury

Each year, The Montclair Film Festival welcomes our Junior Jury, made up of thirteen area high school students representing twelve area schools. The Junior Jury awarded their top prize to two films. “The Souvenir Part II,” directed by Joanna Hogg and “The Innocents,” directed by Eskil Vogt, will share the award.

Short Film Jury Awards

“Lili Alone,” directed by Zou Jing, won the festival’s Fiction Short Film Competition, with a Special Jury Prize for Direction awarded to Nesaru Tchaas for “Some Still Search.” The Fiction Shorts jury was comprised of Bilge Ebiri (film critic), Richard Gladstein (producer) and Zach Mandinach (The Gotham).

“Happiness is a Journey,” directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan won the festival’s Non-Fiction Short Film Competition. A Special Jury Prize for Awareness and Advocacy was awarded to “R.I.P. T-Shirts”, directed by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis. The Non-Fiction Shorts jury was comprised of Kahane Cooperman (director), Richard Lawson (critic) and Nancy Schafer (producer).

“Safe,” directed by Ian Barling, won the festival’s New Jersey Shorts competition, with a New Jersey Short Film Special Jury Prize of the Montclair Storyteller Award presented to Topaz Jones and rubberband., directors of “Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Mama.” The competition featured films in the fiction and non-fiction categories from New Jersey. The New Jersey Shorts Competition jury was comprised of Reuben Atlas (director), Dwight Brown (critic) and Shivani Rawat (producer).

“It has been incredibly moving to welcome audiences back to the movies and to feature the work of so many gifted artists who brought the world to us,” Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall said in a Montclair Film press release. “We thank and congratulate every single filmmaker in the festival, each of whom overcame the profound difficulties of our recent times to share their films with our community. We look forward with hope to the continued impact their films will make in the year ahead.”