June 28, 2021 (Provincetown, MA) – The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) announced today the winners of this year’s Warner Media Audience Awards, the John Schlesinger Awards, the NY Women in Film and TV Filmmaker Awards and Short Film Prizes. 

“It was so incredible to have the opportunity to welcome filmmakers back to Provincetown at this precise moment of reopening and to have an eager audience able to view films both in person and online,” said PIFF Artistic Director Lisa Viola. “We are grateful that we could provide a space for artists and festival goers to participate in this shared experience of reconnecting.”

Warner Media Audience Awards

The Warner Media Audience Awards are voted on by festival attendees both virtually and in-person. 

Warner Media Audience Award / Best Narrative Feature: LANGUAGE LESSONS

Warner Media Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature: BEING BEBE and PLAYING WITH SHARKS (tie)

John Schlesinger Awards

These juried awards are presented to a first-time narrative and documentary feature filmmaker. The awards include a cash prize of $1,000 to each filmmaker.

The Narrative Schlesinger Award: Bassam Tariq (MOGUL MOWGLI)

Filmmaker Andrew Ahn (DRIVEWAYSSPA NIGHT), Narrative Schlesinger Juror, said: “MOGUL MOWGLI is a film that explores cultural, physical, and artistic identity with passion and insight. Anchored by Riz Ahmed’s beautiful performance, the film’s bold use of sound, cinematography, and editing all come together to tell us such a personal story of an artist.”

The Documentary Schlesinger Award: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (SUMMER OF SOUL)

Producer Maureen Ryan (DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD, MAN ON WIRE), Documentary Schlesinger Juror, said: “SUMMER OF SOUL is a spectacular cinematic and musical resurrection that restores a long-lost and essential moment of black culture to its rightful place in history. Like WHEN WE WERE KINGSthe film places the spotlight where it belongs – on the Black men, women and children – so they are finally fully seen and heard in their fullest majesty. The musical performances alone are a triumph but first-time director Questlove includes important interviews with those who were there – on and off the stage – to bring light to a magical time when ordinary people got to experience the extraordinary in their own public park in Harlem.” 

NY Women in Film & Television Filmmaker Awards

The NYWIFT Awards are awarded to a female filmmaker for Excellence in Producing or Directing for Narrative and Documentary Filmmaking and include a cash prize of $1,000 to each filmmaker.

Narrative Film: BEANS, directed by Tracey Deer

Documentary Film: STORM LAKE, directed and produced by Beth Levison

Juried Short Awards

The 2021 shorts jury consisted of: Chloe Gbai, Emmy-nominated producer and a Manager on the Original Documentaries team at Netflix; Jake Yuzna, filmmaker and founder of the Cinema program at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; and Priya Sircar, arts advocate who most recently served as director for arts at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Best Queer Short (presented by Here Media): HEAVEN REACHES DOWN TO EARTH, directed by Tebogo Malebogo

For its poetic cinematic language that expands the cannon of queer cinema in form and subject

Best Documentary Short (presented by Warner Media): ELEVEN WEEKS, directed by Anna Kuperberg, Julie Caskey 

For its heart wrenching, tender, and unflinching glimpse into the intimate experience of love and end of life

Best Narrative Short: FIRST LOVE, directed by Florent Gouelou

For its fresh take on a familiar setting and story–a finely crafted and achingly relatable portrait of love in decline

Special Jury Prize: MELTDOWN IN DIXIE, directed by Emily Harrold

For its candid and nuanced look at race, commerce and politics through a real small town story

Best New England Short: SENIOR PROM, directed by Luisa Conlon

For its lovely casting and focus on queer love and aging

Best Animated Short: NUDE TRIUMPHANT, directed by Leo Crane

For its original animation that takes the viewer on a revealing adventure with robust characters

As previously announced, Richard Linklater was presented with the 2021 Filmmaker on the Edge Award in conversation with filmmaker John Waters; Riz Ahmed was presented with the Excellence in Acting Award in conversation with film critic Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair); and Natalie Morales received the Next Wave Award for her work as an actor/filmmaker on LANGUAGE LESSONS. The festival opened with Jon M. Chu’s IN THE HEIGHTS at the Wellfleet Drive-In and closed with Emily Branham’s BeBe Zahara Benet documentary, BEING BEBE. The hybrid festival ran June 16-25 virtually and in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 

Major sponsors of PIFF 2021 include: Warner Media, Anchor Inn Beach House, Dr. Anthony Tannous, Boston Harbor Cruises, Bubala’s By the Bay, Cape Air, Curaleaf, Fanizzi’s, Gabby Hanna & Marcy Feller, Jeanne Leszczynski & Diane DiCarlo, Lands End Inn, Mallrd Foundation, Poor Richard’s Landing, Red Thread Productions, Roderick’s Payroll, Seaglass Inn and Spa, Seamen’s Bank, The Palette Fund, Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod, and Christine & Bryan Walker. 

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About The Provincetown Film Society

The Provincetown Film Society (PFS) is an advocate for diverse representation in film, providing year-round programming and platforms that allow voices of all kinds to be heard via film. Locally, PFS’ work positively impacts the cultural and economic vitality of Provincetown. Nationally, its work helps shape industry discussions around parity in film. Through PFS’ work, we have an ability to better understand and appreciate human struggles and triumphs, showcasing our similarities and differences in today’s diverse culture.


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Press Contacts

RJ Millard / Kory Mello