37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL | October 30-November 3

37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL | October 30-November 3

VAFF Award Winners

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2023 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmers’ Award Winners

Visionary Award: Ava DuVernay
Honors an artist whose filmography has changed the course of modern cinema. 

Directorial Achievement Award: Matthew Heineman
Recognizes the achievement of an exceptionally talented, creative, and compelling director.

Breakthrough Director Award: Cord Jefferson
Celebrates a director who have achieved excellence with their directorial debut. 

Changemaker Award: Nikki Giovanni
Recognizes an artist who has been a force for positive change, both within the entertainment industry and beyond.

Chronicler Award: Nicole Newnham
Recognizes a documentary filmmaker who has demonstrated excellence, creative vision, and significant achievement in non-fiction filmmaking.

Craft Award: Kazu Hiro
Recognizes a distinguished and outstanding practitioner of behind-the-scenes film craft (Art Direction, Casting, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, Production Design, Sound Mix and Design). 

Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award: Ricardo Preve
Named for the Founder of the Virginia Film Festival, and 65th Governor of Virginia. Recognizes excellence in Virginia filmmaking and honors an exceptional filmmaker who has roots in Virginia or prominently spotlights Commonwealth locales, history, and culture in their work.

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2022 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Living
  • Documentary Feature: Dani’s Twins
  • Narrative Short: Night Ride
  • Documentary Short: Stranger at the Gate

Programmers’ Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Karaoke
  • Documentary Feature: Refuge
  • Narrative Short: Home of the Brave
  • Documentary Short: Tuning René Marie

Screenwriting Achievement Award: Meg LeFauve
Recognizes the achievement of an exceptionally talented, creative, and compelling screenwriter.

Breakthrough Star Award: Jonathan Majors
Acknowledges an exceptional early to mid-career actor for on-screen achievement.

Changemaker Award: Dustin Lance Black
Recognizes a filmmaker who has been a force for positive change, both within the entertainment industry and beyond.

Chronicler Award: Sam Pollard
Recognizes a documentary filmmaker who has demonstrated excellence, creative vision, and significant achievement in non-fiction filmmaking.

Craft Award: Eugenio Caballero
Recognizes a distinguished and outstanding practitioner of behind-the-scenes film craft (Art Direction, Casting, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, Production Design, Sound Mix and Design). 

Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award: Jamie Sisley
Named for the Founder of the Virginia Film Festival, and 65th Governor of Virginia. Recognizes excellence in Virginia filmmaking and honors an exceptional filmmaker who has roots in Virginia or prominently spotlights Commonwealth locales, history, and culture in their work.

Jeremy O. Harris

2021 Award Winners

American Perspectives Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema: Jeremy O. Harris

Audience Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Machinery of Dreams
  • Documentary Feature: Stay Prayed Up
  • Narrative Short: Calf Rope
  • Documentary Short: When We Were Bullies

Programmers’ Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: The Speech
  • Documentary Feature: Socks on Fire
  • Narrative Short: The Acolyte
  • Documentary Short: In the Shadow of the Pines

Reel South SHORT Award winner at the Virginia Film Festival

  • There Was Nobody Here We Knew
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Chloe Zhao_AP

2020 Award Winners

American Perspectives Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema: Chloé Zhao

Audience Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Nomadland
  • Documentary Feature: They Ain’t Ready for Me
  • Narrative Short: We Got This
  • Documentary Short: The First

Programmers’ Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Dinner in America
  • Documentary Feature: Hamtramck, USA
  • Narrative Short: Moneybag Head
  • Documentary Short: Call Center Blues

 Reel South SHORT Award winner at the Virginia Film Festival

  • Lipstick and Leather
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JUST MERCY FINAL

2019 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmer’s Award Winners

Commonwealth Awards

Rising Star Award: Liana Liberato
Acknowledges an exceptional early to mid-career actor for on-screen achievement.

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Film Title: Green Book

2018 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmer’s Award Winners

Commonwealth Awards

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Last Flag Flying Image FINAL

2017 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmer’s Award Winners

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2016 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmer’s Award Winners

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Brooklyn FINAL Image

2015 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmer’s Award Winners

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WhatWeDoIntheShadowsFINAL

2014 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

Programmer’s Award Winners

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ClawPRINT

2013 Award Winners

Audience Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Philomena
  • Narrative Short: Awakened Eyes
  • Documentary Feature: CLAW
  • Documentary Short: The Creative Proposition

Programmer’s Award Winners

  • Narrative Feature: Blue Ruin
  • Narrative Short: Miracle Boy
  • Documentary Feature: A Will for the Woods
  • Documentary Short: Ring People 
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