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Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award

The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary filmmakers who embody the spirit, energy, and innovation demonstrated by anthropologist Margaret Mead in her research, fieldwork, films, and writings.

The award is given to a filmmaker whose feature-length documentary displays artistic excellence and originality of storytelling technique while offering a new perspective on a culture or community remote from the majority of our audiences’ experience. Filmmakers with works making their U.S. premieres at the festival are eligible. On Sunday evening, the Mead Award winner will be announced in an award ceremony and will be shown in an encore presentation.

2018 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Winner

Christy Garland, director, What Walaa Wants  

“What we felt that was really strong about the film was the way that it is showing the kind of growth and development of a young woman who’s a very complex person,” said juror Toby Lee. “That it shows all of her internal contradictions that are also very much connected to the contradictions of the kind of larger historical and political context in which she lives.”

“Also, we like the cinematography,” said juror Sarah Elder. “The intimate nature of it and the access that the director had to the family and to the police academy.”

2018 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Contenders  

Georgina Barreiro, director, Tara’s Footprint 

Maciek Bochniak, director, Ethiopiques–Revolt of the Soul 

Łukasz Borowski, director, Runners

Jean-Simon Chartier, director, Playing Hard

Helin Celik and Martin Klingenböck, directors, What the Wind Took Away

Christy Garland, director, What Walaa Wants  

Niklas Kullström and Martti Kartinen, director, Eastern Memories

Marcia Mansur and Marina Thomé, directors, The Sound of Bells

Tenzin Phuntsog and Joy Dietrich, director, Rituals of Resistance  

Anja Reiss, director, Truth Detectives 

Carmen Torres, director, Amanecer (Dawn)

2018 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Jury

Sarah Elder is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has filmed with Alaska Native communities since 1973. Her work focuses on collaborative media practices, Indigenous sovereignty and heritage, and the ethics of filming across cultural and social boundaries. 

Chris Hegedus is a director and editor whose work includes Academy Award-nominated The War Room and the Emmy-winning Elaine Stritch.

Toby Lee is an artist and anthropologist who works across film, video, drawing, and text. She is assistant professor of Cinema Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Sam Pollard is an accomplished feature film and television video editor and documentary producer/director whose work includes August WilsonThe Ground On Which I Stand for the PBS series “American Masters.”

Heather Rae is an Academy Award-nominated producer whose work includes Frozen River, Netflix Originals Tallulah and DudeI Believe in Unicorns, and The Dry Land.