Chagrin Falls — Figures were still being crunched this week, but it appears that attendance at the ninth annual Chagrin Documentary Film, Oct. 3-7, will be on par with or better than last year’s count of 12,090, according to event founder and Director Mary Ann Quinn Ponce.
“We had lots of sell outs and our reach clearly grew,” she said. “There was a man who drove from Iowa and was seeing dozens of films and we had another couple spending the weekend from Colorado and others from Florida and Pennsylvania and they were just the ones I knew of.”
Though the festival extended through Sunday, the awards and $15,000 were given out to 11 filmmakers whose works were judged best in their category at the Festival Awards Show on Saturday. For the second year in a row, an anonymous patron donated the cash awards.
As is tradition and to honor the late filmmaker David Ponce, the spirit and meaning behind the festival, $5,000 was presented to the film chosen as Best of the Festival by a panel of judges. This year’s winner was “Eva,” the story of Eva Kor who with her twin served as guinea pigs for “The Angel of Death,” Joseph Mengele at Auschwitz during World War II.
The $2,500 award for Best Emerging Filmmaker went to “The Interpreters,” which told the story of Afghan interpreters who risked their lives to help American soldiers and who are still waiting for the American visas.