Camden International Film Festival has announced the award-winning films from its ninth edition, which marked the end of a four-day weekend that included the screening of more than 70 films from dozens of countries, as well as the fifth Points North Documentary Forum. The festival hosted more than 100 filmmakers and industry leaders, with filmmakers in attendance for almost every public screening and doubled pass sales from 2012.

This year’s Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature went to “The Genius of Marian,” directed by Banker White and Anna Fitch. Both were in attendance to receive the award for their film, which will travel the state of Maine as part of CIFF’s inaugural Engagement Summit: Aging in Maine, thanks to the support of the Fledging Fund and Camden National Bank. The intimate family portrait explores the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s disease, the power of art and the meaning of family.

“A film whose perspective is so warmly intimate, it is clearly crafted by a filmmaker whose connection is colored not only by blood ties, but by a profound sense of affection and respect. This relationship imbues the film with a nuanced and lyrical representation of woman who is deeply loved, receding from life long before her time,” said filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen Sept. 29 on behalf of the 2013 Harrell Award Jury, which also included esteemed critic John Anderson; and producer and festival veteran Nancy Schafer.

The Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature Special Jury Mention went to “Expedition to the End of the World,” a Danish film directed by Daniel Dencik. With a mood and setting at once surreal and breathtakingly vivid, the film is laced with moments of unexpected humor and profound insights about the human experience, noted the Jury, which added, “It is nothing short of a gorgeously crafted film.”

This year’s Emerging Cinematic Vision Award sponsored by Vimeo went to “Bending Steel,” directed by Dave Carroll. The film follows Chris Schoeck, an endearing yet unassuming man as he trains to become a professional old-time strongman. Schoeck attended the CIFF screening and treated the audience to a few feats of strength.

“Every frame of the film conveys the profound sense of trust between the filmmakers and their subject, which makes for an extraordinarily intimate viewing experience,” said filmmaker Michael Palmieri on behalf of the 2013 Emerging Cinematic Vision Jury, which also included critic Anthony Kaufman and LEF Foundation Program Director Sara Archambault.

A Special Emerging Cinematic Vision Jury Mention went to “Last Dreams” by Danish filmmaker Estephan Wagner.

“The Jury selected two films that stand out for their focused and empathic approach to their characters. We give a special jury mention to Estephan Wagner's “Last Dreams” for its deeply compassionate look at the psychological and emotional journey of three women in their final moments of life,” said the Emerging Cinematic Vision Jury.

In an unprecedented turn of events, the Camden International Film Festival had two films tie for the 2013 Audience Award sponsored by Dick and Ann Costello. With higher attendance, and more votes then ever before, CIFF’s 2013 Audience Award goes to both “Bending Steel” and Jillian Schlesinger’s “Maidentrip,” films that resonated in such strong and meaningful ways with the local community, said Ben Fowlie, CIFF’s founder and executive director.

“There’s nothing more gratifying then walking into a capacity filled theater only to see attendees standing, cheering and crying,” Fowlie said.

Seven filmmakers took the stage of the Camden Opera House on Sept. 28 for the fourth annual Points North Pitch, part of CIFF’s growing Points North Documentary Forum that runs concurrently with the festival. The filmmakers pitched their documentary works-in-progress to a panel of funders, broadcasters, distributors and producers. The 2013 Points North Pitch Award and Modulus Finishing Fund were given to Drew Xanthopoulos for “The Sensitives.”

“The curators at CIFF and the Forum do a particularly good job of finding compelling, thoughtful, cutting edge stories from new and emerging filmmakers, which is clearly reflected in this year's outstanding winning pitch,” said moderator Andrea Meditch, president of Black Allie Films.

The award comes with a $1000 cash prize from Documentary Educational Resources; 60 hours of sound mix or color correction services from Modulus Studios, worth approximately $10,000; a $3,000 tuition scholarship to the Maine Media Workshops; and three consultations with the Tribeca Film Institute.

CIFF’s partnership with The New York Times brought filmmakers to pitch their ideas for an Op-Doc as part of Points North Documentary Forum on Sept. 29; the winning pitch receives the opportunity to produce an Op-Doc for The New York Times with a budget of $2,000. The 2013 winner was “Project Nodak,” directed by Lewis Wilcox and James Christenson.

“The public pitching forums at this years festival introduced a number of new projects to the independent documentary community,” said Fowlie. “ The energy and excitement around the selected projects and the attending filmmakers added a level of depth to the festival. We couldn’t be more honored to be recognized as a platform that showcases the films of tomorrow.”

For more information about the Camden International Film Festival and the Points North Documentary Forum, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or