This year’s Festival winners are a varied bunch, to say the least. From a story about a vivacious young boy from Laos trying to change his destiny to a documentary about the atrocities of the American military machine, you’ll be hearing about our top winning films for a long time to come.

Check out some of the trailers below.


The Rocket
World Narrative Competition Winner AND Heineken Audience Award Winner

Set against the lush backdrop of rural Laos, this spirited drama tells the story of scrappy ten-year-old Ahlo, who yearns to break free from his ill-fated destiny. After his village is displaced to make way for a massive dam, Ahlo escapes with his father and grandmother through the Laotian outback in search of a new home. Along the way, they come across a rocket festival that offers a lucrative—but dangerous—chance for a new beginning. 

The Broken Circle Breakdown
Best Screenplay - Narrative Award

Punky Elise runs a tattoo shop. Cowboy Didier plays banjo in a bluegrass band. When they meet, it’s love at first sight. When they move into a homey old farmhouse where their daughter Maybelle is born, their happiness is complete. But when a crisis strikes the hopeful new family, these two very different lovers are forced to fight for their marriage together. 

Before Snowfall
Best Cinematography Narrative Award- Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen

How far would you go to restore your family’s honor? As the oldest man in his household, Siyar confronts that question with a vengeance after his older sister, Nermin, flees an arranged marriage, and he must atone for the slight. Siyar tracks her from their small village in Kurdistan to the cultural melting pot of Istanbul. His fateful introduction to Evin, a young girl living on the streets, leads to the first cracks in his resolve. Then Nermin escapes into Europe, and Siyar has no choice but to continue a search that will forever change his notions of loyalty, dignity, honor and love. 

Best New Narrative Director Award—Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais

Directed and co-written by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, yhe brutality of winter and the power of the mind are aptly portrayed in this dark comedy starring Thomas Haden Church. Bruce is lost. His wife has died and he lost his job. He is merely trying to survive a harsh Canadian winter when he meets Paul and only too late realizes the newcomer is more than he appears. When conflict leads to a death, Bruce finds himself even more isolated in the forests of Quebec, grappling with guilt and creating a prison from which he cannot escape. 


The Kill Team 

World Documentary Competition Winner

In 2010, the media branded a platoon of U.S. Army infantry soldiers “The Kill Team” following reports of its killing for sport while stationed in Afghanistan. Two years later, Dan Krauss examines this heinous war crime from the perspective of the accused. Firsthand accounts from four of the implicated soldiers provide insight into the circumstances that inspired the gratuitous killing of Afghan civilians. 

Let the Fire Burn
Best Editing Documentary Award-Nels Bangerter

Jason Osder makes an impressive feature film debut through his unbiased and thorough account of the incidents leading up to and during the 1985 standoff between the extremist African-American MOVE organization and Philadelphia authorities. “Let the fire burn” were the fateful words that may or may not have been spoken by one Philadelphia authority on an intense and confusing day that destroyed a community. Documenting the personal stories of neighborhood residents, MOVE members and officials through extensive archival footage of court hearings, news broadcasts, home movies and interviews, Osder leaves no stone unturned, save the first one cast. 

Best New Documentary Director Award-Sean Dunne

Struggling with poverty and unemployment after the demise of its only industry—the mining trade that had historically nourished the local economy—Oceana, West Virginia, has become the epicenter of a drug scourge devastating towns across the country and leaving many good and honest communities forsaken. Known among its residents as “Oxyana” after the OxyContin epidemic quietly washing over this sleepy Appalachian town, Oceana is a tragically real example of the insidious spread of drug dependency in the U.S. today. 

Check out our interview with 'Oxyana' director Sean Dunne 

Heineken Audience Award Winner: Documentary
Director: Linda Bloodworth Thomason

Bridegroom chronicles the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship. Unfortunately, their love is cut short by Tom’s accidental death, and his partner finds himself facing the failure of same sex marriage protections that leave him completely shut out and ostracized. Linda Bloodworth Thomason sheds light on the often-overlooked struggles that same sex couples face as a result of marriage inequality. As the United States Supreme Court deliberates this issue, Bridegroom is poised as a timely and moving documentary about love and perseverance through loss. 

Related: See What Bill Clinton Had to Say About 'Bridegroom' at Last Week's World Premiere


Lil Bub & Friendz
Best Online Feature Award Winner

Chock full of adorable kitties, hilarious videos and the dedicated cat enthusiasts who love them, Lil Bub & Friendz is a fun and hip peek behind the curtain of the memes we know and love. A first-of-its-kind exploration of the undeniable phenomenon of memes and viral videos, it is anchored in a timeless boy-and-his-dog—er, cat—story. 

Check out our interview with 'Lil Bub & Friendz' directors Juliette Eisner and Andy Capper

Heineken Audience Awards

Want to see a guaranteed crowd-pleaser? Go ahead and secure yourself a seat to one of our Heineken Audience Awards winners.

The Rocket (Which also won the World Narrative Competition at this year's Festival Thursday night.)
Heineken Audience Award Winner: Narrative
Director: Kim Mordaunt

A Birder's Guide to Everything
Heineken Audience Award Second Place Winner: Narrative
Director: Rob Meyer

Heineken Audience Award Winner: Documentary
Director: Linda Bloodworth Thomason

Cutie and the Boxer
Heineken Audience Award Second Place Winner: Documentary
Director: Zachary Heinzerling


More about about TFF 2013 Award Coverage:

Here Are Your TFF 2013 Award Winners

Look Who's Leading in the Heineken Audience Awards So Far (Updated Daily!)