Ever since the final credits of the Wisconsin Film Festival rolled the night of April 10, workers have been tallying the results of the annual Steep & Brew Audience Award competition. Now it's time for a drumroll: The winners of this year's awards are American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, The Rocket and Vertigo.
Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles Film Festival audiences, local festival-goers named American Revolutionary, a movie about Detroit-based activist Grace Lee Boggs, their favorite documentary. Boggs posed tough questions about racial equality while fighting to bring social justice to African American communities in the 1960s. This portrait of her life and work shows that she's just as feisty at age 99 as she was at 49.
The Rocket, which won the audience award for favorite narrative film, centers on a 10-year-old kid in the Laotian countryside who's convinced he's cursed, especially after his neighbors must move to make room for a giant dam. In addition to winning awards from critics at the Tribeca Film Festival, it received top honors from audiences in Sydney, Melbourne and Calgary.
It's no surprise that audiences adore Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock's classic tale of obsessive love, but ballots suggest that fest-goers were enamored of the old-school presentation, which featured the Technicolor and mono sound print struck for the original 1958 release. The film received the coveted restoration award.
Viewers had the opportunity to rate each film they saw on a five-point scale, which meant there were hundreds upon hundreds of ballots to count. Managing director Christina Martin-Wright says she was surprised which films nabbed awards this year.
"It was really fun to do the math and discover what stood out to our voting audience members," she says.