Saul Zaentz Award

Rodrigo Reyes

Set in rural California, Director Rodrigo Reyes’ documentary is a moving portrait of the unlikely friendship of two Mexican migrants, told within the frame of the dramatic clash between systemic forces and personal choices that envelop young, incarcerated men of color in America.

Al Bendich Award

black_mothers_still1BLACK MOTHERS
Debora Souza Silva

Violence. Outrage. Impunity. Repeat. Black Mothers follows the journey of two women working to disrupt the cycle of racist police violence within our country’s judicial system.

placetobreat1A PLACE TO BREATHE
Michelle Grace Steinberg

The film explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee health care providers and patients. The intertwined, vérité-driven stories of individuals from Congo, Cambodia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Uruguay humanize their struggles, illustrating the courage necessary to transcend the most challenging obstacles and reminding us of the inherent strength of the human spirit.

americandreamersAMERICAN DREAMERS
Marlene Morris

When suddenly threatened with deportation, an undocumented attorney and young campaign staffer decide to take a stand. American Dreamers follows their journey to the Supreme Court and the voting booth as they fight fearlessly fight to stay in the only country they’ve ever called home.

disturbingschoolDISTURBING SCHOOL
Garrett Zevgetis, Ariana Garfinkel

A white policeman in South Carolina rips a black teenager from her school desk in the middle of math class and outrage erupts as millions watch cell-phone footage of the incident. With law enforcement surging in schools across the country, the “Spring Valley incident” becomes an inflection point for communities wrestling with the true meaning of school safety.

Julie F. Wyman

When a new pharmaceutical treatment promises a “cure” for dwarfism, controversy flares within the Little People community about dwarf pride, identity, and culture.

lastdayparadisehighLAST DAYS OF PARADISE HIGH
Co-directed by Emily Thomas & Derek Knowles

After the most destructive fire in U.S. history destroys a small California town, the end of high school takes on a new meaning for the graduating seniors and a beloved teacher of Paradise High School.

moodysuzyMOODY SUZY
David Telles

Ausee and his best friend Skeeter earn a living dancing on the BART train. An encounter with a hot -headed commuter named Suzy threatens their lively hood. Chaos ensues.

northpole2THE NORTH POLE 2
Yvan Iturriaga

As wildfires rage around Northern California, fun-loving undocumented immigrant Benny Ramirez is threatened with deportation and must fight to stay in Oakland. Putting aside their individual issues, the four friends must somehow unite the neighborhood to defend Benny – and the place they all call home.

sheilaeuntitledSHEILA E.
Jennifer Steinman Sternin

Sheila Escovedo was a child percussion prodigy who began performing for audiences at the age of five. An intimate story of one of music’s true “hidden figures,” this film explores gender equity, aging, race and class through the lens of a boundary breaking artist.

strippedforpartsSTRIPPED FOR PARTS
Rick Goldsmith

Stripped for Parts: American Journalism at the Crossroads is the story of the newspaper women and men investigating an erupting crisis in their own profession, as local journalism, the lifeblood of democracy, is threatened with extinction.

Sonia Kennebeck/Ines Hofmann Kanna

A state of secrets and a ruthless hunt for whistleblowers – this is the story of 25-year-old NSA contractor Reality Winner who disclosed a document about Russian election interference to the media and became the number one leak target of the Trump administration.

vanishingchinatownVANISHING CHINATOWN: The May’s Photo Studio
Emiko Omori/Lydia Tanji

Vanishing Chinatown: The May’s Photo Studio brings families together: in the past by splicing family portraits, and in the present by reconnecting May’s granddaughter with her family’s legacy.

whitehighlandsWHITE HIGHLANDS
Daphne Matziaraki

As the droughts in the Kenyan savanna intensify, a group of nomadic pastoralists and a community of wealthy ranchers and conservationists are embroiled in a bloody conflict for Laikipia – a wildlife tourism destination for the global elite.


homeyetfarawayHOME YET FAR AWAY
Sabereh Kashi

A self-portrait documentary of an Iranian immigrant who escapes the traditional expectations of womanhood in her family and settles in a cooperative household in the Bay Area. When conflict arises among housemates, she has to save the destabilized house from being sold in the open market while tending to her ailing widowed father in Iran who wants his daughter back.

Bret Parker

Twin Peaks Tavern, the bar that changed the face of the gay community in the 70’s by opening its windows, and the patrons who dared to be seen.


blindcaptaindocumentary_sbm_01THE BLIND CAPTAIN
Sarahbeth Maney

Ahmet Ustunel, a blind educator and life-long adventurer, attempts to kayak independently from Asia to Europe through one of the busiest shipping straits in the world using innovative technology. Along the course, he discovers what his personal project means to the blind community. 


Brad Bailey

“Hale” tells the story of disability advocate and long time Berkeley resident Hale Zukas. Hale was one of the original founders of the Center for Independent Living.

incaseofyouIN CASE OF YOU
Haley Seppa

A film about a queer woman who must reckon with her own reality in the aftermath of a hate crime.

Co-directed by Marian Carrasquero and J.P. Dobrin

Told through the journeys of two mothers seeking safety and security in Colombia, “Irse” is a window into the Venezuelan exodus and its impact on families.

Winners by Year
Winners by Category