2022 Black Family Feature Film Prize Winner
Myrsini Aristidou for Iris
Myrsini Aristidou was born and raised in Limassol, Cyprus. She graduated with an MFA in Film Directing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and holds a BFA in Film and Art History from Pratt Institute in New York. Her short film Aria (2017), made with the support of Spike Lee, CNC Cosip of the Region île de France, Canal + France and the Cypriot Ministry, premiered at the 74th Venice Film Festival and continued to screen at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. While her previous short film Semele (2015) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won multiple awards, including the Berlinale Special Prize of the Generation Kplus International Jury. Semele and Aria got broadcasted by Canal +, ERT Greece, and many other international platforms.
Myrsini is currently developing her first feature length film, Iris, a co-production between 1.61 Films and Filmblades (Cyprus), Graal (Greece), The Living (France), Road Movies (Germany) and Muddy Water (USA). She was a fellow at the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence and participated at the TIFF Talent Lab, Berlinale Talents, Torino Script Lab, and the Jerusalem Script Lab, where she was awarded the Emerging Filmmaker Prize by the Jury in 2021. The project was at the Venice Film Festival Co-Production Bridge, as well as the Thessaloniki Film Festival Crossroads co-production market, and was awarded a Special Mention by the jury.
Iris (12), abandoned by her father and neglected by her mother, finds refuge at her neighborhood's decadent shipyard. When her estranged father unexpectedly shows up, an unlikely bond is formed, and they are both called to confront their fragile relationship.
2021 Black Family Feature Film Prize Winner
Rhys Marc Jones for Black Church Bay
Black Church Bay follows a respected deputy headteacher who must cover up his relationship with an 18-year-old student after the boy disappears.
Bio: Rhys Marc Jones is a British-Irish filmmaker who attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts as a three-time BAFTA Scholarship recipient. His award-winning student shorts played festivals worldwide and his latest short Father of the Bride was selected in competition for SXSW 2020. He is currently developing his debut feature Black Church Bay with BBC Film, following support from iFeatures and the Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence. During the lockdown, he began work on his follow-up feature Dead Sheep's Wool, in early development with BFI Film Wales and the Torino Film Lab. In addition, Rhys received BFI Flare LGBTQ+ x BAFTA Crew Mentorship from Wash Westmoreland - and in 2021, he was selected for Berlinale Talents.
2020 Black Family Feature Film Prize Winner
Laurel Parmet for The Starling Girl
Written by Laurel Parmet
The Starling Girl: A Christian fundamentalist teenager enters into an affair with a beloved church leader and pushes her sexual exploration to both exciting and disturbing ends, jeopardizing her place in her world.
Bio: Laurel Parmet is a 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive fellow and has written and directed several award-winning short films; the latest, Kira Burning, premiered at SXSW in 2018 and screened at MoMA as part of the Future of Film is Female series. Her previous short film, Spring, screened at SXSW, Outfest, Palm Springs and continues to play around the world. Her upcoming feature debut The Starling Girl was workshopped at Sundance's Writers Intensive and Creative Producing Lab, has received support from IFP's Project Forum and NYU’s Production Lab, and was selected for NYU's 2019 Purple List. Her music videos have premiered on MTV and Spin, and put her on the shortlist for the Young Director Awards at the Cannes Lions Festival.