MAYA ANGELOU AND STILL I RISE Wins Illuminate Film Festival Director’s Choice Award

Illuminate_maya-angelou-and-still-i-riseMaya Angelou and Still I Rise, a documentary about Dr. Angelou, a global symbol of peace, humility and freedom, received the Director’s Choice Award at the third annual Illuminate Film Festival, June 1-5 in Sedona.

Directed by Rita Coburn Whack, the film reflects on how the events of history, culture and the arts shaped poet Angelou’s life and how she, in turn, helped shape our own world view through her autobiographical literature, activism and unwavering spirit.

“This triumph-over-adversity tale, both captivating and fiercely honest, lures us quietly into our own empowerment,” said Illuminate Film Festival Executive Director Danette Wolpert. An Honorable Mention went to Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, directed by Academy Award-nominated Joe Berlinger.

The world premiere of Love, Sweat and Tears, directed by Scott Jacobs, won the 2016 Feature Competition Jury Prize.

The Meghan O’Hara-directed documentary, The C Word, captured the Audience Award for Best Feature Film. The runner up was the Tom Donahue-directed Thank You for Your Service.

The Audience Award for Best Short Film was Holistic Life Foundation: Breathing Life into a Community, directed by Chris Farina. The runner up in the Short Film category was Catching Fire, directed by Illuminate alum Ward Serrill (Song of the New Earth, 2014).

The Illuminate Film Festival Impact Award went to Thank You for Your Service, by Tom Donahue, which tackles the mental health crisis in the military and boldly proposes alternative health solutions like meditation, equine therapy and native ceremony for struggling Iraq War veterans faced with the challenges of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Vegan: Everyday Stories took home an Honorable Mention.

The 2016 Illuminate Film Festival, which featured 25 films, 10 world premieres and sneak peaks, 17 panels and workshops, 75 filmmakers and industry guests and many immersive opportunities, experienced a 44 percent increase in attendance over 2015, attracting audiences topping 5700 from 11 countries and 27 US states.

The 2017 Illuminate Film Festival is scheduled May 31-June 4. All-Access Passes go on sale today at 12pm (Pacific Standard Time) at 50 percent off full price. The sale will end Wednesday at midnight.

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