Groundbreaking Documentary ‘Transmexico’ Wins Audience Choice Award at Santa Barbara Film Festival

Santa Barbara, California – Claudia Sanchez’s documentary “Transmexico” received the Audience Choice Award at the 39th edition of the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The festival, which just revealed its winners in juried categories, celebrated films that challenged societal norms and inspired change against all odds.

The film follows the journey of three trans women as they navigate a society that often marginalizes them. Their stories highlight the resilience and strength of individuals who refuse to conform to societal expectations.

In addition to “Transmexico,” other notable winners at the festival include Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman’s “Edge of Everything,” which won the Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. Nays Baghai’s “Driving Into the Darkness” received recognition as the Best Documentary, while Wregas Bhanuteja’s “Andragogy” from Indonesia was named the Best International Feature Film.

The festival also honored outstanding short films: “A Man’s Man” in the documentary category, “Area Boy” in the live-action category, and “On the 8th Day” in the animated category. These short films are now eligible for consideration at the 2025 Oscars.

Claudia Puig, the SBIFF programming director, expressed gratitude to the jurors for their careful selections. She commended the winning films for their ability to captivate audiences with their originality, storytelling, and exploration of diverse themes. From the magic of movie palaces in the Atacama Desert to the mysteries of ice caves in Antarctica and the challenges of cancel culture in Indonesia, these films transported viewers across the globe.

The Santa Barbara Film Festival, held at the El Encanto hotel, hosted an awards ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of this year’s jury award winners. The festival provided a platform for creative and thought-provoking films that resonated with audiences worldwide.

The complete list of winners from the 39th Santa Barbara Film Festival is as follows:

– Audience Choice Award: “Transmexico” directed by Claudia Sanchez
– Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema: “Edge of Everything” directed by Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman
– Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award for Best International Feature Film: “Andragogy” directed by Wregas Bhanuteja
– Best Documentary Award: “Driving Into the Darkness” directed by Nays Baghai
– Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema: “The Blue Star (La estrella azul)” directed by Javier Macipe
– Best Nordic Film Award: “Before It Ends (Når befrielsen kommer)” directed by Anders Walter
– Social Justice Award for Documentary Film: “The Last Daughter” directed by Brenda Matthews and Nathaniel Schmidt
– ASC Award for Cinematography: “The Movie Teller” directed by Lone Scherfig
– ADL Stand Up Award: “The Last Daughter” directed by Brenda Matthews and Nathaniel Schmidt
– Best Documentary Short Film Award: “A Man’s Man” directed by Myles Desenberg
– Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live-Action Short Film: “Area Boy” directed by Iggy London
– Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animated Short Film: “On the 8th Day (Au 8ème Jour)” directed by Agathe Sénéchal, Alicia Massez, Elise Debruyne, Flavie Carin, and Théo Duhautois.

The Santa Barbara Film Festival celebrates the power of cinema to tell stories that resonate with audiences around the world. It serves as a platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their work and addresses important social and cultural issues through the lens of cinema.