Transmexico Wins Audience Choice Award at Santa Barbara Film Festival: A Powerful Story of Trans Women Defying Societal Norms

Santa Barbara, California – Claudia Sanchez’s documentary, “Transmexico,” was awarded the Audience Choice Award at the 39th edition of the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The festival also announced winners in various categories, recognizing outstanding works in independent cinema, documentary filmmaking, and international feature films. This year’s selection of films tells diverse and compelling stories from different parts of the world, captivating audiences with their verve and originality.

“Transmexico” follows the journeys of three trans women who defy societal norms, inspiring change despite facing formidable obstacles. The film resonated with the festival audience, earning the prestigious Audience Choice Award.

In addition to “Transmexico,” other award recipients included Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman’s “Edge of Everything,” which received the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. Nays Baghai’s “Driving Into the Darkness” was recognized as the Best Documentary, while Wregas Bhanuteja’s “Andragogy” from Indonesia won Best International Feature Film.

The festival also celebrated remarkable short films, such as “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 films now qualify for consideration at the 2025 Oscars.

Claudia Puig, the SBIFF programming director, expressed gratitude to the dedicated group of jurors and praised the winning films for their global storytelling. From the enchanting world of movie palaces in the Atacama Desert to the captivating mysteries of ice caves in Antarctica and the social hazards of cancel culture in Indonesia, these films captivate audiences with their powerful narratives.

The Santa Barbara Film Festival’s jury award winners were recognized during an awards ceremony held at Santa Barbara’s El Encanto hotel. The festival organizers were delighted to congratulate this year’s winners and acknowledge their creative and impactful contributions to the world of filmmaking.

The complete list of winners can be found below:

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

The Santa Barbara Film Festival continues to promote outstanding films that captivate audiences with their powerful storytelling and creative prowess.