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Taken from BroadwayWorld (June 06, 2018)

Michael Franti's STAY HUMAN And Grant Korgan's THE PUSH Tie For Illuminate Film Festival Audience Award

by TV News Desk

Michael Franti's new film Stay Human tied with Grant Korgan's The Push for the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 5th annual ILLUMINATE Film Festival, May 30 - June 3 in Sedona.

Stay Human takes viewers on a journey through music and the stories of some of the most inspiring individuals on the planet chronicling Franti's experiences with people that he's met on his travels who have chosen to overcome cynicism with optimism, hope, tenacity, music, and love. Directed by Grant Korgan and Brian Niles, The Push tells Korgan's inspiring tale of triumph after becoming paralyzed in a snowmobile accident where he focused on 120 percent recovery to do the impossible: push his way over nearly 100 miles in Antarctica, spinal cord injury and all.

Franti also was the recipient of the festival's inaugural Voice for Humanity Award. "It's important to be able to see each other as human beings above all else," noted Franti. "I believe that there is no one in the world that you wouldn't love if you heard their story."

The Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Black Star, directed by Akira Chan. This short documentary explores art as a healing modality to stop the VICIOUS cycle of addiction.

In a feature competition section consisting of seven world and US Premieres, You Are What You Act took home the coveted 2018 Debut Feature Competition Jury Prize. The documentary proposes a revolutionary new health trend by asking what influences us more: our minds or our bodies. Director Albert Nerenberg and other leading psychologists in embodied cognition demonstrate fascinating psychological exercises with amazing results. Honorable Mentions were also given to Calling All Earthlings for unearthing a hidden truth and to From Shock to Awe for social impact.

Living Music, directed by Libby Spears, took home the jury prize in the Debut Short Film Competition. When a promising young musician's career is almost cut short after he loses his voice to a rare medical condition called spasmodic dysphonia, he goes on a rehabilitative journey of artistic experimentation. Vision: Seeing is Believing received an Honorable Mention for cinematography.

From Shock to Awe captured the inaugural Mangurama Award for Conscious Documentary Storytelling. Including a $5000 cash prize, the Mangurama Award goes to to the most transformative non-fiction film that exhibits a strong story arc, compelling subjects and high production value. From Shock to Awe follows THE JOURNEY of returned U.S. combat veterans as they abandon pharmaceutical drugs to seek relief through the controversial, mind-expanding world of cannabis, ayahuasca and MDMA, known as ecstasy.

Documentary 3100: Run And Become captured the Director's Choice Award. This sweeping examination of running's spiritual nature, follows long-distance runners in Arizona, Finland, New York City, the Japanese highlands and Africa's Kalahari Desert.

The ILLUMINATE Film Festival Impact Award went to Secret Ingredients by Amy Hart and Jeffrey Smith, which highlights through both personal stories and scientific input the role that pesticides and GMO's are playing in compromising health on a large scale.

2018 Festival Breaks Records

The 2018 Illuminate Film Festival, which featured 26 films, 17 panels and immersive workshops, 95 filmmakers and industry guests, a virtual reality showcase, an online Satsang with ENLIGHTENED master Moojibaba and a Reel Healing with Spiritual Cinema co-founder Stephen Simon experienced an almost 23 percent increase in all-access pass sales, attracting audiences from 27 US states and 8 countries.

"This was our best festival yet," says ILLUMINATE's Executive Director Danette Wolpert. "It was a five-day whirlwind of enlightening stories, diverse themes, inspired thinkers and magical connections."

The festival enjoyed a record 12 World, North American and US premieres and a record 14 sold-out screenings. New this year were THE TAKE Twenty Mentoring Sessions and Reel Healing Online program. At Take Twenty, 13 new conscious film projects were mentored by industry veterans. 14 more projects by filmmakers from around the globe received development and production guidance from the MAKERS of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda at ILLUMINATE's 3-day Filmmaker Lab. The Reel Healing Online multi-week educational web series, hosted by leaders in the field of transformation, allowed participants to more fully integrate a film's message into their lives after the festival wraps.

Weekend spotlights drew the largest crowds, making The Miracle Morning and Stay Human, which was followed by Michael Franti's first-ever music performance in Sedona, the 2018 festival's top box office hits.

Other components at the 2018 festival included a downloadable festival app, and a Luminary Living Room Series with Grant Korgan and Lynne Twist, the celebrated recipient of ILLUMINATE's third annual Conscious Visionary Award.

For a list of award winners, visit illuminatefilmfestival.com/2018-Award-Winners. For more information, visit http://www.illuminatefilmfestival.com/


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