• The Southeastern Film Critics Association has named Moonlight the best film of 2016. Among the group’s 53 members who voted — all film journalists working in print, radio and online media in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — are Asheville writers Justin Souther and Tony Kiss for Xpress, this writer for Asheville Citizen-Times, Michelle Keenan and Chip Kaufmann for Rapid River and Marcianne Miller for Bold Life. The year’s awards are dedicated to the memories of Jim Ridley and former Xpress critic Ken Hanke, SEFCA members who passed away in 2016.
Spots No. 2-10 on the best film list went to Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Hell or High Water, Loving, Arrival, Fences and Jackie (in a tie for seventh), Nocturnal Animals and Hidden Figures. Best actor went to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea (runner-up: Denzel Washington, Fences), best actress to Natalie Portman for Jackie (runner-up: Ruth Negga, Loving), best supporting actor to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight (runner-up: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water) and best supporting actress to Viola Davis for Fences (runner-up: Naomie Harris, Moonlight).
Moonlight also took home best ensemble (runner-up: Manchester by the Sea); its writer/director Barry Jenkins won top honors in the adapted screenplay field (runner-up: Eric Heisserer, Arrival) and tied for best director with La La Land’s Damien Chazelle; and James Laxton’s cinematography came in second to Linus Sandgren’s for La La Land. Best original screenplay went to Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea (runner-up: Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water); I Am Not Your Negro was named best documentary (runner-up: O.J.: Made in America); The Handmaiden claimed best foreign language film (runner-up: Elle); and Zootopia earned best animated film (runner-up: Kubo and the Two Strings).
SEFCA’s Wyatt Award — named in memory of charter member Gene Wyatt and given annually to the film that best captures the spirit of the South — went to Loving, writer/director Jeff Nichols’ dramatization of the Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia decision. Nichols previously won the Wyatt Award for his films Shotgun Stories and Mud.
• The 23rd annual season of The Twin Rivers Media Festival will celebrate the latest and greatest in independent feature, documentary, short and animated films Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Flood Fine Arts Center in Swannanoa. All events are free and open to the public. Entries are still being accepted for the festival through withoutabox.com and twinriversmediafestival.com. The final deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 10. Call 273-3332 for more information.