The Vermont International Film Foundation (VTIFF) awarded Jesse Kreitzer the "James Goldstone Award for Emerging Vermont Filmmaker" at the 31st Annual Vermont International Film Festival held in Burlington, Vermont. Presented each year to a Vermont filmmaker who is seen to be the most promising newcomer, the award was selected by White House Committee on the Arts Appointee Bill Stetson, The Vermont Community Fund, and VTIFF.
"We're thrilled to award Jesse Kreitzer's Black Canaries for its thoughtful and imaginative story and script based on personal family history, superbly and economically executed," said VTIFF Executive Director Orly Yadin. The film also received the "Best Cinematography Award" courtesy of Urban Rhino.
Black Canaries is a early 1900s coal mining story inspired by Kreitzer's maternal ancestry. The film was produced as part of his MFA thesis at the University of Iowa. "Jesse Kreitzer's Black Canaries explores moments in the lives of three generations in a coal mining family in Iowa--telling their story in a way that's completely unexpected and fresh," said VTIFF Board of Director Member Anna Blackmer. "It's like a poem you've never read before."
The James Goldstone Award arrives on the heels of Kreitzer's recent partnership with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, who awarded Black Canaries the inaugural VSO Award for Music Integration at the 2nd Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival held in Middlebury, Vermont. As part of the prize, the VSO will produce an original score for his next project and provide live accompaniment at select screenings.
A native of Marlboro, Vermont, Kreitzer returned to his home state in 2015 to develop and produce CAREGIVERS, a documentary-narrative hybrid about hospice workers and home birth midwives in the mountains of rural Vermont. "The stars seem to be aligning," said Kreitzer. "Being acknowledged for your work is always satisfying, but more importantly, this award helps to build the momentum necessary to get the next project off the ground. I'm grateful to VTIFF and its jury for the recognition. I'll do you all proud."
These are the sixth and seventh festival awards for Black Canaries which received the "Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for Music Integration" at the 2nd Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, Grand Jury Awards for "Best Film" and "Best Cinematography" at the 12th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival, Jury Award for "Best New England Short Film" at the 18th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival, and the Director's Award for "Best Cinematography" at the 22nd Annual Woods Hole Film Festival.
Kreitzer is currently based in Marlboro and Montpelier, Vermont, where he serves as the Assistant Director of the MFA in Film Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.