Press release

Mammoth Lakes, CA. – Mammoth Lakes Film Festival’s (MLFF) Festival Director Shira Dubrovner is pleased to announce that three (3) documentary features from the 2018 MLFF Festival received recognition thus far from numerous awards outlets in the early weeks of the film awards season.


“We are very excited for the filmmakers and their films,” stated Dubrovner, “as these are highly coveted nominations and winners of these awards often go on to receive Academy Awards® recognition.” The films nominated include ON HER SHOULDERS, whose screening was sponsored by the Mammoth Lakes Woman’s Club, CRIME + PUNISHMENT, and MINDING THE GAP.

ON HER SHOULDERS tells the powerful story of Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS attacks on the Yazidi people who escaped slavery to become an activist for her people. Earlier this year, she was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for her efforts, an award shared with Denis Mukwege of the Congo. The film was awarded the Freedom of Expression Award by the National Board of Review, the New York-based film-industry association with a small but influential membership of filmmakers, enthusiasts and scholars. Additionally, it was nominated for Best Documentary and the Truer than Fiction Award by the Independent Spirit Awards, a celebration of the spirited pioneers who bring a unique vision to filmmaking, and the premiere awards event for Independent Film.

MINDING THE GAP, winner of the Bravery Award at the 2018 MLFF Film Festival, tells the story of three young skateboarders coming of age in a small town as they deal with the consequences of domestic violence. TIME Magazinerecently selected MINDING THE GAP as one of the “5 great documentaries” of the Year in its recent “Best of Culture 2018” feature story. The National Board of Review also recognized the film in its “Top 5 Documentaries” list. The New York Film Critics Circle is an American film critic organization founded in 1935 with a membership that includes over 30 film critics from New York-based daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, online publications. This notable group awarded the film Best Documentary at their yearly awards event. Like ON HER SHOULDERS, the film was also nominated for Independent Spirit Awards in two categories—Best Documentary and Truer than Fiction. In addition, MINDING THE GAP won awards forBest Feature and Best Editing from The International Documentary Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting documentary filmmaking, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2018 Gotham Awards, an event hosted by the Independent Film Project, a non-profit created to help independent creators from around the world develop new projects, connect within the industry and champion collaborative and impactful storytelling at all stages.

The third film, CRIME + PUNISHMENT, that won the MLFF 2018 Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, tells the story of 12 officers in the New York City Police Department who risked their careers to publicly testify against corrupt and discriminatory “quota” policies in the department. The film, along with MINDING THE GAP, was featured in the National Board of Review’s “Top 5 Documentaries” list. It was also nominated for Best Feature and Best Cinematography by the International Documentary Association, and won the Courage Under Fire special award.

The recognition of these films that were featured in the 2018 MLFF festival helps to attract other high-quality independent films and filmmakers to the Eastern Sierra. The festival has been consecutively selected by Movie Maker Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” since its first year, and has been covered by Variety, Associated Press, LA Magazine, The Wrap, Movie Maker Magazine, Vanity Fair, and The Huffington Post, among many others. Hundreds of talented filmmakers from around the world attend the festival every year.

Past MLFF jury members include Andrew Lazar (Academy Award® winning Producer of AMERICAN SNIPER), Allison Amon (Emmy® Award Winner, Producer of THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES), John Wirth (Executive Producer of AMC’s HELL ON WHEELS), and Rachel Winter (Academy Award® nominated Producer of DALLAS BUYERS CLUB).

The 5thannual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 22-26, 2019. Submissions are open now. For more information about the film festival, visit

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