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Hollywood Film Festival awards for '#ChicagoGirl,' 'Before I Disappear'

Hollywood Film Festival awards for '#ChicagoGirl,' 'Before I Disappear'
Ala'a Basatneh in "#ChicagoGirl." (Hollywood Film Festival)

In its 18th year and its first outing as a showcase of social-impact filmmaking, the revamped Hollywood Film Festival has honored movies about an American teenager who helped coordinate the Syrian revolution from the suburbs of Chicago, a depressed man looking after his 11-year-old niece and a group of actors with disabilities making a western.

Festival executive director Jon Fitzgerald announced the honorees Monday at a ceremony in Hollywood. The jury prize for best documentary feature went to Joe Piscatella's "#ChicagoGirl," about the young social-media activist Ala'a Basatneh, and the jury prize for best narrative feature went to Shawn Christensen's "Before I Disappear," a family drama based on his Oscar-winning short film "Curfew."

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Michael Barnett's making-of documentary "Becoming Bulletproof" was honored with a CineCause Spotlight award for demonstrating "the power of film to create change," as was Andy Landen's narrative film "Sequoia."

Brendan Calder's "Learning to Float" took the jury prize for best documentary short, and Edwin Adlam Herod and Drue Pennella's "Fourteen Seeds" took best narrative short.

The actor and activist Harry Belafonte was given the first CineCause ChangeMaker Icon honor earlier this year, and his daughter, Gina Belafonte, spoke on his behalf at the ceremony.

The Hollywood Film Festival ran Thursday through Sunday.

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