Keith Maitland's documentary TOWER previously won the Grand Jury Prize
The SXSW audience and documentary jury members are in sync. They both think TOWER is a brilliant film.
Keith Maitland's account of the notorious shooting on the University of Texas campus in 1966 won the audience award in the Documentary Feature Competition category today, just days after earning the festival's Grand Jury Prize.
Maitland used rotoscope animation to provide visuals to accompany archival audio from the incident, which is considered the first mass school shooting in U.S. history.
On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand...
"The first mass American school shooting in 1966 opened the door to a phenomenon that is all too prevalent," Maitland said in accepting the Grand Jury Prize on Tuesday. "It’s something that I don’t understand. But what I have come to understand over the last four years working on this film is the resilience of the human spirit."
Additional audience award winners announced today include Gleason, directed by Clay Tweel, the story of former NFL player Steve Gleason who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34.
The audience award for Excellence in Title Design went to We Are X, the documentary directed by Stephen Kijak about the immensely popular Japanese rock band X Japan. Allison Brownmoore of Blue Spill designed the titles, according to SXSW.
Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke, directed by Brenda Greene Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas, won the audience award in the music-themed 24 Beats per Second section of the film festival.
The audience award in the Documentary Spotlight section went to Mr. Gaga, directed by Tomer Heymann.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.