“Children of the Wind”, the documentary that has been three years in the making on the remarkable story of the Bonaire windsurfers Tonky and Taty Frans, their cousin Kiri Thode, and mentors Elvis Martinus and Patun Saragoza, took home three awards last weekend at the X-Dance Film Festival. X-Dance–a play on the word Sun”dance” after the renowned film festival, and “X” for “extreme sports”– is the largest sports action film festival in the world. For 12 years X-Dance had run concurrently with the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah, but grew so big in its own right, that this year festival organizers decided to change the dates to November, and X-Dance is now a stand-alone major film festival. X-Dance receives hundreds of the best sports-themed films from around the world, including big-budget films backed by companies like Red Bull, and just getting accepted is a significant honor. However, to be recognized as the “best of the best” is a huge achievement for “Children of the Wind” as the film won awards as “Best Documentary”; “Best Emerging Filmmaker—Daphne Schmon; and “Best Original Score” Phillip Lober. No other feature at the festival won more than one award. “Children of the Wind” was also nominated for “Best Film.” Of further note, in a film genre that is dominated by men on the production side, Daphne Schmon, the director and main editor of COTW was the only female recognized in any of the awards or nominations.
Two weeks earlier, at the Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival, and competing against 60 films from around the world being played in 4 separate venues for three days, “Children of the Wind” won the award as “Most Inspiring Documentary” and was the only film chosen by the jury and audience for an encore screening on the closing night after the award ceremony, repeating the extraordinary success the film had at its World Premiere in Aruba in June, where it won the “People’s Choice” Award, and three sold-out encore screenings.
“Children of the Wind” has now played 3 film festivals—all emphasizing completely different film genres, and has won top awards at each of them, and 5 in total. This is a rare achievement for an independent film in a highly competitive field, and everyone involved with the film is thrilled with this start.
By playing “Children of the Wind” on the festival circuit prior to general release, the team of COTW is following a widely accepted strategy of using film festivals as a springboard to the widest possible market, by building buzz, spreading the word, and finding buyers for the film. Of course, you have to have a good film for this strategy to work—but that is proving to be exactly the case to the thrill of everyone involved!
The next festival for “Children of the Wind” is the International Film Festival of Antigua and Barbuda that takes place between Nov. 18th and Nov. 25th. IFFAB is a big one-week Caribbean film festival that will culminate in a big red-carpet gala awards ceremony and after-awards party on Nov. 25th.
“Children of the Wind” is scheduled for general release in early 2013.