The winners and grant recipients of the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival were announced today, with the top awards going to films that premiered at the annual event. The single biggest winner was the documentary Political Animals, which took the Audience Award and the Jury Award for Best Documentary. The film tracks the careers of civil rights pioneers Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe, the first four openly gay elected California state politicians. Meanwhile, Remy Auberjonois won the U.S. Fiction Award for his thriller Blood Stripe, Anaïs Volpé took home the World Fiction Award for HEIS (chronicles), the LA Muse Award was given to Heidi Saman for Namour, and the Nightfall Award went to Jackson Stewart for Beyond The Gates.

Grants were awarded to: David Saveliev, who won the Ed Elias Future Filmmaker Award for Narrative Film for Wonderful World; Chester Milton, who won an Ed Elias Future Filmmaker Honorable Mention for Lucky Numbers; Josh Jaffe, who won the Ed Elias Future Filmmaker Award for Documentary Film for In Twenty Years: Rajaiah Jones, who won an Ed Elias Future Filmmaker Honorable Mention for The Skin I’m In; Liam O’Connor-Savaria, winner of the Ed Elias Future Filmmaker Award for Animated or Experimental Film for WorryWart; and Juliet Buckholdt, who won an Ed Elias Future Filmmaker Honorable Mention for A Little Love Goes a Long Clay. Finally, Mark Levinson won The Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track Grant for films with science and technology themes, for The Gold Bug Variations.

Here are the complete Los Angeles Film Festival winners:

Awards were given out in the following categories:

U.S. Fiction Award
Blood Stripe, directed by Remy Auberjonois
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Kate Nowlin, Remy Auberjonois
Producer: Schuyler Weiss, Julie Christeas, Remy Auberjonois, Kate Nowlin
Cast: Kate Nowlin, Tom Lipinski, Chris Sullivan, Rusty Schwimmer, Rene Auberjonois
Film Description: After a third tour of duty in Afghanistan, a Marine sergeant returns home to find herself hemorrhaging anxiety and paranoia from unseen wounds. World Premiere

The U.S. Fiction special mentions
Special Mention for Comedy: Chee and T, directed by Tanuj Chopra
Special Mention for Visual Accomplishment: Paint it Black, directed by Amber Tamblyn

World Fiction Award
HEIS (chronicles), directed by Anaïs Volpé
Country: France
Screenwriter: Anaïs Volpé
Producers: Anaïs Volpé
Cast: Alexandre Desane, Matthieu Longatte, Emilia Derou-Bernal, Akéla Sari, Anaïs Volpé
Film Description: A millennial artist returns to her mother’s home in Paris, only to have her personal ambitions confronted by her family’s expectations in this energetic and visually distinct debut film. World Premiere

The World Fiction Jury special mention:
Lupe Under the Sun, directed by Rodrigo Reyes
Country: Mexico/USA

Documentary Award
Political Animals, directed by Jonah Markowitz, Tracy Wares
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Jonah Markowitz
Producers: Anne Clements
Cast: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe
Film Description: The first openly gay California State Representatives, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe, and Carole Migden, had to utilize cunning, strategy and endurance when authoring and introducing the legislation that fundamentally changed the landscape of LGBT rights. World Premiere

LA Muse Award
Namour, directed by Heidi Saman
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Heidi Saman
Producers: Matthew Keene Smith
Cast: Karim Saleh, Waleed Zuaiter, Mona Hala, Nicole Haddad
Film Description: Set in the City of Angels during the economic recession of the late 2000’s, a twenty-something Egyptian American valet driver must come to grips with his dead-end job, disintegrating family and disappearing relationships in this stylish homage to Los Angeles. World Premiere

The LA Muse special mention:
No Light and No Land Anywhere, directed by Amber Sealey
Country: USA

Nightfall Award
Beyond The Gates, directed by Jackson Stewart
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Jackson Stewart, Stephen Scarlata
Producers: Barbara Crampton, Amanda Mortimer
Cast: Graham Skipper, Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Sara Malakul Lane, Barbara Crampton
Film Description: Two estranged brothers dig through their missing father’s video store, discovering a VCR board game that holds a connection to their father’s disappearance and deadly consequences for anyone who plays it. World Premiere

Award for Short Film
The Beast (Zvjerka), directed by Daina Oniunas Pusić. Croatia.
Film Description: A complicated relationship between an elderly mother and daughter is forever altered when a bat flies into their lives.

Short Film special mentions:
Special Mention for Breakthrough Performance: Thunder Road, directed by Jim Cummings. USA.
Special Mention for Excellence in Animation: The Lingerie Show, directed by Laura Harrison. USA.

Award for Documentary Short
The Gatekeeper, directed by Yung Chang. Japan.
Film Description: A retired police detective patrols Tojinbo Cliffs, a notorious destination for suicides in Japan.

Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film
GREEN / is / GOLD, directed by Ryon Baxter
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Ryon Baxter
Producers: Anthony Burns, Ryon Baxter
Cast: Jimmy Baxter, Ryon Baxter, David Fine, Liz Clare, Shelley Mitchell
Film Description: After his father goes to prison, a wayward tween has nowhere to live except with his high school dropout brother, who is building—at all costs—a marijuana business. World Premiere

Audience Award for Documentary Feature Film
Political Animals, directed by Jonah Markowitz, Tracy Wares
Country: USA
Screenwriter: Jonah Markowitz
Producers: Anne Clements
Cast: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe
Film Description: The first openly gay California State Representatives, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe, and Carole Migden, had to utilize cunning, strategy and endurance when authoring and introducing the legislation that fundamentally changed the landscape of LGBT rights. World Premiere

Audience Award for Short Film
Into Darkness, directed by Rachida El Garani
Film Description: This documentary gives insight into a deeply religious Moroccan family as they struggle with blindness and extreme poverty.

Audience Award for Web-series
Instababy, directed by Rosie Haber
Description: Gay adoption is illegal in Mississippi, so Toni and Keeta look for a baby on Instagram.