The Chambermaid / La camarista, the debut feature by Mexican director Lila Avilés, was the winner of the Golden Gate for Best Film in the New Directors fiction competition at the 2019 edition of the San Francisco Film Festival.
The New Directors award, with a cash prize of $10,000, is given to a debut feature by an international filmmaker whose work exhibits unique artistic sensibility or vision. This year’s New Directors jurors were TIFF former director and CEO Piers Handling, film critic Amy Nicholson and writer Jada Yuan.
In awarding this top prize, the jury stated, The Chambermaid “drew us into its character’s claustrophobic world with precision, sophistication, restraint, and warmth. A devastating portrait of a working class woman who gradually challenges her circumstances, this young filmmaker creates unbearable tension from ordinary, overlooked moments. And yet there’s joy, too, and above all the beautiful dignity of its lead actress, Gabriela Cartol, and the co-workers who complicate her days.”
Additionally, the short film Enforcement Hours by Paloma Martinez was presented with the Bay Area Short First Prize, with a $2,000 cash prize. In awarding the short prize award, the jury stated, “this documentary illuminated the harrowing experience of being undocumented in the United States today without compromising the identities and safety of its subjects. It opened our eyes to the threat that lurks in familiar places, it flooded our ears with firsthand accounts of fear, confusion and spite, and filled our hearts with sympathy.”
The 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival took place April 10–23 in California.