kings of the new city

Kings of the New City, 24-year-old Nicholas Pugliese’s documentary about his experiences playing professional soccer in war-torn Afghanistan, won the Williamstown Film Festival’s prestigious Christopher and Dana Reeve Award on the closing day of WFF’s 16th season in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Kings had its world premiere at the Festival. Pugliese was a four-year soccer letterman while a member of the Class of 2012 at Williams, and the film traces his tumultuous 18 months in a foreign country where soccer is a national obsession and being an American often invites danger.

Sequestered – Lucas Spaulding’s short about a bank robbery frustrated by hilarious dissension – was the runner-up, followed by a tie for third between Kae Bahar’s I Am Sami and Andre Hyland’s Funnel. The top half-dozen shorts were rounded off by Yarrow Kraner’s The Orphan Girl, Brett Weiner’s Verbatim, and Daniella Eisman’s Mr. Maple Leaf.

Winners of the Reeve Award are given an original artwork created by internationally renowned painter Stephen Hannock, a member of the WFF board of directors. Two recent Reeve recipients – Luke Matheny’s God of Love and Shawn Christiansen’s Curfew - have gone on to capture Academy Awards.

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