2018 TCIFF VISIONARY AWARD RECIPIENTS
BRENDA M COOPER
Brenda M. Cooper was not only well known for her outstanding work as Art Director of TCIFF and multiple film projects, leaving her stamp of excellence while bringing to life films, including "That's Livin': The Zora Neale Hurston Story" and "City of Dreams", but was even more so known for all that she brought to every life she touched. She will be honored Posthumously with a Visionary Award during the opening night festivities.
Brenda M Cooper received a plethora of awards, Certificates of Honor, Letters of Appreciation, recognition, merits, and letters of achievement, including one from Congressmen Alcee Hastings and former Governor Jeb Bush. But, what was more rewarding to her were the smiles on the children's faces as she helped draw out their natural God giving talent. Brenda’s love for children inspired her to work closely with the Boys and Girls Club and the Police Athletic League where she taught dance and drama. But her love for the arts and for others did not end there. It, instead, would expand for decades throughout her entire community and beyond.
from this year on, TCIFF will be awarding the Brenda M. Cooper Social Awareness Film Award in her honor.
A lifelong Alumni of TCIFF, Joel Sotolongo had become well known as an advocating voice in microfilming. His uncanny ability to envision a story and then proceed to make it a reality on film, under the most stringent budgets and challenging conditions, was nothing short of amazing.
Joel assembled the members of his team and started the independent film company, STUDIO 214 LLC. This enterprise was established to tell unique stories on a micro to low-budget. Joel’s first film, “Work of Art” was made with only five crew members. While Joel directed and edited, the others involved included only the writer, set design and special effects, producer, and sound editor.
“Work of Art” went on to be recognized at multiple film festivals, including the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, the New York Independent Film Festival, and the Treasure Coast International Film Festival- in which it took the Florida Choice Award.
Joel Sotolongo will be honored Posthumously during the Closing Night film festivities with a TCIFF Visionary Award. In addition, from this year on, TCIFF will be awarding the Joel Sotolongo Micro-Film Award to the best Micro film of the fest in his honor.