William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award

Established in memory of William Warner by the Warner/Kaempfer family for the 2015 Festival, the William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award recognizes a film that reflects a spirit of reverence for the natural world. William Warner was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beautiful Swimmers, a study of crabs and watermen in the Chesapeake Bay. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize.


2020 Winner



Winner of the Best Documentary award at the Cannes Film Festival, master filmmaker Patricio Guzmán’s The Cordillera of Dreams completes his trilogy (with Nostalgia for the Light and The Pearl Button) investigating the relationship between historical memory, political trauma, and geography in his native country of Chile. This film centers on the imposing landscape of the Andes that run the length of the country’s eastern border. At once protective and isolating, magisterial and indifferent, the Cordillera serves as an enigmatic focal point around which Guzmán contemplates the enduring legacy of the 1973 military coup d’état.


DIRECTOR: Patricio Guzmán

(France/Chile, 2020, 85 min.)


Past Winners


2019. When Lambs Become Lions, (USA, 2018, 76 min.), Directed by Jon Kasbe.

2018. Silas (Canada, 2017, 80 min.), Directed by Anjali Nayar.

2017. The Lost City of Z, (USA, 2017, 142 min.), Directed by James Gray.

2016. The Seer, (USA, 2016, 76 min), Directed by Laura Dunn.

2015. Tiger Tiger, (USA, 2015, 90 min.), Directed by George Butler.