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.


2021 Winner



In a series of lyrical portraits, The Long Coast illuminates the stories of Maine’s seafolk, those whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably connected to the ocean. This atmospheric film shows the beauty, intimacy, and uncertainty that coastal dwellers face in rooting their lives in the ocean, particularly as human actions — from overfishing, to aquaculture, to warming seas — confront Maine and its people with profound change.


DIRECTOR: Ian Cheney

(USA, 2020, 80 min.)



Past Winners


2020. The Cordillera of Dreams, (France/Chile, 2020, 85 min.), Directed by Patricio Guzmán

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.