Here at Esurance, we’re more than just actuarial gurus — you might call us culture vultures as well. That’s why we actively support both the Austin Film Festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Esurance Audience Award Winners at the Austin Film Festival

At this year’s Austin Film Festival, we sponsored the coveted Audience Award, which gives festival attendees a voice, letting them select their favorites in each of the event’s categories. It’s a significant award for aspiring and established filmmakers alike, and past winners have gone on to receive even more prestigious recognition.

Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed “Slumdog Millionaire,” which won 8 Academy Awards in 2008, and Diablo Cody’s wildly popular “Juno” both grabbed the Audience Award in years past.

But for those honored, hopes of future Academy recognition aren’t the only reasons the Audience Award means so much. Here’s what a couple of this year’s winners had to say about the event and their triumph:

“On behalf of team Sironia, just wanted to thank all of you for such a fantastic festival! We had a blast and couldn’t have been more thrilled to have the film premiere there. Met some great new folks / filmmakers and potential future collaborators.”

D. Smith
Producer of “Sironia,” winner of the Austin Film Festival and Esurance Audience Award for Texas Independents

“This is probably the best news I’ve had since … well since I was in the middle of an internet cafe in Zambia after shooting ‘Mwansa.’ I was incredibly broke and I was sent an email telling me that I would get funding for my post-production and I feel like I am at that cafe again … where I broke down in front of everyone …. Thank you for being very kind.”

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Rungano Nyoni
Winner of the Austin Film Festival and Esurance Audience Award for Best Narrative Short Film

The rest of the Austin Film Festival winners

If you’re anything like us — i.e., always on the lookout for a great new film to catch — here are the rest of the Esurance Audience Award winners:

Out of Competition Feature

“The Artist”
Writer/Director: Michel Hazanavicius

Narrative Feature

Writer/Director: Jeremiah Jones

Documentary Feature (Tie)

“Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters”
Director: Adam Cornelius
“Stories from an Undeclared War”
Director: Dennis Rice

Texas Independents

Writers: Brandon Dickerson, Thomas Ward, Wes Cunningham
Director: Brandon Dickerson

Comedy Vanguard

“Fred & Vinnie”
Writer: Fred Stoller
Director: Steve Skrovan

Narrative Short

“Mwansa the Great”
Writers: Rungano Nyoni, Gabriel Gauchet
Director: Rungano Nyoni

Narrative Student Short

Writers: Evan Ho, Huay Bing-Law
Director: Huay Bing-Law

Animated Short

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
Writer: William Joyce
Directors: William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg

Documentary Short

“Elliott Erwitt: I Bark At Dogs”
Director: Douglas Sloan

Learn more about the festival and other award winners at the Austin Film Festival website.

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about Lindsey

An integral part of the brand partnerships team for the last 4 years, Lindsey is tireless in her efforts to help bring the Esurance brand to life through unique partnerships, programs, and events. In her spare time, she helps local nonprofits organize fundraising events, and claims she's happiest when clutching a clipboard in the eye of the storm.