June 23--The Los Angeles Film Festival announced its prize winners during a brunch downtown on Sunday afternoon.
Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead was there to present the feature film jury prizes. The jury prize for narrative film went to Janis Nords for "Mother, I Love You," a Latvian film about a little boy who falls into a world of petty crime. The jury prize for documentary film went to Ryan McGarry for "Code Black," a look at changes affecting emergency room medicine at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center. Both films receive a $10,000 unrestricted cash prize.
"It's a story L.A. can be proud of," McGarry, who made the film while a doctor at the hospital, said after the ceremony.
A prize for best performance in the narrative competition went to Indian actress Geetanjali Thapa in Kamal K.M.'s "I.D."
Audience awards went to Destin Daniel Cretton's "Short Term 12" for feature film, Grace Lee's "American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs" for documentary feature and Haifaa Al Mansour's "Wadjda" for international feature.
In accepting the prize, "Short Term" producer Asher Goldstein said, "I think an audience award is the most special. We're storytellers to tell stories to an audience." Roman Paul, producer of the Saudi Arabian film "Wadjda," which Sony Pictures Classics will release this year, said he was "overwhelmed" by the award.
Three short films each won an unrestricted $1,500 prize. Narrative short went to Tsai Ming-Liang for "Walker," documentary short went to Kevin Jerome Everson for "Stone" and animated or experimental short went to Emma De Sweaf and Marc James Roels' "Oh Willy..." An audience award for short film went to Asa Blanck and Johan Palmgren for "Grandpa and Me and a Helicopter to Heaven."
"I think it means there's breadth to our programming, and there's an audience appreciation for that," festival director Stephanie Allain said after the ceremony, referring to the mix of films that received awards. "It's great -- a local film, a Latvian film. I feel really good about how it all shook out."
"I think the combination of the audience awards and the jury awards, which are somewhat different sensibilities, cover the range of stuff we have here," added David Ansen, the festival's artistic director. "From obvious, wonderful crowd pleasers to more esoteric stuff, I'm glad there's a little bit of everything."
The Los Angeles Film Festival opened June 13 with the North American premiere of Pedro Almodovar's "I'm So Excited" and wraps up Sunday night with a screening of "The Way, Way Back," directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. The festival also featured gala screenings of Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station," Doug Pray's "Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture" and Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives."
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