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LAFF 2011 Winners, But Also-Rans Were Great Too & Katie Holmes

EXTRA: Yes, Katie Holmes did show up to raves (without Tom Cruise in tow or Suri) for Closing night of 2011 LAFF. She looked great, ps.

What might be best remembered from the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival is the endearing pairing of Shirley MacLaine and Jack Black in a lovefest on their panel, but then again, Ryan Gosling breaking the screaming hot barrier in Nicolas Winding Refn's DRIVE also stands out.

Then there is John C. Reilly's new movie TERRI, which is just cool because he is in it. Also Summit Entertainment's epoch-appropriate A BETTER LIFE about immigration starring Demain Bichir, who comes from a dynasty of talented Mexican actors. The bloody DEVIL'S DOUBLE about one of Saddam scary relatives, or DON'T BE AFrAID OF tHE DARK, the closing-night pants-wetter of LAFF, might be the thing folks take away from this year's slate of films.

Not to be missed new films coming are: NATURAL SELECTION starring Rachel Harris; AN ORDINARY FAMILY, by two straight guys from the South who made a movie about a Priest's brother who comes out in a whole new way that addressed identity and difference; ONCE I WAS A CHAMPION about Evan Tanner, the Mixed Martial Arts fighter who somehow found himself stranded and dead in the desert; HABANA EVA by the very powerful filmmaker Fina Torres (FROM PRADA TO NADA, WOMAN ON TOP); and HOW TO CHEAT, which is among the official winners listed below.

Here is the Official Winners Round-Up from the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival:

Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)



Winner: Familiar Ground written & directed by Stéphane Lafleur

Producers: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw

Cast: Francis La Haye, Fanny Mallette, Sylvain Marcel, Michel Daigle, Suzanne Lemoine



Film Description: (Canada) This droll, deadpan comedy from snowbound Quebec features an

unhappy brother and sister whose fates seem to be known by a mysterious Man From the Future. Not too far in the future though. Just next September.



The Narrative Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 funded by Film Independent, offering the financial means to help filmmakers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition, and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all narrative feature-length films screening in the Narrative Competition section were eligible.



In bestowing Stéphane Lafleur with the Narrative Award, the Jury stated:

“An entire tree sticking out of a fireplace…a beaten-up snowman…an operatically dancing inflatable blue dude…the anything but familiar images of Familiar Ground won’t soon be forgotten. In a strong narrative competition this year, this was the singular vision that stood out the most.”



****



Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)



Winner: Wish Me Away directed by Beverly Kopf & Bobbie Birleffi

Producer: Beverly Kopf, Paul Mailman

Film Description: This intensely personal documentary chronicles the heart-wrenching decision Nashville singing star Chely Wright to come out of the closet despite the potentially crushing response from the industry and her fans.



The Documentary Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 funded by Film Independent, offering the financial means to help filmmakers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition, and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all documentary feature-length films screening in the Documentary Competition section were eligible.



In bestowing Beverly Kopf & Bobbie Birleffi with the Documentary Award, the Jury stated:

“For its honesty, humor and potential to change minds and even save lives, the jury awards the Documentary Award to Wish Me Away.”



****



Best Performance in the Narrative Competition



Winner: Amber Sealey, Kent Osborne, Amanda Street and Gabriel Diamond in Amber Sealey’s How to Cheat

Film Description: An L.A. couple's struggle to get pregnant sets off the husband's wandering eye in this comedy that reveals marriage to be as funny as it is heartbreaking.



In bestowing the actors with the Best Performance, the Jury stated:

“At a time where actors are often asked to take a larger role in the creation of what is said in a film and how it’s done, the performers of How to Cheat deserve special distinction. Kent Osborne, Amber Sealey, Amanda Street, and Gabriel Diamond dug deeper and messier, heroically past the point of comfort.”

****



Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature



Winner: Attack the Block directed by Joe Cornish

Producers: Nira Park, James Wilson

Cast: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Email, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter, Nick Frost

Film Description: (England) – From the producers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Attack the Block follows a gang of tough inner-city kids who defend their turf against an invasion of savage alien creatures, turning a South London apartment complex into an extraterrestrial warzone.



This award is given to the narrative feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select narrative feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Narrative Competition, Gala Screenings, International Showcase, International Spotlight, Summer Showcase, Community Screenings, Ford Amphitheatre Screenings, and The Beyond.



****



Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature



Winner: Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest directed by Michael Rapaport

Producers: Edward Parks, Bob Teitel, Frank Mele, Robert Benavides, Eric Matthies, Michael Rapaport, Debra Koffler

Film Description: The rancorous break-up of a Tribe Called Quest frames Michael Rapaport’s exuberant exploration of the turmoil and joy that drove these pioneers of bohemian hip hop.



This award is given to the documentary feature audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system. Select documentary feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: Documentary Competition, International Showcase, International Spotlight, Documenting Mexico, Summer Showcase, Community Screenings, and Ford Amphitheatre Screenings.



****



Audience Award for Best International Feature



Winner: Senna directed by Asif Kapadia

Producers: James Gay-Rees, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

Film Description: (England) A high-octane look at the most exciting driver to ever race Formula One — Brazil’s Aryton Senna — this edge of your seat documentary explores the politics, rivalries and glamour of a sport that leaves no room for error.



This award is given to the international feature audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system. Select international feature-length films, both narrative and documentary, in the Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, International Showcase, International Spotlight, Documenting Mexico, Summer Showcase, Ford Amphitheatre Screenings, and The Beyond were eligible for the Audience Award for Best International Feature.



****



Best Narrative Short Film



Winner: The Wind Is Blowing on My Street by Saba Riazi

Producer: Mohammad Hoseseni

Cast: Rahman Houshyar, Sajjad Salehivand, Forough Bonakder, Ashraf Abolfazlian

Description: (Iran) A young girl in Tehran is accidentally locked out of her home with no scarf on her head.



In bestowing Saba Riazi with Best Narrative Short Film, the Jury stated:

“For offering insight into the specifics of life under theocratic rule in Iran in a way that speaks to us all, with a remarkable lead performance by an actress forced by circumstances to remain anonymous, the jury presents the Narrative Short Film Award to Saba Riazi for The Wind is Blowing on My Street.”



****



Best Documentary Short Film



Winner: I Am a Girl! by Susan Koenen

Producer: Albert Klein Haneveld

Description: (Netherlands) Joppe dreams of love, marriage and children. Being born a boy only complicates things slightly.



In bestowing Susan Koenen with Best Documentary Short Film, the Jury stated:

“For using gorgeous cinematography and energetic editing to capture a young woman’s journey from biological maleness to forthright femininity, and for giving us a glimpse at an open-minded new generation with a better understanding of gender and sexuality issues than their parents ever dreamed, the jury presents the Documentary Short Film Award to Susan Koenen for I Am a Girl!”



****



Best Animated Short Film



Winner: The Eagleman Stag by Mike Please

Producer: Royal College of Art

Cast: David Cann, Tony Guilfoyle

Description: (England) This unique stop-motion animated film depicts a man’s haunting obsession with the passage of time and his unorthodox relationship with a beetle.



In bestowing Mike Please with Best Animated Short Film, the Jury stated:

“For mixing innovative three-dimensional paper-cut animation, a stunning white-on-white visual style, and a wryly original sense of storytelling, the jury presents the Animated Short Film Award to Mikey Please for The Eagleman Stag.”



****



Audience Award for Best Short Film



Winner: Blind Date by Joe Rosen

Producer: Joe Rosen, Abigail Blackmore

Cast: Abigail Blackmore, Cavan Clerkin, Zeben Jameson, Matthew Blackmore

Description: (England) Waiting for her date, Rachel has an unexpected encounter.



Awarded to the short film audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system. Short films screening in the Shorts Programs or before Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, or International Showcase feature-length screenings were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Short Film.



****



Audience Award for Best Music Video



Winner: Can’t Shake This Feeling by The General Assembly’s Adam Littke, Ryan McNeill, Adam Willis

Music: Grum



This award is given to the music video audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system.


By Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
The Dailies from Los Angeles Film Festival on fest21.com

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