Paul Haggis took home thegrand prize Sunday night at the 31st Deauville Festival of American Film forhis directing debut, Crash.
The ensemble look at racerelations in Los Angeles, is the first time behind the camera for the MillionDollar Baby screenwriter and will bereleased in France this week by Metropolitan.
The jury prize was splitbetween Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik's On The Outs and Lodge Kerrigan's Keane. The latter, a difficult look at losing a child,generated strong buzz when it ran in Directors Fortnight at Cannes and will bereleased by ARP Selection on September 21. It also took the internationalcritics prize. On The Outs isbeing handled by La Fabrique de Films.
Duncan Tucker took thescreenwriting prize for his Transamerica starring Felicity Huffman as a pre-operative transsexual who learns shefathered a son during a long ago heterosexual experience.
The jury was presided overby French director Alain Corneau surrounded by directors Dominik Moll andBrigitte Rouan and actors Dominique Blanc and Melvil Poupaud among others.
The audience award went toAndy Fickman's musical Reefer Madness while a new prize given by Canal Plus was awarded to Enron: TheSmartest Guys In The Room by AlexGibney. The film ran in the Uncle Sam's Docs sidebar.
The Michel d'Ornano prizewas awarded to Karin Albou's La Petite Jerusalem which had a berth in Critics Week this year inCannes.
Veteran writer BuddSchulberg also came to town to as the winner of the literary prize. The 91-yearold was honored with a dinner Thursday night and stayed through Sunday toreceive the honor on the main stage. Schulberg's works include On The Waterfront and What Makes Sammy Run'
Among other highlights ofthe week-long festival were the appearances of such talent as Ron Howard,Pierce Brosnan, Forest Whitaker, Abel Ferrara and Kirsten Dunst.