The 32nd annual Seattle International FilmFestival (SIFF) closed its epic, 25-day run on Sunday with a gala screening ofMichel Gondry's The Science Of Sleep atwhich Gondry was in attendance.
418 films were screened at the festival, 19 of them worldpremieres and 41 of which were North American premieres. The festival isexpecting an increase of 12% in box office and admissions to over 160,000 underthe leadership of artistic director Carl Spence and managing director DeborahPerson.
Audience award winner at Seattle was French spy comedy OSS117: Nest Of Spies directed by MichelHazanavicius which had its North American premiere at Seattle, while TheTrials Of Darryl Hunt (US) directed byRickie Stern and Annie Sundberg was best documentary. Over 70,000 ballots werecast by SIFF audiences who also named Goran Dukic best director for Wristcutters:A Love Story, Fiona Gordon best actress forBelgium's The Iceberg, RyanGosling best actor for Half Nelsonand Douglas Horn's Full Disclosurebest short.
In the juried awards, Shing Dong-il's Host & Guest from South Korea won the grand jury prize for bestnew director "for its timely and universal story of two strangers moving towards common ground in anincreasingly polarized world, told with great subtlety and emotional honesty."
A special jury prize was also given to Zhang Lu's GrainIn Ear from China. The jury consisted ofcritic Scott Foundas, Sundance Film Festival programmer Caroline Libresco andactor/writer/producer Oscar Torres.
In the new American film category, the grand jury prize wentto Live Free Or Die directed by GreggKavet and Andy Robin. The jury, consisting of director Robinson Devor,journalist Ann Donahue and producer Jim Stark, cited it "for the meticulouscrafting of its screenplay, its perfect ensemble cast and its outstanding useof high definition cinematography."
A special mention went to the actor Ahmed Razvi in the film ManPush Cart.
The best documentary jury, consisting of Toronto professorKay Armatage, indieWIRE's Brian Brooks and Caroline Cumming of 911 Media Arts,gave its grand jury prize to Erik Gandini and Tarik Sale's Gitmo: The NewsRules Of War. "This timely and importantinvestigation illuminates the crux of an issue that has not been sufficientlyexplored in mainstream media. Its formal structure exposes the process of theinvestigation while highlighting the degree of obstruction or cooperation ofits subjects," said the jury statement.
A special jury mention went to Linas Phillilps for WalkingTo Werner.
Best short films were Balint Kenyeres' Before Dawn (narrative), Dave Monahan's Ringo (animated) and Sam Green's Lot 63, Grave C (documentary). The shorts jury consisted of directorJason Reitman, festival programmer Anita Monga and screenwriter George Wing.