Having already scored the prestigious audience award at theToronto International Film Festival this year, Terry George's Hotel Rwanda won the same prize at AFI FEST, the LosAngeles International Film Festival, which wrapped up this weekend.
It beat out such crowd-pleasers as A Very Long Engagement,House Of Flying Daggers, Bad Education and Les Choristes, boding well for its chances in the upcoming awards race.
Wash Westmoreland's Gay Republicans won the audience award for bestdocumentary and Neele Leana Vollmar's My Parents won the audience award for best shortfilm.
In the juried awards, Fernando Eimbcke's Mexican comedy DuckSeason (Temporada dePatos) won InternationalFeature Competition Grand Jury Prize and Avi Lewis claimed InternationalDocumentary Competition Grand Jury Prize honours for The Take (Canada), which centres on industrialaction in Argentina.
Director Robin Scovill and producer Eric Paulson received specialmention for The Other Side Of AIDS, the first time a picture has received special mention in thedocumentary category.
The Other Side Of AIDS posits that years of research into the causes and preventionof AIDS have failed and, 20 years after the disease entered the mainstream newsagenda, many millions continue to be diagnosed HIV-positive with tests thatcannot find the actual virus.
Taika Waititi's Two Cars, One Night (New Zealand) won the shortscompetition, and Chris Landreth earned special mention for Ryan (Canada).
The AFI FEST ranin Los Angeles from Nov 4-14, closing last night with a gala screening ofAlejandro Amenabar's The Sea Inside. Early attendance figures show a 20% increase in box officesales. Among attending film-makers and talent were Pedro Almodovar and GaelGarcia Bernal from Bad Education, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel and JodieFoster from A Very Long Engagement, Alejandro Amenabar and Javier Bardem from The Sea Inside, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and BenjaminBratt from The Woodsman,Ziyi Zhang from House Of Flying Daggers, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and John Goodman from BeyondThe Sea, MichaelRadford, Lynn Collins and Joseph Fiennes from The Merchant Of Venice and other actors including Penelope Cruz,Orlando Bloom, Willem Dafoe, Kevin Costner, Don Cheadle, Rosario Dawson, CubaGooding Jr, Marisa Tomei, Brittany Murphy and Scarlett Johansson.