In an unusual move the juryat this year's sixth Annual Sarasota Film Festival elected not to handout prizes for best narrative and documentary and instead ploughed the moneyback into the creation of an emerging Florida film-makers' fund.
'After much discussion,we felt that the best contribution we could make was not to awardtraditional prizes to individual films or film-makers,' a statementon behalf of the jury panel read.
'Rather, we feel thatthe most dynamic use of the prize monies would be in the formation of anemerging Florida filmmakers' fund for the cultivation of theenormous talent in the region.
'We believe thatthe Sarasota Film Festival can be a catalyst for the development of ahealthy, regional film community.'
The rationale behind the jury'sdecision not to award narrative and documentary prizes remained unclear,although one source suggested both competitions were too close to call.
The combined $10,000 prizemoney will now go towards a nascent fund that festival organisers are in the processof developing. More details will be announced in due course.
Of those films that werehonoured on Jan 31, Dominic Silipo won the Emerging Film-maker Award for his short Mimmo & Paulie, while the Full Sail Real World Education Best ShortFilm Award went to Tate Taylor for Chicken Party.
Silipo received a prizepackage worth $20,000 that includes cash grants and limited use of backlot,soundstage, green room and make-up facilities at Universal Studios ProductionGroup Florida as well as limited use of a production office.
The Audience Award for BestDrama went to Campbell Scott's Off The Map, best comedy honours went to Vincent Sassone'sA Tale Of Two Pizzas, the bestdocumentary was presented to Lindsay Crystal's My Uncle Berns and the Audience Award for Best Foreign Film went toNorwegian director Morten Tyldum's romantic comedy Buddy.
This year'sProgrammer's Choice Award was presented to director Sam Chen'sanimated short film Eternal Gaze.
The festival kicked off onJan 23 with the world premiere of Gil Junger's If Only and over the course of the following week screenedmore than 150 films and staged workshops, panel discussions and extensiveeducational outreach projects in the area.