FernandoMereilles' Brazilian crime epic City Of God continued its run of festival success bywinning the audience award for best international feature film at AFI FEST inLos Angeles which ended on Sunday night with a screening of PedroAlmodovar's Talk To Her.
Other audienceaward winners were Tasha Oldham's The Smith Family which won in the best internationaldocumentary film category and The Box Man directed by Nirvan Mullick which won in best internationalshort film. Festival director Christian Gaines announced the prize-winners onSunday before the closing night film.
Meanwhile threejury prizes were announced at the end of last week. The feature jury,comprising actress Christina Ricci, film-maker Percy Adlon and Mike Goodridge,US editor of Screen International, named Eiiji Okuda's Shoujyo (AnAdolescent) winner ofthe grand jury prize, with a special mention for performance by an actor goingto Shawn Ku for Samsaraand special mention for performance by an actress going to Paprika Steen for Okay.
The shorts jury,comprising actress Maria Conchita Alonso, producer/consultant Bob Hawk andfilm-maker Matthew Harrison chose Dr Cuddle directed by Anja Jacobs for the shortsgrand jury prize, with a special mention to The Box Man.
Meanwhile in the documentary category, the jury consistingof musician and composer Miriam Cutler, film-maker Lisa Leeman and producerEric D'Arbeloff, chose Sherine Salama's A Wedding In Ramalah for the grand jury prize with a special mention foremotional courage and cinematic artistry to Family directed by Sami Saif and Phie Ambo.
The Jury Awardwinners above received prizes and in-kind services valued at more than $75,000from Eastman Kodak Company, Panavision, DELL, Aloha Airlines, Agnes b, TriCoastStudios and other sponsors.
Organisers atthis year's event, which is the longest-running festival in Los Angeles,said record numbers of cinephiles attended screenings and special events at AFIFEST's new home at the ArcLight Hollywood. "AFI FEST 2002 welcomedfilms and filmmakers from all over the world," Gaines told the audience. "Theresponse from our audiences has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive,and we hope to offer additional sections, films and screens next year. LosAngeles is not just a company town, it's a great festival town."
Among an arrayof special events were a special tribute and retrospective in honour of SirMichael Caine; a programme of short films by under-18 film-makers in thecountry; and a new Made in Germany showcase in conjunction with CorinaDanckwerts and the Export Union of German Cinema that featured a specialscreening of the 1929 Marlene Dietrich classic silent film, Three Loves, with live organ accompaniment. Inaddition Kodak reprised its successful Kodak Connect Program, providingfilm-makers with one-on-one meetings with entertainment veterans. AFI FEST 2003is scheduled to take place from Nov 6-16.