Ken Scott’s Canadian comedy Starbuck has won the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Mercedes-Benz Audience Award Best Narrative Feature.

Judy Chaikin’s The Girls In The Band and Bobbi Birleffii and Beverly Kopf’s Wish Me Away shared the Audience Award Best Documentary Feature prize, presented at the awards brunch on Jan 15.

The FIPRESCI Award went to Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse while Matthias Schoenaerts received the FIPRESCI Award for best actor for his role in Bullhead and the ensemble female cast of Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat and Sarina Farhadi took the best actress prize for A Separation.

The New Voices/New Visions prize went to The House (Slovak Republic) by by Zuzana Liová and The John Schlesinger Award for a first-time documentary filmmaker went to Tatiana Huezo for The Tiniest Place.

The HP Bridging The Borders Award went to Emanuele Crialese for Italy’s best foreign language submission Terraferma.

“This year’s line-up encompassed a particularly satisfying blend of challenging but highly compelling works, more broadly accessible crowd pleasers and debut films distinguished by their distinctive storytelling craft and technical prowess,” festival director Darryl Macdonald said.

“The audience balloting skewed more highly favorable across the board than in recent years, and our juries have made astute and well-reasoned choices in every instance. In summary, it’s been a very good year for the cinema, and a hugely rewarding year for all who worked on or participated in this labor of filmic love.”

“The Palm Springs International Film Festival is all about building community,” artistic director Helen du Toit said. “With a record numbers of filmmakers in attendance, audiences had a chance to connect with filmmakers around the world.

“PSIFF continues to be a discovery showcase for new talent as well as a vibrant platform for the best of international cinema. Mark Cousins’ 15 hour documentary The Story Of Film: An Odyssey represented a rediscovery and re-invigoration of the art of filmmaking which had audiences enraptured.”

The festival ran from Jan 5-16.