What Happened To Tully, a Nebsraska-set family drama directed by Hilary Birmingham, walked away with the Critics Prize and Bounce: Behind The Velvet Rope won the Audience Award at this year's Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (LAIFF) which finished yesterday.
Some key domestic buyers were circling some of the films in the festival at close of play, especially the documentaries. Freestyle, for example, a documentary about hip-hop had evoked interest from United Artists, Fine Line and Artisan, while micro-distributor Seventh Art Releasing was close to a deal on Always A Bridesmaid which follows film-maker Nina Davenport's experiences as a wedding videographer.
In the narrative section, Tully and Straight Right both had offers on the table, with offers expected on William Blake Herron's A Texas Funeral.
2000 was the first year a critics prize had been awarded at the LAIFF. Stephen Farber of Movieline, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly and Henry Sheehan of Orange County Register were on the jury which also gave a special jury citation to Next Wave Films' Keep The River On Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, a documentary portrait of Tobias Schneebaum, the artist who for years lived with a cannibalistic tribe in the Peruvian Amazon.
Steven Cantor's Bounce, also a documentary, looks at the role of the bouncer through interviews with over 200 bouncers in London and New York. The audience award was voted on by the 30,000 members of the public who attended this year's event.
Other audience prizes went to Hilary Birmingham as best director for What Happened To Tully, to William Blake Herron as best writer for A Texas Funeral, to Jason Reitman for best short for In God We Trust and to Freestyle for its soundtrack.
During the awards ceremony yesterday lunchtime, the Indie Supporter Award was presented to PR veteran Mark Pogachefsky and the film division of mPRm.
Other films well-received at the festival included Shirley MacLaine's long-finished Bruno which is still without domestic distribution and George Washington, David Gordon Green's drama set among a group of working class children.