In a surprise turn of events, A Dean Bell's What Alice Found took home the trophy for best filmSunday night at the Deauville Festival of American Film. The festival iscentered around independent American cinema and saw ten films compete for theprize. The main jury was presided over by Roman Polanski.

The win for Alice is suprising in that it was the first film screened incompetition and was not hotly touted throughout the week. The film is Bell'ssecond feature following 1995's Backfire starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters and played incompetition at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Alice tells the story of ayoung girl who flees home in search of a better life in Florida sporting cashstolen from her mundane job as a supermarket checkout girl. On the road shemeets up with a seemingly sweet couple who eventually encourage her into a lifeof prostitution.

The film was well-received if not as big a crowd pleaser asMatthew Parkhill's Dot The I starring Mexican star du jour Gael Garcia Bernal. That film tookhome the audience award and is certain to have a healthy career in France whenit is released by SND.

The jury prize went to Catherine Hardwicke's Thirteen about two young girls who find any meanspossible to escape their family problems. Holly Hunter, who made the trip toDeauville with Hardwicke, stars in the film along with newcomers Evan RachelWood and Nikki Reed.

The critics prize went to Sundance winner American Splendor which had been hotly tipped to take themajor awards. After ten days of unseasonably cold and rainy weather on theNormandy shores the festival wrapped Sunday night following a weekend which sawthe premiere of Finding Nemoand an hommage to director Ridley Scott.