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Santa Barbara International Film Festival awards

The 20th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced the winners of the 2005 festival competition, as well as next year’s festival dates, February 3-12, 2006.

Winners were selected by the following jury members:

American Independent Jury:
Joe Dante (director, “The Howling” and “Gremlins”), Clark Peterson (producer, “Monster”) and actor Perry Lang (“The Big Red One” and “Eight Men Out”).

Spanish and Latin American Film Jury: Cynthia Hargrave (former Music Executive and award-winning producer), Piedad Pelacios (in charge of special projects for the MPAA in Latin America), and Peter Marai (promotes and distributes Latin American films).

Best International Feature Jury: L.M. Kit Carson (award-winning screenwriter/actor/ producer), Michael Simpson (award-winning writer/producer/director) and Matias Doorn (AMPAS Attaché at the Argentinian Consulate)

Documentary Jury: Candace Schermerhorn (documentary filmmaker and former SBIFF programmer), Nik Wheeler (UPI Photo war correspondent) and Lars Nelson (teaches documentary filmmaking at SB Community College).

The winners are as follows:

The American Spirit Award, given to a unique independent feature that has been made outside mainstream Hollywood, went to “Mail Order Wife,” written and directed by Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko . The film is a caustic expose into the world of mail-order love. Winner received a $30,000 camera package by Panavision.

The Best International Feature Award went to “Deadlines,” written and directed by Michael Lerner, along with Ludi Boeken. The film follows a beat reporter as he braves 1980’s Beirut. (Commented Lerner: “It’s a great honor to receive this prize. Santa Barbara audiences were so warm and receptive, which means so much to filmmakers trying to get their work seen. It was a terrifica festival run by terrific people!”)

A Special Jury Award for Best Performance by an Actor in an International film went to Bruno Ganz for his performance in the Oscar nominated Foreign Film “The Downfall.” Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), the final stenographer for Adolf Hitler (Ganz), tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of World War II.

A Special Jury Award for Best Performance by an Actress in an International Film went to Sibell Kekilli for her performance in “Head On,” German director Fatih Akin’s powerful and intense film about two hard-living lovers.

A Special Jury Award for Cinematic Originality went to “Alone Across Australia,” directed by Jon Muir and produced by Ian Darling and Jon Muir. A 2,500 km odyssey to cross Austrailia from south to north coast on foot.

A Special Jury Award for its handling of vital contemporary issues went to “Power of Nightmares,” directed by Adam Curits. A powerful political doc that argues the neo-cons who form George W. Bush's Praetorian Guard share the same philosophical roots as the radical Islamists.

The Nueva Vision Award for Best Spanish or Latin American Film went to “O Outre Lado de Roua” (The Other Side of the Street) Directed by Marcos Bernstein and starring Fernanda Montenegro (Central Station), who gives an astonishing performance as Regina, a retired woman who strolls around with her dog in a Copacabana, giving informa-tion to the police.

A Special Jury Award for Writing and Directing in the Spanish and Latin America Film Sidebar was given to Punto Y Raya. Directed by Elia Schneider, this war satire from Venezuela received a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination.

Best Documentary Feature, awarded to a non-fiction feature length film, went to “A Hard Straight,” directed by Goro Toshima. Documentary follows three parolees in their post-prison lives as they search for collective and personal redemption.
Fund for SB Social Justice Award, selected by The Fund for Santa Barbara and awarded to a documentary film that addresses social justice issues, went to “Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action,” directed by Roberta Grossman. This documentary chronicles the efforts of five remarkable Native American activists dedicated to protecting their lands against environmental hazards, preserving sovereignty and ensuring the cultural survival of their people. Winner received a $1,000 cash prize. The Fund for Santa Barbara also gave Special Mentions to “Power of Nightmares” and “Emmanuel’s Gift”.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film, awarded to a short under 20 minutes in length, went to “Everything With This Country Must,” directed by Gary McKendry.
Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation went to “Oola Oop,” directed by Carolle-Shelley Abrams.

The Antioch University Award for Leadership and Change went to “Rory O’Shea Was Here,” directed by Damien O’Donnell. This is the extraordinary story of determination that fuses highly emotional drama with bracingly boisterous humor. The film follows two young men with physical disabilities as they band together and seize an opportunity to savor life on their own terms. Winner received a $1,000 cash prize.

Sotheby’s International Realty 10-10-10 Student Filmmaker Competition, where 10 students from the high school and college level were selected to make a 10-minute digital film during the 10 days of the festival. The winners (one from High School and one from College level) received a $3,000 equipment scholarship from Sotheby’s.

Those Winners are:

High School – Nico Constantinides and his film “The Meaning,” an endearing story of self-exploration and discovery.

College – Mark Legaspi and his film The Unfortunate End of Six-Gun Bill Sutton,” a tall-tale about a gunfighter who thinks he’s invincible.

The Santa Barbara Independent presented awards to the Audience Favorites for best Feature, Documentary and Short Film.
Audience Choice for Best Feature went to “The Thing About My Folks,” directed by Raymond De Felitta. From a script by Paul Reiser, who also stars along with Peter Falk comes this family comedy about the eighth wonder of the world: Parents. (Paul Reiser commented “We’ve always believed the audience’s enthusiastic word of mouth is what would propel this film forward. We’re thrilled to see that this is exactly what’s happening.”)
Audience Choice for Best Documentary went to “Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action,” directed by Roberta Grossman. This documentary chronicles the efforts of five remarkable Native American activists dedicated to protecting their lands against environmental hazards, preserving sovereignty and ensuring the cultural survival of their people.
Audience Choice for Best Latino CineMedia Feature went to “Voces Inocentes,” Directed by Luis Mandoki. Set in wartime El Salvador, this moving portrait focuses on the experience of those individuals who gave and lost the most during the war.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival relies heavily on the tireless efforts of many staff and volunteers. Some of those recognized for their exceptional contributions are:
Board Member of the Year was awarded to Kyle Brace.
Outstanding Volunteer of the Year went to Christine Le Bon
Outstanding Contribution to the Festival was awarded to Kristen Bailey and Yoshinori Goto
Outstanding Performance Honorary Award to Board President Arnold Kassoy

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