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Santa Barbara International Film Festival winners

The 21st Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced the winners of the 2006 festival competition. The festival, which ran from Feb. 2-12, attracted more than 50,000 visitors to the area, bringing attendance to well over 100,000 people.

Winners were selected by the following jury members:

American Independent Jury:
Gabrielle Kelly, Michael Nozik and Shaun Toub

Spanish and Latin American Film Jury:
Ann Louise Bardach, Peter Griffiths and Mary Kay Place

Best International Feature Jury:
Alfonso Arau, Dave Griffiths and Ilene Kahn Powers

Documentary Jury:
Maryann DeLeo, John C. Hall and Nik Wheeler

Shorts Jury:
Robert Dorff, John Klein and Robert Lesser

The winners are as follows:

The American Spirit Award, given to a unique independent feature that has been made outside mainstream Hollywood, went to “In Memory of My Father.” Directed by Christopher Jaymes, the film takes an unfeigned plunge into second generation Hollywood royalty. Three brothers attempt to come to terms with their own quandaries, flaws and failings amidst a bribe-driven documentation of their retired film producer father’s wake. The film stars Jeremy Sisto, Judy Greer and Matt Keeslar. Winner received a $60,000 camera package by Panavision. Jaymes was present to accept the award.

A Special Jury Award was presented to“Live and Become,” directed by Radu Mihaileanu. The 1984 exodus, in which Israel and the US supervised the Israeli patriation of the Ethiopian Jewish population, is the setting for this story about motherhood and personal and ethnic identity.

The Gold Vision Award Sponsored by York Entertainment, presented to the “most innovative and unique film with an inspiring and groundbreaking vision” had two recipients. Both winners will receive a film distribution package valued at $30,000.

“The Hamiltons,” directed by The Butcher Brothers. Blood, gore, violence, sex, incest, lesbian and gay themes, torture, monsters, cannibalism, and family values. What more could you ask for?

“Night of the Dog,” directed by: The Six. The tale of six friends and one insane night, which tests the boundaries of their friendship, their manhood, and the limits of good taste. The Six, who also star in the film are Peter Atencio, Michael Patrick Burke, Jeremy Catalino, Peter Donovan and Eshom and Ian Nelms.

The Best International Feature Award went to “Tsotsi,” directed by Gavin Hood and one of this year’s Academy Award nominated Foreign Films. Tsotsi (South African street slang for "thug") is a hard young man making a criminal living in the shantytowns of Johannesburg. When the car he steals has a baby in the backseat, Tsotsi is forced to come to terms with whatever vestiges of humanity he has left.

The Nueva Vision Award for Best Spanish and Latin American Film went to “Malas Temporadas” (Bad Times), directed by Manuel Martin Cuenca about the struggle of three lives to overcome past trauma and establish meaningful connections in contemporary Madrid. Cuenca was present to accept the award.

Best Documentary Feature, awarded to a non-fiction feature length film, went to “King Leopold’s Ghost,” directed by Pippa Scott. Narrated by Don Cheadle, Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, this riveting exploration of the roots of colonial exploitation shows the ways in which King Leopold II of Belgium plundered the Congo in the 1800s, putting in place a system of slavery and tyranny that shaped even recent history.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film, awarded to a short under 20 minutes in length, went to “Spin,” directed by Jamin Winans. Able to rewind time and avert tragedy with the twist of a dial, one mysterious turntable technician gives new meaning to the lyrics, "…the DJ saved my life."

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation went to “The Mantis Parable,” directed by Josh Staub. A caterpillar trapped in a bug collector's Mason jar attempts to rectify its fate. Staub was present to accept his award.

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 “Sisters-In-Law,” directed by Florence Ayisi and Kim Longinotto. The only documentary selected for the 2005 Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, this is a totally fascinating, often hilarious look at the work of one small courthouse in Cameroon where the tough-minded state prosecutor and court president help women in their Muslim village find the courage to fight abuse. Winners receive a $1,000 cash prize.

The BAFTA/LA Award for Best Short Short Film under 10 minutes went to “Spin,” directed by Jamin Winans.

The winners of the 10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Business First National Bank, and Final Draft – for best screenplay will receive Macintosh iBook G4 laptop computers. They are:

High School – Avery Medjuck from San Marcos HS
College – Laurie Tsou from UCSB

Sotheby’s International Realty 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking 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) receive a Macintosh Powerbook G4 laptop computer.

High School – Shea Peinado, Santa Barbara High School, for her film “The Expendable”.
College – Christophe Faubert, Brooks Institute, for his film “Fool Proof.” Josh Woolf, Brad Stonesifer and Sam Brownfield accepted the award along with Faubert.

The Santa Barbara Independent Audience Choice for Best Feature presented the award for the Audience Favorite for best Feature, which went to “Joyeux Noel” the Academy Award nominated Foreign Film directed by Christian Carion and starring Diane Kruger. The film is based on the true story of how, on Christmas Eve during World War I, German, Scottish and French soldiers declared a truce for one day and shared sentiments about the meaning of the season, this life-affirming tale is both profoundly moving and, at its core, a scorching condemnation of the idiocy of war.
More on the Blog http://www.filmfestivals.com/santabarbara

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Quick Guide to Events
Film Sidebars
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Full articles on the Blog
http://www.filmfestivals.com/santabarbara

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