The Mercedes-Benz Audience Award:
Narrative film -This year's Festival attendees selected ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (Sweden/Denmark/Germany) for the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The runner-up film was ‘The World
is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner’ (Bulgaria/Germany/Slovenia).
Best Narrative Documentary- ‘The Most Dangerous Man in America’ directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith received the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. On October 1, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg began smuggling a top-secret report about the history of the Vietnam War out of a safe in his office and, ultimately, into the pages of The New York Times. This gripping documentary explores the profound political and legal consequences that followed. The runner-up film was ‘Inside Hana's Suitcase’ (Canada/Czech Republic).
The Fiperesci Award for Best Foreign Language Film:
‘Involuntary’ Sweden's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, directed by Ruben Outland received the award. It is comedy about the nature of group dynamics: Two teenage girls take risqué pictures and get drunk; a group of young men experiment with sex; a righteous teacher tries to set things "right;" and a bus driver holds a group of passengers prisoner. As described by juror Jan Stuart, "Involuntary investigates the subject of group think and individual responsibility through an interwoven series of fraught social situations.”
Fiperesci Award for Best Actor/Actress:
Tedo Bekhauri received the FIPRESCI Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Other Bank (Georgia/Kazakhstan) directed by George Ovashvili, and Anne Dorval received the FIPRESCI Award for Best Actress for her performance in I Killed My Mother (Canada).
New Voices/Vision Category Award:
The New Voices/New Visions category features films from twelve new international directors whose first film has been selected by the Festival's programming team All films in the section are U.S. premieres without American distribution .This year’s winner is – ‘A Brand New Life’ (South Korea/France) directed by Ounie Lecomte. Its 1975 story about a nine year old girl Jinhee for whom the life she knows is about to be shattered. Inexplicably abandoned by her father in a Catholic orphanage outside Seoul, the girl begins an extraordinary emotional journey marked by rage and hope, death and rebirth. One film that ultimately stood out for its accomplished vision of an emotional journey that was both powerful and heartbreaking, yet hopeful. ‘Devil’s Town’ directed by Vladimir Paskaljevic received a special jury mention for its audacious and challenging satire of modern day Serbia.
John Schlesinger Award:
‘Eyes Wide Open’ (Israel) by Haim Tabakman received the John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature Award. The film emerged winner out of 67 feature or documentary film directing competing debuts. The film is a taboo-breaking drama about a married butcher who falls in love with a seductive younger man in Jerusalem's insular ultra-orthodox community. The winner receives a Kennedy Statue ("Entertainer") and a DVD package provided by FacetsMedia.
Bridging Borders Award:
‘Letters to Father Jacob’ (Finland), directed by Klaus Härö, received the Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema without Borders to the film that is the most successful in bringing the people of our world closer together.
While many regional fests are facing economic challenges, Palm Springs' 21st festival was honoured with a record attendance and sizeable sponsorship gains.