Teen drama wins top indie award at fest

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — Urban tales triumphed at the sixth annual Hamptons Intl. Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

“Edge City,” Eugene Martin’s gritty teen drama, won the Golden Starfish award for American independent film, which comes with $165,000 in goods and services.

Cauleen Smith won an honorable mention in the competition for “Drylongso,” a portrait of a young female photographer who documents the lives of young black men because she believes they are an endangered species. The title for Smith’s feature is African-American slang for “the same old thing.”

Ruth Leitman’s “Alma” nabbed the documentary prize at the Hamptons fest for her story of a dysfunctional Southern family. The doc jury consisted of Elaine Charnov, Ross McElwee, Susan Froemke, Kay Armatage and Lance Bird.

Karl Nussbaum’s “Raw Images from the Optic Cross” tied for best short along with Jay Rosenblatt’s “Human Remains.”

Leonardo Ricagni’s “The Life Jacket Is Under Your Seat” won best original score.

Jury likes ‘Code’

Gary Winick’s “The Tic Code” received a special recognition award from the feature jury, which consisted of Scott Meek, Nancy Savoca, Stockard Channing, Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Beals and Don Ronvaud. Written, produced and starring “thirtysomething” star Polly Draper, “Code” was inspired by the life of Draper’s husband, jazz musician Michael Wolff, who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome.

Pic, which previously screened at the Newport Film Festival, attracted interest from distributors such as Fox Lorber, Stratosphere and New Line Cinema.

This year’s festival attracted more industryites than in recent years. Several made the trip specifically for the world premiere of Alex Cox’s “Three Businessmen.” Cox plays one of three leads in a corporate road movie that begins in Liverpool and ends in Mexico. Pic was written and produced by Cox’s partner Tod Davies.

“Businessmen” had been below the radar of most acquisition execs until the Hamptons lineup was announced. Festival programmer David Schwartz said that when he received an application from Cox, he assumed it was another director with the same name as the helmer of “Sid and Nancy” and “Repo Man.”

Scorsese cameo

Philip Messina’s “With Friends Like These” was a hit with auds, although the audience awards were not due to be announced until late Sunday night. An ensemble comedy about actors who will do anything to get an audition with Martin Scorsese (who has a cameo in the film), “Friends” stars Adam Arkin, Laura San Giacomo, Elle Macpherson, Amy Madigan and Jon Tenney.

“Friends,” which previously won honors at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, was another Hamptons entry that distributors were circling.

During the festival, Artistic License announced that it had acquired U.S. rights to Fridrik Thor Fridrikkson’s latest film, “Devil’s Island.” Pic screened along with Fridrikkson’s previous works “Cold Fever,” “Children of Nature” and “White Whales” in a sidebar called “Four by Thor” that the Icelandic director attended.

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 23,500 tickets had been sold for the Hamptons fest, which ended with “The School of the Flesh, with star Isabelle Huppert in attendance.

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