‘Wonderland’ nabs top Deauville prize

O'seas critics nod to 'Gods'

DEAUVILLE, France — Brad Anderson’s “Next Stop, Wonderland” won the Grand Prix at the 24th Deauville Festival of American Cinema Sunday. Lisa Cholodenko’s “High Art” nabbed the second place Jury Prize. The 10 competition entries — seven of which preemed at Sundance — were shown Sept. 7-11. Fest ran Sept. 4-13.

Anderson told the crowd of 1,500, “From the small city of Boston to the small town of Deauville has been quite a journey for us. The film is about a lonely woman looking for love, and that’s obviously something that all of us, illustrious jury or audience member, have within us.”

Popular taste aligned with the jury’s choice, as the audience award, sponsored by the French edition of Premiere Magazine, also went to “Wonderland,” currently in release in the U.S. from Miramax.

Crix’ picks

The International Critics Grand Prix went to “Gods and Monsters,” Bill Condon’s widescreen ode to the slightly tarnished yet potent glory of Old Hollywood.

The Fun Radio Trophy, awarded by a youth jury, went to Peter Berg’s “Very Bad Things” for its “black humor and jubilant cruelty.”

Fest co-founder and co-director Lionel Chouchan attributed record attendance to 10 days worth of torrential rains and strong winds that drove viewers inside.

This year marks the first Deauville competition for short films, with two prizes awarded by the main jury. In addition to their fest showing, the seven short pics were aired on cable to a potential audience of 1 million subscribers.

Top honors went to Rolf Gibbs for his concise five-minute mystery “Whacked” and the second prize went to Rod Lurie’s subversive “Four Second Delay,” in which a crazed caller to a radio talkshow tries to compell guest Bob Woodward to reveal the true identity of his pseudonymous Watergate source. Lurie quipped, “It’s a much more difficult task trying to discover who Woodward’s Deep Throat was than to find out who Bill Clinton’s was.”

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