‘Girlfight’ KOs competish at Deauville fest

Samuel L. Jackson pays Tribute to French

DEAUVILLE, France — Karyn Kusama’s “Girlfight” knocked out the jury to win the Grand Prix at the 26th Deauville Festival of American Cinema Sunday.

“Memento,” Christopher Nolan’s thriller about memory and revenge, nabbed second-place in a tie with Ben Younger’s riff on stock market chicanery and filial piety, “Boiler Room.” .3

Competition entries unspooled Sept. 4-8. Fest ran Sept. 1-10.

The 10-person celebrity jury led by Neil Jordan also selected two winners in the third annual competition for American short films. The Grand Prix went to “Seraglio,” co-directed by Gail Lerner and Colin Campbell, and the jury prize to David Kartch’s “Zen and the Art of Landscaping.”

‘In Love’ scores

The Canal Plus short film prize, which carries a 100,000 franc ($13,000) cash award, went to Joe Nussbaum for “George Lucas in Love.”

“Memento” took the grand prize designated by the Intl. Critics jury as well as the second annual Cine Live Prize.

The audience prize rewarded “Songcatcher,” Maggie Greenwald’s tale of feminist gumption and musicological persistence in Appalachia.

An acting prize sponsored by Ralph Lauren honored Michelle Rodriguez for her work as the distaff slugger in “Girlfight” and Mike White’s perf as Buck in the role he penned for himself in Miguel Arteta’s “Chuck and Buck.”

Samuel L. Jackson accepted the Deauville Tribute award Saturday, telling the crowd, “May the Force be with you,” in French.

“I used to call my agent all the time to ask if Hollywood had called and she’d say no,” Jackson recounted. “Then one day I phoned and she said yes, they had called. Hollywood had finally called. And that was because they heard a best supporting actor award had been created for me at the Cannes Film Festival. That was in 1991, when I played Gator in “Do the Right Thing.” The phone started ringing, and I started getting the kinds of parts I’d dreamed of. That was thanks to you: the French.”

Splendid weather and enthusiastic crowds accompanied the fest from start to finish. Canal Plus’ Pierre Lescure and Universal’s Ron Meyer were seen around town, as was helmer Brian De Palma, who had no comment for the time being about rumors that his next film will be made in Europe with French coin.

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