International fest honors top-notch indie films

At the seventh annual Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival, Serguei Bassine earned the $15,000 future filmmaker award for “Because of Mama,” while Beth Armstrong won the $2,000 best of festival prize for “Cheek to Cheek.”

More than 280 films from over 30 countries were screened by the jury at the fest, which ran Aug. 7-13 at the Festival of Arts Cinemas.

In the nonstudent category for live-action under 15 minutes, Gabriel Sirbu won first place for “An Invitation to Lunch”; Johnny O’Reilly took second for “The Terms.”

For live-action over 15 minutes, Jane Manning won first for “Delivery Day.” Phil Stoole was second for “Schneider’s 2nd Stage.”

In animation, Rene Castillo took first for “Down to the Bone.” “Stubble Trouble” by Joe Merideth was second.

In documentary, first went to “Beautiful America” by Peter Roloff. Second went to Birgit Rathsmann for “Grit & Polish.”

In the student category, Peter McDonald won first for live action, 15 minutes and under, for “Harvey.” Second went to “Beancake” by David Greenspan. For live action over 15 minutes, first went to Greg Marcks for “Lector.” Second went to Steven Pasvolsky’s “Dog.”

First in animation went to Jeff Spoonhower’s “Hypertension.” Second went to Q. Allan Brocka for “Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in all the World.”

In documentary, first went to Barbara Medajska for “I Could Have Been Human.” Second went to Michale Boganim’s “Memories Incertaines.”

Each of the first place winners earned $2,000; second place winners took $500. Festival sponsor Kodak gave first place student winners $1,000 in film stock and second place winners $500 in film stock.

The jurors presented awards of merit to Miguel Sapochnik’s “The Dreamer,” Mauro Magazzino’s “The Encounter, ” Vassilis Douvlis’ “The Veteran” and Jesse Schmal’s “SUB!”

In the Faces of Drugs category, Ayelet Tsabari and Jennifer Paterson took first with “Fixed for Life.” Second place went to Konstantin Bojanov for “Lemon Is Lemon.” Third went to Lisa Tabler for “Mark Ward.” The filmmakers took home $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

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