Fest ends with praise

Anderson announces fellowship winners

Director Jean-Luc Godard may have canceled his trip to Gotham at the last minute, but that didn’t stop the 39th New York Film Festival from closing on a positive note.

This year’s event, which wrapped Sunday with Godard’s “Eloge de l’amour” (In Praise of Love), began under a cloud of uncertainty, opening just 17 days after the Sept. 11 attacks. Once screenings got under way, however, attendance remained at its usual levels, capping out at an estimated 95%.

Prior to the screening, helmer Wes Anderson took the stage at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall to present the winners of the fifth annual Grand Marnier Film Fellowships for graduate work in film, video and criticism. Sarah Bassine, Edgar Endress and Mariana Johnson each received $5,000 cash prizes from the festival sponsor, which recently reupped its commitment to the event through 2004.

“New York is without a doubt my favorite festival,” said Anderson, whose latest film, “The Royal Tenenbaums,” had its world premiere Oct. 5 at the fest. “I’m proud to present these awards. I would do anything the organizers asked of me.”

“Everyone I spoke with was relieved and happy that we decided to continue this year as planned,” said Richard Pena, Film Society of Lincoln Center director and festival selection chair. “I’m proud that we didn’t postpone anything.”

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