Director Przemyslaw Reut took the top prize for his drama “Paradox Lake” at the eighth annual Los Angeles Film Festival awards, held Saturday atop the Bel Age Hotel.
Reut received $50,000, donated by Target Stores, the largest amount bestowed by a U.S. film festival.
“OT: Our Town” won the top prize in the docu category.
IFP/West president Vondie Curtis-Hall, exec director Dawn Hudson, awards ceremony host Cary Elwes and presenters Tim Roth, Elizabeth Pena and Forest Whitaker announced the winners chosen from a record 57 features representing 22 countries.
Spelling bee docu “Spellbound” was the audience award winner in the docu category; it also received a special jury prize. Alfredo de Villa’s “Washington Heights” won the narrative audience award.
The jury delayed presenting the narrative feature award until the closing-night screening of Miguel Arteta’s “The Good Girl.”
“Spellbound” director-producer Jeffrey Blitz received a package including a Canon XL1-S camera for his look at the National Spelling Bee competition. “OT: Our Town,” which follows a Compton high school’s first theatrical performance in 20 years, took home a package including a full tape-to-film blowup and digital equipment.
“OT” director Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s passionate speech thanking his fellow filmmakers and Dominguez High School drama teacher Catherine Borek was the touching highlight of the ceremony. “I’ve been waiting to say that for two years now,” Kennedy said after the kudofest. “The fact is, we’ve already won. We’re at the festival, we’re here, people are seeing our film — it’s wonderful!”