A meaningful ‘Life’

'Stolen' nabs top prize at Tribeca festival

This article was updated on Monday, May 2

NEW YORK — The fourth annual Tribeca Film Festival handed out its competition awards Saturday night, with Chinese helmer Li Shaohong’s “Stolen Life” (Sheng Si Jie) taking the top prize.

Pic follows a girl from a peasant family who heads to an out-of-town college to improve her prospects.

Italian helmer Pietro Reggiani’s “My Brother’s Summer” (L’estate di mio fratello) received a special mention from the Tribeca feature jury, which included helmers Griffin Dunne and Darren Aronofsky.

Awards were handed out at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, with presenters including Tim Robbins, Eddie Izzard, Michael Imperioli, Denis Leary, fest co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, Gotham film commish Katherine Oliver and New York state commish Pat Swinney Kaufman.

Fest ran April 19-Sunday, showcasing 250 films from 45 countries.

“Like our city, we have strived to make our film festival a microcosm of the world,” Rosenthal said of the fest’s wide-ranging lineup. “New York is local and it is global and in the same breadth. So, too, we have the same hopes for Tribeca.”

Reflecting the fest’s international bent, many of its top prizes went to foreign films, helmers and talent. Top docu was Peter Forgacs’ “El Perro Negro: Stories From the Spanish Civil War.” Pic by the Budapest-based filmmaker is an arty glimpse at Spain during the 1930s. Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani’s docu “The Devil’s Miner” received a special mention from the non fiction film jury.

Chilean helmer Alicia Scherson was named the fest’s best new narrative filmmaker for “Play,” her tale of a couple searching for love.

New docu filmmaker award went to Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary for their look at the slums of Rio, “Favela Rising”

Cees Geel took the fest’s top acting prize for the Dutch pic “Simon,” by Eddy Terstall, which was snapped up by indie distrib Strand Releasing last week.

Best actress of the fest was Felicity Huffman — for her perf as a man, waiting to complete a sex-change operation, who learns he has a son — in “Transamerica” by Duncan Tucker. Pic was said to be gaining interest as an acquisitions target.

In a category dubbed NY Loves Film Documentary, Victor Buhler’s exploration of a high school within a New York prison, “Rikers High,” took top honors. Pic, which emerged as one of the fest’s faves, is skedded to debut on Showtime and is searching for a distrib deal.

John Kirby’s docu “The American Ruling Class” took a special mention in the category.

Meantime, Georgia Lee’s “Red Doors” won the trophy for narrative feature made in New York, with Alexandra Brodsky’s “Bittersweet Place” getting a special mention.

Lee’s film concerns a Chinese-American family living in the suburbs of New York.

Coming out of the Tribeca Family fest that runs concurrently with the main event, the kids’ pick for family short was Matthew Manson’s “Spandex: A Father’s Tale.

Fest’s Student Visionary Award went to “Dance Mania Fantastic” by Sasie Sealy.

Aud’s top pick was political docu “Street Fight” by Marshall Curry.

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