Jury taps Iraq drama ‘Jesus’

CineVegas aud praises 'Park'

See winners

Folding its annual hand at the festival gaming table on Saturday with Stateside preem of Steve Coogan starrer “Lies and Alibis,” CineVegas announced jury and aud award winners that reflected the nine-day event’s focus on new and offbeat Yank premieres.

“G.I. Jesus,” vet Belgian-born helmer Carl Colpaert’s drama about the traumas endured by a soldier returning from the Iraq war, nabbed the grand jury prize.

Jury, made up of critics F.X. Feeney and Jean Oppenheimer and director Mark Pellington, spread the wealth around with honorable mentions to Tom Mattera and Dave Mazzoni’s hypnotic psychological puzzle “The 4th Dimension” and Eva Aridjis’ drama “The Favor,” about a single man’s misfortunes with his newly adopted son.

A special cinematography prize was given to lenser Till N. Neumann for his work on Gotham druggie-art world pic “5 Up 2 Down.”

Festgoers went against the drama-heavy trend of prizewinners, giving the aud award to Kurt Voelker’s ensemble comedy “Park,” set in the Los Angeles hills.

Screenings, held at a multiplex inside the hipster Palms Hotel, were typically packed, with several SRO. Final attendance figures were not available Sunday.

Besides being the only fest of its kind held adjacent to a casino, 8-year-old event is notable for programming (headed by Sundance programmer Trevor Groth) with a taste for experimental and unconventional cinema. This was potently demonstrated with world preems of John Maringouin’s disturbing “Running Stumbled” and local preems of Randy Walker and Jennifer Shainin’s stunning debut “Apart From That”; Jim Finn’s fascinating curio “Interkosmos”; visually gorgeous Sundance carryover “Wild Tigers I Have Known” (which filmmaker Cam Archer has reworked since its Park City debut); Abel Ferrara’s widely heralded “Mary”; and Jan Svankmajer’s blend of Poe and Sade, “Lunacy.”

Honorees, lauded for career or work to date (puckishly dubbed “half-life”) included thesps Helen Mirren, Laurence Fishburne, Christina Ricci, helmer Taylor Hackford and Sylvester Stallone, celebrating 30th anni of “Rocky.”

And the winners are…

“G.I. Jesus” — directed by Carl Colpaert (U.S.)
“The 4th Dimension” — Tom Mattera/Dave Mazzoni (U.S.)
“The Favor” (Eva Aridjis, U.S.-Mexico)
Till N. Neumann — “5 Up 2 Down”
“Park” (Kurt Voelker, U.S.)

“K-7” — Christopher Leone (U.S.)
“Bugcrush” — Carter Smith (U.S.)
“Holidays with Heather” — Todd Berger (U.S.)
“One Rat Short” — Alex Weil (U.S.)
“Pretty Boy Project” — Karl Reid (U.S.)
“Transaction” — (Jacques Thelemaque (U.S.)
“Voicemail” — Michael Wilde (U.S.)

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