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‘Grbavica,’ ‘Children’ take home AFI kudos

'Disappearing' takes top honors for the shorts jury prize

Jasmila Zbanic’s “Grbavica” received the grand jury prize for international feature Sunday at the AFI Fest.

“Buddha’s Lost Children” and director Mark Verkerk received the international docu grand prize and a $10,000 unrestricted grant courtesy of sponsor Aquafina Pure Vision, while Stephanie Burke’s “Disappearing” took home top honors for the shorts jury prize.

Switzerland’s “Vitus,” from director Fredi M. Murer, won the audience award for best feature. Auds were deadlocked on best doc, with Carla Garapedian’s “Screamers” and Lucy Walker’s “Blindsight” splitting the honor. The audience award for shorts went to Michael Dreher’s “Fair Trade.”

Festival’s Christian Gaines, Nancy Collet, Natalie McMenemy, Lane Kneedler and Shaz Bennett were on hand to present the awards alongside Eastman Kodak’s Gail Sanchez, Dalsa Digital Cinema’s Illya Friedman, director Don Roos and thesp jury members Christine Lahti and Daryl Hannah. The winning filmmakers will take home more than $70,000 worth of prizes.

For next year’s fest, Audi of America has renewed its sponsorship of AFI and will return as a presenting sponsor of the festival in 2007. AFI also has extended its partnership with ArcLight Cinemas, which serves as headquarters for the event, for another three years.

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