'Vitus,' 'Death 101' also win Golden Space Needle

The top audience nod at the Seattle Film Festival went to local boy John Jeffcoat for “Outsourced,” a comedy about jobs moving to India.

The Golden Space Needle Awards, plus juried prizes, were handed out Sunday morning at the end of the Seattle Film Festival’s 25-day run at their namesake landmark. First runner-up for the aud nod was the Swiss kidpic “Vitus.” The Golden Space Needle for director went to Daniel Waters, for his black laffer “Sex and Death 101.”

Receiving actor and actress kudos, respectively, were Daniel Bruhl for Spain’s “Salvador” and Marion Cotillard for her Edith Piaf portrayal in “La Vie en rose.” Top docu was Daniel Karslake’s U.S.-made “For the Bible Tells Me So,” and the auds’ fave short was “Pierre,” from fellow American Dan Brown.

Among the juried prizes, “Sons,” by Norway’s Eric Richter Strand, won the New Director Award, for what the judges called “consummate storytelling ability with a fully realized cinema aesthetic.” A special mention went to actress Valerie Donzelli “for an utterly convincing performance of great emotional range” in “7 Years,” from French helmer Jean-Pascal Hattu.

Jeff Nichols grabbed the New American Cinema Award for “Shotgun Stories,” which a separate jury called “a starkly powerful tale told with a distinctively American voice.” They also gave a special mention to Kirt Gunn’s “Lovely by Surprise,” noting its “strong performances, notably Reg Rogers, as well as its ambitious narrative and stylistic choices.”

Documentary gong went to “Out of Time,” helmed by Harald Friedl of Austria. Another jury lauded its view of “a group of old Viennese merchants, examining the passing of an era of craft and service, and opening up into a meditation on the universal question of the meaning of an individual life.” A special nod went to “Angels in the Dust,” about living with AIDS in Africa.

Grand-prize winner among short pics was “Wigald,” from Germany’s Timon Modersohn. The judges called it “a brilliant black comedy, capturing everything that is funny in suicide and divorce.” And they gave special mentions to “Look Sharp,” from Australia’s Amy Gebhardt, and “Pick Up,” helmed by Manuel Schapira, of France. Top animated short was “Everything Will Be OK,” from American Don Hertzfeldt, with an honorable mention for “The Girl Who Swallowed Bees,” by Aussie Paul McDermott.

Top short docu was Robin Blotnick’s “Chocolate Country,” a co-production of the Dominican Republic and the U.S. And honorable mention went to “Freeheld,” helmed by American Cynthia Wade.

One-off prizes included the Heineken Red Star Award, which went to “Fish Dreams,” by Brazil’s Kirill Mikhanovsky; the Women in Cinema Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision, given to a woman director getting the most public votes, was shared by Yanks Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern for “The Devil Came on Horseback.”

WaveMaker Awards for young picmakers went to Melinda Tenenzapf’s “Jewmaican” and “Laundry,” helmed by Darrow Settles, Allex Bullard and Hanna Overman.

The 33rd edition of the Seattle fest wrapped, after unspooling more than 400 features and shorts to record crowds, with the North American premiere of “Moliere,” with much of the Gallic cast in attendance.

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