'Boy,' 'Bedevilled,' 'Littlerock,' 'Hamill' feted
“Boy,” “Bedevilled,” “Littlerock” and “Hamill” are the audience award winners at the AFI Fest as the weeklong event concludes.Festival presented 97 films — 66 features and 31 shorts — selected from 3,000 submissions with 31 countries represented. “Boy” won the World Cinema award for director-writer Taika Waititi. Story centers on an absent father returning home to a boy in 1980s New Zealand. Korean entry “Bedevilled” won the New Auteurs trophy for director Cheol-soo Jang and writer Choi Gwang-young. Script focuses on an island vacation turning deadly as a woman tries to help her abused childhood friend and her daughter escape. Mike Ott won the Young Americans kudo for “Littlerock,” centered on a Japanese student discovering a different America from her dreams when her car breaks down on a sightseeing tour of California. Oren Kaplan’s “Hamill” won the Breakthrough award (accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize). Story’s inspired by the life of deaf UFC fighter Matt Hamill and written by Joseph McKelheer and Eben Kostbar. Fest also announced two short film awards, noting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences recognizes each winner as a qualifier for the Oscars. The live action short film winner was Amy Grappell’s “Quadrangle,” a docu about two “conventional” couples who swapped partners and lived in a group marriage in the early ’70s. The animated short film was “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” voiced and written by “Saturday Night Live” alum Jenny Slate and directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp, who co-wrote.