Seattle goes for ‘Coffee’

Fest also honors 'On the Ice,' 'Gandu'

Docu “Hot Coffee,” Alaska-set drama “On the Ice” and Indian pic “Gandu” were among juried prizewinners at the 37th Seattle Film Festival, which wrapped on Sunday.

The 25-day fest is the largest in the U.S., with an audience of 155,000.

“Hot Coffee,” directed by Susan Saladoff, tells the story of the famous McDonald’s coffee lawsuit and its effect on the legal system. Kaushik Mukherjee (also known as Q) won the New Director prize for his provocative “Gandu,” shot in black and white. Docu and director winners each receive a $2,500 prize.

Helmed by Alaskan Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, “On the Ice” won the Fipresci film critics’ prize for best new American film.

The audience prizes, voted on by more than 80,000 attendees, went to Emilio Aragon’s “Paper Birds” for best film; “To Be Heard,” directed by Roland Legiardi-Laura, Amy Sultan, Deborah Shaffer and Edwin Martinez, won for docu; Larysa Kondracki won director honors for “The Whistleblower”; Bill Skarsgard nabbed best actor for “Simple Simon” and Natasha Petrovic took best actress for “As If I Am Not There.”

During the fest, Ewan McGregor received a Golden Space Needle career tribute, including a screening of his recent pic “Beginners.” Fest screened more than 450 films including 96 premieres from more than 70 countries.

“I’m gratified that Seattle audiences continue to embrace the festival’s wide-ranging selection of films from around the world, proving that Seattle filmgoers see more films per capita than any other city in the nation,” said fest’s artistic director Carl Spence. “For the second year in a row, we have surpassed $1 million in ticket sales, making this another record-setting year.”

Juried short film prizes went to “Time Freak,” “Library of Dust” and “The Eagleman Stag,” while audience short awards went to “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”

Fest plans to debut the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center in September.

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