'Beast,' 'Birth,' 'Sugar Man' earn aud awards

Pocas Pascoal’s “All Is Well” has won the narrative award at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where the Portuguese-language drama had staged its North American premiere.

Benh Zeitlin’s fantasy drama “Beasts of the Southern Wild” won the audience award for top feature, a month after taking the Camera d’Or at Cannes.

The awards were given out Sunday — final day of the 11-day fest, now in its 18th year — by Ari Graynor and Jon Heder at a brunch at Chaya Downtown. Fest was produced by Film Independent, which also produces the Spirit Awards.

The documentary jury award went to Everardo Gonzalez for “Drought,” set among Mexican cattle ranchers. “Drought” held its U.S. premiere at the fest.

“Searching for Sugar Man” won the audience award for international feature and the audience documentary award went to “Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives,” directed by Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore.

Honorable mention for best narrative feature was given to Dominga Sotomayor’s “Thursday Till Sunday.”

The award for best performance in the narrative competition went to Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, E.J. Bonilla and Aja Naomi King for their performances in Joshua Sanchez’s relationship drama “Four,” an adaptation of Christopher Shinn’s play.

“The Chair,” directed by Grainger David, won the best narrative short film trophy and the best documentary short film went to Josh Gibson for “Kudzu Vine.” Joseph Pierce’s “The Pub” won for best animated or experimental short film.

Audience award for short film went to “Asad,” directed by Bryan Buckley. “Piranhas Club,” directed by Lex Halaby won the audience award for music video.

The festival kicked off June 14 with the North American preem of “To Rome With Love” and ends tonight with the “Magic Mike” premiere.

Film fest director Stephanie Allain, who came on board in January as a replacement for Rebecca Yeldham, told Variety on Sunday that the fest has underlined the growing attributes of downtown L.A.

“We really feel like this had something for everyone and helps to build a community,” she said. “The area around L.A. Live has become our version of Times Sqaure.”

Fest screened more than 200 features, shorts and musicvideos, from more than 30 countries and sponsored three nights of performances at the Grammy Museum, a filmmaker retreat poolside chats and coffee talks featuring high-profile panelists such as Aaron Sorkin, “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan and cinematographer Wally Pfister and a celebration of women in animation.

Allain said next year’s fest will include a celebration of women in film editing.

Besides “All Is Well” and “Thursday Till Sunday,” the other films in narrative competition were “Breakfast With Curtis,” Laura Colella; “The Compass Is Carried by the Dead Man,” Arturo Pons; “Crazy and Thief,” Cory McAbee; “Dead Man’s Burden,” Jared Moshe; “Four,” Joshua Sanchez; “A Night Too Young,” Olmo Omerzu; “Pincus,” David Fenster; and “Red Flag,” Alex Karpovsky.

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