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S.B. Fest concludes with awards

'Post Mortem' takes Indie Voice, IFilm's Artistic Merit awards

The Santa Barbara Film Festival concluded its 15th edition Sunday with the presentation of awards to an array of pictures.

The Independent Voice Award, created to honor a North American feature with no U.S. distributor, was given to Louis Belanger’s “Post Mortem,” a Canadian drama. Pic also won the new IFILM.com special jury prize for Artistic Merit, a $4,000 cash award. The World Prism award for a foreign feature went to Jean-Pierre Ameris’ “Mauvaises Frequentations” (Bad Company) from France.

The Body Shop’s Burning Vision award, a $5,000 cash prize that goes to “an emerging filmmaker” of a North American feature with no domestic distributor, was presented to Amy Goldstein for her improvisational drama “East of A.” The Burning Vision jury “special mention” was awarded to Matthew Miele’s comedy-drama “Everything’s Jake.”

The Body Shop’s new Phoenix Prize for best film from any source that salutes the “outsider” spirit went to Argentinian Marco Bechis’ “Garage Olimpo.” The award comes with a $3,000 check.

The Body Shop’s Insight award for best feature docu, which includes a $2,000 cash prize, was given to James Ronald Whitney’s “Just, Melvin.”

The Santa Barbara Independent Audience Award, chosen by popular ballot, was voted to Regis Wargnier’s “East/West” from France, while the Luima Award for best cinematography was presented to Spanish lenser Javier Aguirresarobe for “The Girl of Your Dreams.”

The new Fund for Santa Barbara’s Human Rights award, which includes a $1,500 cash prize, was given to Kevin McKiernan’s docu “Good Kurds, Bad Kurds,” while the Special Jury Mention for short docu went to Michael Cicero’s “Shroud of Silence.”

Fredrick Roullier-Gall’s “Echo” from Belgium won the Bruce C. Corwin Award for best short, and Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis’ “When the Day Breaks” received the best animated short award. Jeff Jackson’s “Bad Company” took first place in the Peter Stark screenwriting competition. Valerie Red-Horse’s “Lozen” placed second.

Total fest attendance was put at 38,000. Among the world premieres that attracted critical attention were Roger Spottiswoode’s Showtime feature “Noriega; God’s Favorite,” with an acclaimed lead performance by Bob Hoskins, and Alex Nohe’s eye-popping documentary about an annual counter-culture phenomenon, “Burning Man; Burning Sensation.”

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