Israeli pic “God’s Sandbox,” directed by Doran Eran from a script by Yoav Halevy and Hanita Halevy, nabbed best film, screenplay and director honors at the inaugural Manchester (Vermont) Film Festival, which ended June 30.
Other winners of the fest’s Battenkill Awards were Huan Lian for his cinematography in Chinese pic “Dazzling.” Short kudos went to Spanish helmer Luis Prieto’s “Bamboleho” while “The Settlement,” from Russian director Sergei Loznitsa, took the docu prize.
Burt Reynolds was on hand to receive the Deane F. Johnson Legend in Film Award.
Gerald M. Levin, retired CEO of AOL Time Warner, played an active role in the fest, showing up with his wife to screenings and events. He participated in the awards jury along with ICM agent Will Battersby, former USA Films chairman Scott Greenstein, “Enemy of the State” scribe David Marconi and Steven Nemeth.
“God’s Sandbox” centers on the tense relationship between an Israeli mother and her rebellious daughter.
Manchester, population 3,700, is nestled between the Green and Taconic mountain ranges. Fest drew a wide range of filmmakers and participants from around the country. Its parties, held at local estates, were subdued affairs.
“Tadpole” helmer Gary Winick presented his pic and participated in a panel on low-budget production. DreamWorks offered up a print of “Road to Perdition” at the last minute, drawing an enthusiastic crowd. Producer Heather Rae moderated a lively panel on Native American storytelling, which featured panelists Drew Hayden Taylor and Randy Redroad, among others.
The MFF advisory board included Winick, Steven Bach, Eleanor Bergstein, Jack Foley, Monte Hellman, Ismail Merchant, William H. Macy, Fisher Stevens and Rebecca Pidgeon.