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‘Sisters’ charms Newport

'Coney's' Hobby nabs new director award

Peter Mullan’s “The Magdalene Sisters” walked off with top honors at the sixth annual Newport Film Festival.

Irish pic is based on the true story of four women rebelling against the convent to which they have been banished. Film, which also picked up prizes at Toronto and Venice, will be released by Miramax in August.

Director honors went to Amy Hobby for her love story, “Coney Island Baby.” Previously known as best feature director award, prize is now presented to first time directors. (Hobby also moonlights as a producer at Double A Films and produced “Secretary.”)

Finnish film “Cleaning Up” by Rostslav Aalto won the documentary first prize. Film chronicles the Eastern European tour of cult Finnish rock band of the same name. Jesse Moss’ “Speedo,” about demolition derbies, won the doc jury prize.

Other festival prizes were handed out to short films “Acordar,” “The Toll Collector” and “The Vest.” Audience awards went to feature “Valentin,” doc “Shelter Dogs” and short “Roof Sex.”

The Claiborne Pell Award for original vision went to Italian film “For One More Hour with You.” Pic, by Alina Marazzi, tells the story of her mother’s life through old films shot by her grandfather. Senator and Mrs. Pell were on hand to present the award.

Fest concluded Sunday. Next year’s event has been skedded for June 8- 13.

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