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‘Way of Life’ takes Miami honors

Assante's pic earns top accolades at festival

MIAMI — Amma Assante’s “A Way of Life,” about the gritty lives of working-class people in Wales, took dramatic feature kudos in the World Cinema competitive section as well as the Fipresci award at the 22nd annual Miami Film Festival.

The World Cinema section featured 13 films, limited to frosh and soph helmers. Its jury — producer Ted Hope, author Russell Banks and actor Rosie Perez — gave a special breakthrough award to actor Abbie Cornish and helmer Cate Shortland for the Aussie pic “Somersault.”

In Ibero-American Cinema competition, also limited to first- and second-time helmers, another 13 films were screened. That jury, comprising writer-producer-director Bob Rafelson; director and producer Sara Driver; and Jose Maria Prado, who heads Spain’s film library, presented its feature nod to Josue Mendez’s “Dias de Santiago” (Days of Santiago), about a Peruvian navy commando trying to adjust to civilian life in the slums of Lima. Mirella Pascual drew the actress nod for her turn in Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s drama “Whisky.” Damian Alcazar took actor kudos for Sebastian Cordero’s political thriller “Cronicas.”

In the competitive documentary section, composed of 15 feature-length pics, Scott Dalton and Margarita’s “La Sierra,” about rival factions in a violent district of Medellin, took the docu nod. The jury also awarded special prizes to Keith Beauchamp’s “The Untold Story of Emmet Louis Till” for raising social awareness and to Marcos Prado’s “Estamira” (brazil), about a 63-year old schizophrenic, for cinematography.

Attendance figures were not yet available for the fest, which was screening films through Sunday night.

In total, 87 features and full-length docus unspooled from Feb. 4-13, plus 26 shorts, making this year’s program the biggest in Miami’s history. The 2005 edition marked fest director Nicole Guillemet’s third year at the helm.

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