Seattle ‘Spies’ a winner

Top prize goes to Gallic espionage pic

SEATTLE — The French-made “OSS 117: Nest of Spies” sneaked off with the Golden Space Needle Award, the top audience prize at the Seattle Film Festival, during the annual awards brunch at the namesake landmark.

Other Space Needles presented on the fest’s final day Sunday included awards for documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” (with “Heart of the Game” a close second); director Goran Dukic, for “Wristcutters: A Love Story”; actor Ryan Gosling, for “Half Nelson”; actress Fiona Gordon, for Belgium’s “The Iceberg”; and young helmer Douglas Horn for short “Full Disclosure,” with Horn also nabbing some Kodak film and other tech goodies.

In the juried categories, “Live Free or Die” won the new American film prize. Co-helmer Gregg Kavet was on hand to receive the prize and $5,000 stipend, which he shares with Andy Robin, for their funky caper pic set in the wilds of New Hampshire.

New director nod went to South Korea’s Shin Doing-il, for “Host & Guest,” with special jury mentions made for Chinese helmer Zhang Lu, for “Grain in Ear,” and to Pakistani actor Ahmed Razvi, seen in the U.S.-Iranian “Man Push Cart.”

Docu prize went to “Gitmo: The New Rules of War,” from Swedish helmers Erik Gandini and Tarik Sale, with a jury aside to “Walking to Werner,” by Seattle’s Linas Phillips.

Top shorts were “Before Dawn” (narrative), “Ringo” (animated) and “Lot 63, Grave C” (docu), and a special Women in Cinema award went to Freida Lee Mock for her profile “Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner.”

Attendance and ticket sales were up more than 10% over last year, with more than 160,000 people on hand for the 25-day fest, which brought the curtain down Sunday night with Michel Gondry’s “The Science of Sleep.”

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