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‘Found’ wins big at Palm Springs

Hunt nabs Mercedes-Benz Audience Award

PALM SPRINGS — The Palm Springs Film Festival wrapped Sunday, with award winners announced at a Sunday brunch. Festival director Darryl Macdonald said the 19th edition was the biggest ever, bringing in more than a million dollars via last week’s awards gala as well as more than a million dollars in ticket sales.

Festival opener “Then She Found Me,” directed by and starring Helen Hunt, won the audience award for narrative feature. Docu audience award went to “Autism: The Musical,” directed by Tricia Regan.

Croatian Oscar submission “Armin” won the Fipresci award, given by a jury of international film critics. The Fipresci actor award went to Song Gang-ho for “Secret Sunshine” from South Korea, with the actress award going to Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu for “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.”

A international jury chose Germany’s “Hounds” for the New Voices/New Visions award for first or second international films. Israel’s Nadav Schirman received the John Schlesinger Award for first feature for “The Champagne Spy.” Other awards included the Heineken Red Star Award to increase exposure for original films, awarded to Nic Balthazar for “Ben X,” and the Bridging the Borders award to “The Band’s Visit,” directed by Eran Kolirin.

Fest screened 212 films from 66 countries, including 55 of the 63 foreign Oscar entries. The event has proved wildly popular among retiree film buffs all over the country. Many screenings were sold out well ahead of time, and police were reportedly summoned to quell a tiff over reserved seats at a 9 a.m. screening of a French thriller.

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