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‘Lightnin” strikes Dinard

Dominic Murphy's pic takes top prize

DINARD, France —  Dominic Murphy’s “White Lightnin’ ” took the top prize, the Golden Hitchcock, as well as the Kodak Prize for cinematography, as the 20th British Film Festival came to a close Sunday in Dinard, France.

Jamie Jay Johnson’s “Sounds Like Teen Spirit,” a documentary about young singers who hope to win the Junior Eurovision musical competition, took the Silver Hitchcock, voted on by local cinephiles.

The special jury-mention Heartbeat award went to Duncan Jones’ “Moon,” a sci-fi drama about corporate greed and human bioengineering gone awry on a lunar base. Shot for £2.9 million ($4.6 million) including special effects, “Moon” will screen in 40 theaters in France as part of the prize.

The Grand Marnier jury award for screenplay went to Henrique Goldman’s “Jean Charles,” about the real-life police killing of an innocent man in the U.K.

The jury hopes the top prize will help “White Lightnin’ ” gain wider distribution than it would otherwise receive as a low-budget indie film, according to French helmer and screenwriter Jean-Paul Rappeneau, who served as jury prexy. “At Dinard, we try to discover directors and help get their films in front of wide audiences in France and as well as in Europe.”

Producer Stephen Woolley, who produced “Sounds Like Teen Spirit,” agreed that the Dinard fest offered distribution opportunities for British films, but he said the French market remains tough.

“With the exception of Ken Loach, they have Hollywood films and their own films in France, but where do the British films fit in there?” Woolley said. “There are not a lot of British films that can fit into the schedule.”

However, Dinard still offers an opportunity for quality contacts with distributors in France and colleagues in a “laid-back” atmosphere, said director Christopher Smith, who helmed the thriller “Triangle.” “Dinard is not a meat market like Cannes, and in terms of French distribution opportunities and being able to look at France’s market, Dinard works,” Smith said.

Event closed with “From Time to Time,” helmed by Julian Fellowes, who introduced the film along with actor and Dinard jury member Hugh Bonneville.

The fest this year drew roughly 20,000 visitors, who often waited in more than hourlong lines at one of three theaters for unspoolings.

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