Santa Barbara festival announces winners

'Exam' wins Panavision award; 'Jaakov' nabs foreign honor

SANTA BARBARA–The Santa Barbara International Film Festival celebrated the wrap of its 25th edition today with high attendance figures, an impressive lineup of awards-season in-person guests and the announcement of awards in various categories.

Winner of the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema was Stuart Hazeldine’s “Exam,” a thriller about candidates competing for positions at a mysterious corporation. The prize, given to a U.S. film made outside of the Hollywood industry, consists of a $60,000 camera package.

Award for best international film went to Klaus Haro’s “Letters to Father Jaakov” (Postia pappi Jaakobille) from Finland, about a female prisoner who, upon her pardon, goes to work for an old priest.

The Nueva Vision Award, given to a Spanish/Latin American film, was Ciro Guerra’s “The Wind Journeys” from Colombia. Joon-ho Bong’s “Mother” (Madeo) from South Korea copped the Best East Meets West Cinema Award, while Peter Strickland’s “Katalin Varga,” a Romanian/U.K. co-production, took the Best Eastern Bloc Award.

Nod for best documentary went to Rob Lemkin’s “Enemies of the People,” a U.K./Cambodian co-venture about unresolved issues surrounding the Khmer Rouge killings of the ’70s, which also won the Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Awards.

Eric D. Howell’s “Ana’s Playground” took the Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film (under 30 minutes), while Moritz Mayerhofer’s “Urs” was named best animated short.

Serving on the jury were Joel David Moore, Phyllis de Picciotto, Haaz Sleiman, Claudia Puig, Andy Abrahams Wilson, Clifton Collins Jr., Anthony Zerbe, Dennis Franz, Jay Thomas and Perry Lang.