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‘Natural Selection’ tops SXSW Awards

Pic nabs grand jury, audience awards for narrative feature

Natural Selection,” helmer Robbie Pickering’s feature bow, nabbed the South by Southwest film festival’s grand jury and audience awards for narrative feature at Tuesday night’s award ceremony in Austin, Texas, where prizes in 27 categories were handed out.

Natural Selection,” a dramedy in which a childless Christian housewife tracks down the illegitimate son of her dying husband, attracted intense buyer interest after its Sunday world preem and looks likely to land with a specialty distrib soon. Acquisition action has heavier than in previous years, with fest buys including IFC Midnight picking up Brit horror title “Kill List” and the Weinstein Co. buying football docu “Undefeated.” Buyers continue to circle buzzed-about titles including “Weekend” and “Fightville.”

Natural Selection” also lassoed jury awards for Pickering’s screenplay, editing (Michelle Tesoro), music (iZLER, Curt Schneider) and breakthrough perfs from Groundlings alumna Rachael Harris (“The Hangover”) and Matt O’Leary (“Live Free or Die Hard”).

The narrative feature jury — including Roger Ebert, Logan Hill and Michelle Satter — also gave prizes to Evan Ross’ breakthrough perf in “96 Minutes” and Elliot Davis’ cinematography in “A Year in Mooring.”

In the juried docu feature competition, Tristan Patterson’s directing bow “Dragonslayer,” about skateboarding kids in the California suburbs, won the grand jury and cinematography (Eric Koretz) prizes, while “Where Soldiers Come From” won for editing (Kyle Henry, Heather Courtney) and “The City Dark” for music (The Fishermen Three, Ben Fries).

In addition to “Natural Selection,” auds awards were given to Vikram Gandhi’s “Kumare” (doc feature), Jeff Myer’s “Becoming Santa” (Spotlight Premieres) and Andrew Haigh’s “Weekend” (Emerging Visions).

Audience awards for the 24 Beats Per Second (music), Lone Star States and Midnighter sections will be announced Saturday.

Feature Film Jury Awards

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Grand Jury Winner: Dragonslayer
Director Tristan Patterson

Best Editing: Where Soldiers Come From
Editors Kyle Henry & Heather Courtney

Best Cinematography: Dragonslayer
DOP Eric Koretz

Best Score/Music: The City Dark
Music by The Fishermen Three, Ben Fries

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Grand Jury Winner: Natural Selection
Director Robbie Pickering

Breakthrough Performances:
Evan Ross96 Minutes
Rachael Harris – Natural Selection
Matt O’Leary – Natural Selection

Best Screenplay: Natural Selection
Writer Robbie Pickering

Best Editing: Natural Selection
Editor:Michelle Tesoro

Best Cinematography: A Year in Mooring
DOP Elliot Davis

Best Score/Music: Natural Selection
Music by iZLER, Curt Schneider

Feature Film Audience Awards

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: Kumaré (Director Vikram Gandhi)

NARRATIVE FEATURE
Winner: Natural Selection (Director: Robbie Pickering)

SPOTLIGHT PREMIERES
Winner: Becoming Santa (Director: Jeff Myers)

EMERGING VISIONS
Winner: Weekend (Director: Andrew Haigh)

Short Film Jury Awards

NARRATIVE SHORTS
Winner: Pioneer (Director David Lowery)

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Winner: Mothersbane (Director Jason Jakaitis)

ANIMATED SHORTSWinner: THE WONDER HOSPITAL (Director Beomsik Shimbe Shim)

MUSIC VIDEOS
Winner: Hollerado, “Americanarama” (Director Greg Jardin)

TEXAS SHORTS
Winner: 8 (Director Julie Gould & Daniel Laabs)

TIME WARNER CABLE & OVATION YOUNG FILMMAKER SCHOLARSHIP for TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS
Winner: ( __ )
Director: Chad Werner

SXSW Film Design Awards

EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN
Winner: Silver Bullets
Designer: Yann Legendre

Audience Award Winner: Green
Designer: Adrian Kolarczyk

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN
Winner: Blue Valentine
Designer: Jim Helton

Audience Award Winner: Blue Valentine
Designer: Jim Helton

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW WHOLPHIN AWARD
Winner: The Eagleman Stag
Director: Mikey Please

SXSW CHICKEN & EGG EMERGENT NARRATIVE WOMAN DIRECTOR AWARD
Winner: Sophia Takal for Green

LOUIS BLACK / LONE STAR AWARD
Winner: INCENDIARY: The Willingham Case
Directors: Steve Mims & Joe Bailey, Jr.

KAREN SCHMEER FILM EDITING FELLOWSHIP

Presented to: Erin Casper

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