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Kate Nowlin’s ‘Blood Stripe’ Wins U.S. Fiction Award at LA Film Festival

Kate Nowlin’s thriller “Blood Stripe,” directed by Remy Auberjonois, has won the U.S. Fiction Award at the LA Film Festival.

The movie, which marks Auberjonois’ feature debut, centers on a Marine sergeant returning home to find herself hemorrhaging anxiety and paranoia from unseen wounds. Auberjonois directed from a script he co-wrote with Nowlin.

Producers are Schuyler Weiss, Julie Christeas, Auberjonois and Nowlin. Tom Lipinski, Chris Sullivan, Rusty Schwimmer and Auberjonois’ father Rene also star.

The nine-day festival, now in its 22nd year, closes Thursday night with a screening of “Desierto,” starring Gael Garcia Bernal. “Lowriders” was the opening night film.

The U.S. Fiction Jury also awarded a special mention for comedy for “Chee and T,” directed by Tanuj Chopra; and a special mention for visual accomplishment for Amber Tamblyn’s drama “Paint it Black.” Tamblyn co-wrote the script with Ed Dougherty and produced with Wren Arthur, Amy Hobby and Anne Hubbell.

The “Paint It Black” cast includes Janet McTeer, Alia Shawkat, Alfred Molina, Emily Rios and Rhys Wakefield in a story of a woman unable to process the death of her true love.

The fest’s World Fiction Award went to “HEIS (chronicles),” directed by Anaïs Volpé of France in a story of a millennial artist who returns to her mother’s home in Paris, only to have her personal ambitions confronted by her family’s expectations.

The World Fiction Jury awarded a special mention to “Lupe Under the Sun,” directed by Rodrigo Reyes in the story of a man who discovers he’s about to die after a lifetime working in the California fields and tries to return to Mexico to make amends.

The Documentary Award went to “Political Animals,” directed by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares. The film focuses on the first openly gay California State Representatives — Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe and Carole Migden — introducing the legislation that fundamentally changed the landscape of LGBT rights.

“Political Animals” also won the Audience Award for top documentary.

The LA Muse Award was given to “Namour,” directed by Heidi Saman and starring Karim Saleh, Waleed Zuaiter, Mona Hala and Nicole Haddad. The story centers on a twenty-something Egyptian-American valet driver who must come to grips with his dead-end job, disintegrating family and disappearing relationships.

The LA Muse Jury awarded a special mention to “No Light and No Land Anywhere,” directed by Amber Sealey about a woman who leaves her life and husband in London to come to Los Angeles in pursuit of the father who abandoned her when she was three.

The festival’s Nightfall Award went to “Beyond The Gates,” directed by Jackson Stewart about two estranged brothers who dig through their missing father’s video store, discovering a VCR board game that holds a connection to their father’s disappearance and deadly consequences for anyone who plays it.

Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film went to Ryon Baxter’s “Green / Is / Gold,” starring Jimmy Baxter, Ryon Baxter, David Fine, Liz Clare and Shelley Mitchell. The story centers on a wayward tween who has nowhere to live except with his high school dropout brother, who is building — at all costs — a marijuana business.

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