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Jim Cummings’ ‘Thunder Road’ Wins Deauville’s Grand Prize

Jim Cummings’s “Thunder Road” won the Grand Prize at the 44th edition of the Normandie-set Deauville American Film Festival.

“Thunder Road” follows a broken cop who comes to grips with a death of his mom when giving a heartfelt eulogy at her funeral. The movie previously won the Grand Jury Award at South by Southwest. Paname Distribution will release the movie in France. “Thunder Road” is an expanded version of Cummings’s 2016 short film by the same name, which had won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize.

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman described “Thunder Road” as an “uncanny tale of a Middle American cop who’s a funny, crazy, moving, indelibly authentic lost soul.”

Deauville festival’s jury, which was presided by French actress Sandrine Kiberlain, handed out two Jury Prizes, to Bart Layton’s heist drama “American Animals” and Jordana Spiro’s “Night Comes On.” Meanwhile, Marc Turtletaub’s “Puzzle” won the audience prize and Carlos Lopez Estrada’s “Blindspotting” took home the Critics’ Award.

“American Animals,” starring Blake Jenner and Barry Keoghan, follows four college students who attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history. The fact-based movie, which competed at Sundance, marks the first fiction feature directed by Layton, a British documentary helmer whose credits include “The Imposter” about the notorious French conman Frédéric Bourdin.

“Puzzle” is based on the 2010 Argentine film of the same name and follows a suburban wife and mother who discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles, which unexpectedly draws her into a new world. The movie world premiered at Sundance and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Bac Films will release it in France.

“Blindspotting” is set in Oakland and follows a black man who begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend. The movie also world premiered at Sundance and will be released by Metropolitan FilmExport in France.

Besides Kiberlain who presided, the jury comprised Sabine Azéma, Alex Beaupain, Leila Bekhti, Stephane Brizé, Sara Giraudeau, Xavier Legrand, Pierre Salvadori and Leila Slimani.

The awards ceremony was followed by the screening of Chris Weitz’s “Operation Finale” with the director and the film’s actors Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley in attendance. Weitz took the stage to introduce the movie and spoke about its contemporary resonnance. “The rise of nationalism and the dangers that we face today are threatening to undo everything that we’ve done,” said the helmer who was flanked by Isaac and Kingsley.

The highlight of the closing ceremony was the live concert of French classical violinist Renaud Capuçon who played abstracts from the original score of “The Schindler’s List” and “Le Mepris.”

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