The festival, which concludes today, as ever put the emphasis on screenwriters and emerging talents. Director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Sundance hit “Brittany Runs a Marathon” had a number of well-received screenings, as did Gavin Hood’s “Official Secrets.” Documentaries that played at the island getaway off the coast of Massachusetts included “It Started As a Joke,” “David Crosby: Remember My Name” and “We Are the Radical Monarchs.”
The festival’s annual screenwriter tributes went to female forces in the comedy realm. Leslie Dixon, the seasoned scribe behind “Mrs. Doubtfire” and the musical rendition of “Hairspray,” was recognized, as were five former and current women from the “Saturday Night Live” orbit: Jane Curtin, writer Anne Beatts, Heidi Gardner, Sudi Green and Sarah Schneider.
The audience award for narrative short films went to “Master Maggie,” about a strange acting student, from Matthew Bonifacio and Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio, and “Mack Wrestles,” from Erin Sanger and Taylor Hess,” a look at the life of a transgender wrestler.
Gillian Jacobs, star of NBC’s “Community” and Netflix’s “Love,” was on hand to screen “Curated,” the short she directed at as part of Refinery29’s Shatterbox shorts series to promote rising filmmaker stars. The psychological thriller featuring Danny Pudi revolves around a young couple’s visit to the home of the woman’s dead grandmother.
“I try to do things that scare me,” Jacobs said during her post-screening Q&A on Friday. “After working a lot in comedy for the last 10 years I enjoyed surprising people with the tone of this film.”
The festival also features three writing competitions. The Tony Cox Screenplay award for feature film went to Elizabeth Chatelain for “Sundogs,” about a woman who heads off to work in North Dakota’s oil fields after her family farm falls into debt. The award comes with a $5,000 cash prize. Kate Levitt won $1,000 for the Episodic 60 Minute Pilot Competition for “Living,” about an orthodox Jewish teenager who turns to drug dealing. Short screenplay nod and $500 went to Alexis Barzin for “I Know Your Number By Heart,” about a woman who loses hope.
The festival also presents the annual Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award, which comes with a a $5,000 grant to an emerging female filmmaker. This year’s recipient is Annabelle Attanasio, writer and director of the indie drama “Mickey and the Bear,” about a teenager forced to care for a father struggling with addiction and PTSD.
(Pictured: “The Peanut Butter Falcon”)