The Los Angeles Film Festival came to a climax on Sunday with its juried and audience awards. Winning the Narrative Award was the film ALL IS WELL by Pocas Pascoal, about two women from Angola who fled to Lisbon to escape civil war. The prize includes a $15,000 cash award for the director. The top Documentary Award was presented to DROUGHT by Everardo Gonzalez, a blistering documentary about rancheros in northeast Mexico. The jury also gave an honorable mention to the Chilean road movie THURSDAY TIL SUNDAY by Dominga Sotomayor.
Sundance sensation BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Benh Zeitlin’s film about a six-year old girl from Louisiana searching for her mother opens in theaters June 27 via distributor Fox Searchlight. On the documentary side, Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore’s BIRTH STORY: INA MAY GASKIN AND THE FARM WIDEWIFE took home the Audience Award. The film chronicles Gaskin and the midwives of the farm commune, telling their story as well as their impact on modern midwifery. The top acting prize in the narrative category went to a quartet of actors from Joshua Sanchez’s FOUR. The jury praised the “pitch perfect collaborative energy” between newbies Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, E.J. Bonilla and Aja Naomi King. Sundance hit SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, a Swedish production by Malik Bendjelloul took home the International Feature Award. The film, which opens theatrically this summer, is about a pair of fans exploring the history of an American singer/songwriter named Rodriguez, a lost 1970s rock icon who mysteriously disappeared at the height of his popularity. For more information on these and other LAFF films, visit: www.losangelesfilmfestival.com