‘Starbuck’ Wins Top Palm Springs Fest Award

Comedy about a sperm donor sued by hundreds of his children takes top audience award at film festival

The Canadian comedy "Starbuck," about a class-action lawsuit against a prolific sperm donor by 142 of the children he fathered, has won the Palm Springs International Film Festival's audience award for the festival's best narrative feature, PSIFF announced at an awards luncheon on Sunday.

StarbuckThe documentaries "The Girls in the Band," about female jazz musicians, and "Wish Me Away," about country singer Chely Wright's decision to come out as a lesbian, tied for the audience award for documentary.

The films were chosen from the Palm Springs lineup of 188 films from 73 countries. The festival presented 40 of the 63 entries in this year's Best Foreign-Language Film race at the Oscars, and a number of those films figured into the jury prizes that were given out at the luncheon as well.

All three of the awards given by the FIPRESCI juries, which are made up of international film critics, went to Oscar entries. Bela Tarr's "The Turin Horse," Hungary's entry, won the FIPRESCI Award for best feature; Matthias Schoenaerts, the star of the Belgian entry "Bullhead," was named best actor; and the female ensemble cast of "A Separation" shared the award for Best Actress.

Italy's entry, "Terraferma," won the HP Bridging the Borders Award, which goes to a film"that promotes bringing the people of our world closer together."

Other awards went to the documentary "The Tiniest Place" and the Slovakian film "The House."

The winners:

Mercedes-Benz Audience Award Best Narrative Feature: "Starbuck," directed by Ken Scott
   Runner-up: "Come As You Are," directed by Geoffrey Enthoven
Audience Award Best Documentary Feature: "The Girls in the Band," directed by Judy Chaikin, and "Wish Me Away," directed by Bobbi Birleffi and Beverly Knopf

FIPRESCI Award: "The Turin Horse," directed by Bela Tarr
FIPRESCI Award for Best Actor: Matthias Schoenaerts, "Bullhead"
FIPRESCI Award for Best Actress: Leila Hatami, Sarch Bayat and Sarina Farhadi, "A Separation"

New Voices/New Visions Award: "The House," directed by Zuzana Liova
John Schlesinger Award: "The Tiniest Place," directed by Tatiana Huezo Sanchez
HP Bridging the Borders Award: "Terraferma," directed by Emanuele Crialese
   Runner-up: "Le Havre," directed by Aki Kaurismaki