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SXSW Winners: '45365,' 'That Evening Sun'

Jury members for the SXSW film festival handed out awards to a number of small, below-the-radar movies during Tuesday night's awards ceremony at the Austin Convention Center. With 133 features and 127 shorts, the program offered plenty of options. However, the only movie that landed a major award after a week of strong word of […]

Jury members for the SXSW film festival handed out awards to a number of small, below-the-radar movies during Tuesday night's awards ceremony at the Austin Convention Center. With 133 features and 127 shorts, the program offered plenty of options.

However, the only movie that landed a major award after a week of strong word of mouth around the festival was a documentary, and even then the buzz remained within a somewhat limited crowd. "45365," Bill and Turner Ross's exploration of "the congruities of daily life" in Sidney, Ohio, won the jury award for best documentary.

An honorable mention went to "The Way We Get By," a bittersweet look at senior citizens dedicated to greeting U.S. troops in Maine. Judi Krant's "Made in China," about a struggling inventor in the Far East, won best narrative feature, while Scott Teems' "That Evening Sun" won a Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast, given its sensational performances by Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter.

Although "That Evening Sun" entered the festival with little exposure, audiences at last night's screening were extremely enthusiastic about the movie, with some comparing Holbrook's performance to Clint Eastwood's hardened image in "Gran Torino." No surprise, then, that Teems's feature won the audience award for best narrative feature. The documentary audience award went to "Mine," a look at pets rescued from Hurricane Katrina. Another documentary, "Motherland," nabbed the audience award for the Emerging Visions section.

With no distribution deals in place for the winning features, the list of winners suggests a desire on behalf of the jurors to advocate movies in need of further exposure. While an award at SXSW doesn't parallel, say, the Palme d'Or, it can work wonders for a filmmaker's sense of self-esteem. As Teems put it when accepting his award for "That Evening Sun," "It's always a thrill when an audience member sees your movie."

Now he just has to keep working on finding ways for them to see it.

For the 2009 SXSW Film Festival, 133 feature-length films were selected, including 57 world premieres, from 1,511 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,220 U.S. and 291 international films.  The awards were hosted by Film in North Carolina, a partnership between the Creative Commerce Commission of Asheville, N.C, the North Carolina Film Office and the Piedmont Triad Film Commission.

The full list of winners:

Feature Jury Awards
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: "45365"
Director: Bill Ross
Honorable Mention: "The Way We Get By"
Director: Aron Gaudet

NARRATIVE FEATURE
Winner: "Made in China"
Director: Judi Krant
Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast: "That Evening Sun"
Director: Scott Teems

Audience Awards
EMERGING VISIONS
Winner: "Motherland"
Director: Jennifer Steinman

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: "MINE"
Director: Geralyn Pezanoski

NARRATIVE FEATURE
Winner: "That Evening Sun"
Director: Scott Teems

Special Jury Awards
SXSW & AIGA AUSTIN MOVIE POSTER AWARD
Best in Show: "The Dungeon Masters"
Director: Keven Macalester
Designer: David Plunkert, Spur Design, LLC

SXSW/CHICKEN & EGG EMERGENT WOMAN AWARD
Winner: "Made in China"
Director: Judi Krant

SXSW WHOLPHIN SHORT FILM AWARD
Winner: "Sister Wife"
Director: Jill Orschel

Shorts Jury Awards
REEL SHORTS
Winner: "Thompson"
Director: Jason Tippet
Special Jury Award: "Happy 95 Birthday Grandpa"
Director: Gary Huggins

ANIMATED SHORTS
Winner: "Shaman"
Director: Luc Perez
Special Jury Award: "Sweet Dreams"
Director: Kirsten Lepore

EXPERIMENTAL SHORTS
Winner: "Cattle Call"
Director: Matthew Rankin & Mike Maryniuk
Special Jury Award: "The Idiot Stinks:
Director: Helder Sun

MUSIC VIDEOS
Winner: Thunderheist, “Jerk It”
Director: That Go-Noel Paul & Stefan Moore
Special Jury Award: Fleet Foxes, “White Winter Hymnal”
Director: Sean Pecknold
Jury Special Mention: New Pornographers, “Myriad Harbor”
Director: Fluorescent Hill

Special Jury Award – TIE
"Fresh Fruit"
Director: Edward Kelley & Brenden Cicoria
"A Hospital Bathroom"
Director: Miguel Johnson