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Tribeca Prizes Go to ‘The Rocket,’ ‘The Kill Team’

Wars in Laos and Afghanistan serve as backdrop to the top narrative and documentary films at the Tribeca Film Festival

The narrative feature “The Rocket” and the documentary “The Kill Team” won the top awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, which handed out prizes on Thursday evening in a ceremony in New York City.

Other films that were honored by the Tribeca juries include “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” “Before Snowfall” and “Let the Fire Burn.”

In awards handed out on Wednesday and earlier on Thursday, Meera Menon won the first Nora Ephron Prize and the films “The Lobbyists” and “(T)ERROR” won Tribeca All Access Creative Promise awards.

In the Thursday night ceremony at the Conrad New York, “The Rocket” won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, which was chosen by a jury consisting of Bryce Dallas-Howard, Blythe Danner, Paul Haggis, Kenneth Longergan and Jessica Winter. Set in Laos, the feature from Australian director Kim Mordaunt follows a 10-year-old boy as he struggles to escape his country’s legacy of war; its young non-professional actor Sitthiphon Disamoe was named the festival’s best actor.

Other narrative winners included actress Veerle Baetens from “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” a Dutch drama set in the world of bluegrass music; and “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors,” Sam Fleischner’s look at an autistic teen in Queens in the days before Hurricane Sandy.

Dan KraussA documentary jury consisting of Joe Berlinger, Sandi DuBowski, Whoopi Goldberg, Mira Sorvino and Evan Rachel Wood named Dan Krauss’ “The Kill Team” (right), about a group of young American soldiers accused of war crimes, the festival’s best doc.

Separate juries chose Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and Sean Dunne as best new directors for Hoss-Desmarais’ narrative film “Whitewash” and Dunne’s documentary “Oxyana.”

Short film awards went to Edoardo Ponti’s “The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars” and Bess Kargman’s “Coach,” while the new Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia went to the Hurricane Sandy project “Sandy Storyline.”

A few hours before the awards ceremony, the first Nora Ephron Prize was given to Meera Menon for her film “Farah Goes Bang.” The first-time writer-director received a $25,000 cash prize for her film about a young woman in her 20s who goes on the road with the John Kerry presidential campaign in 2004, hoping to lose her virginity along the way.

The award was given to Menon at the annual Women’s Filmmaker Brunch, which was attended by a number of TFF’s female directors, as well as festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal, Delia Ephron, Anna Wintour, Glenn Close, Bryce Dallas Howard, Lily Tomlin, Mira Sorvino and Christine Vachon.

And on Wednesday night, the Tribeca All Access (TAA) Creative Promise Awards were given out at a ceremony sponsored by Time Warner Foundation. The awards were selected by a narrative jury consisting of Ruben Blades, John Forte and Tea Leoni, and a documentary jury made up of Shola Lynch, Sol Guy and Rachel Dratch.

The Narrative Award winner was “The Lobbyists,” the story of a conman and a former CIA agent who blackmail politicians, directed by Terence Nance; the doc award went to Lyric R. Cabral’s and David F. Sutcliffe’s “(T)ERROR,” about an FBI counterterrorism operation gone awry.

TAA grants also went to 10 other films.

The awards:

World Narrative Competition Categories
Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
: “The Rocket,” Kim Mordaunt
   Special Jury Mention: “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors,” Sam Fleischner
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film: Sitthiphon Disamone, “The Rocket”
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film: Veerle Baetens, “The Broken Circle Breakdown”
Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature Film: Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen, “Before Snowfall”
Best Screenplay for a Narrative Feature Film: “The Broken Circle Breakdown”

Best New Narrative Director: Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, “Whitewash”
    Special Jury Mention: Emir Baigazin, “Harmony Lessons”

World Documentary Competition Categories
Best Documentary Feature: “The Kill Team,” Dan Krauss
    Special Jury Mention: “Oxyana,” Sean Dunne
Best Editing in a Documentary Feature: Nels Bangerter, “Let the Fire Burn”

Best New Documentary Director: Sean Dunne, “Oxyana”
    Special Jury Mention: Jason Osder, “Let the Fire Burn”

Short Film Competition Categories
Best Narrative Short: “The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars,” Edoardo Ponti
    Special Jury Mention: “Yardbird,” Michael Spiccia
Best Documentary Short: “Coach,” Bess Kargman
    Special Jury Mention: “Royal American,” Michael Scalisi
Student Visionary Award: “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,” Stephen Dunn
   Special Jury Mention: “Reporting on the Times: The New York Times and the Holocaust,” Emily Harrold

Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia: “Sandy Storyline,” Rachel Falcone, Laura Gottesdiener and Michael Premo

Tribeca Online Festival Categories
Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film
: “Lil Bub & Friendz,” Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner
Tribeca Online Festival Best Short Film: “A Film About Guns,” Minos Papas

Nora Ephron Prize: Meera Menon, “Farah Goes Bang”

Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards
Narrative Award
: “The Lobbyists,” Terence Nance
Documentary Award: “(T)ERROR,” Lyric R. Cabral and David F. Sutcliffe
Special Jury Mention: “Time Is illmatic,” One9

TAA Alumni Documentary Grants: “Turn It Around,” Dawn Valdez; “Untitled Colorado Documentary,” Eric Juhola
TAA Alumni Feature Narrative Awards: “A Pebble of Love in the Shoe of My Life,” Hossein Keshavarz; “Untitled Colombia Project,” Paola Mendoza
TAA On-Track Grants: “Evolution of a Criminal,” Darius Clark Monroe; “Los Valientes,” Aurora Guerrero
TAA Adrienne Shelly Foundation Filmmaker Grant: Afia Nathaniel, “Dukhtar”
TAA Marketing & Web Fellowship: “Oscar’s Comeback,” Lisa Collins and Mark Schwartzburt
TAA Packaging the Pitch Grants: “The Odyssey of Al Sharpton,” Yoruba Richen; “Hound Dog,” Crayton Robey