‘Wah Do Dem,’ ‘Remain’ Win Top Prizes at Los Angeles Film Festival

“The Stoning of Soraya M.” takes home audience award.

The Los Angeles Film Festival official press release below:


LOS ANGELES (June 28, 2009) — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced its 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival award winners at a special event, presented by Target.  The Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by The Los Angeles Times, ran from Thursday, June 18 to Sunday, June 28. 


“One of our goals at Film Independent is to help filmmakers build an audience for their work, and the Los Angeles Film Festival does just that,” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson.  “We hope recognition at the Festival will allow these filmmakers to continue to find broad audiences for their terrific films.”


The two top juried awards of the Los Angeles Film Festival are the Target Filmmaker Award and Target Documentary Award, each carrying an unrestricted $50,000 cash prize for the winning film’s director.  The awards were established by the Festival and Target to encourage independent filmmakers to pursue their artistic ambitions.


“Target has been a major supporter of the Festival since 2001, and their partnership has allowed us to expand dramatically in that time,” said Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham.  “Their specific dedication to individual artists is extraordinary.”


The Target Filmmaker Award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition at the Festival and went to Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace for Wah Do Dem (What They Do).


The Target Documentary Award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition at the Festival and went to Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman for Those Who Remain (Los Que se Quedan).


New this year, the Festival and Target established the Target Dream in Color Award to recognize a short film in the Festival’s Future Filmmaker Showcase for high school students that inspires audiences to dream without boundaries and share culture in a unique and positive way. The prize includes a Target Gift card for the winning director and a desktop editing system for the winner’s school media arts program. The Target Dream in Color Award was presented by Elizabeth Pena and given to Sam Rubin for Lipstick.


The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to The Stoning of Soraya M., directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to Soul Powerdirected by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte.  Eva Norvind’s Born Without (Nacido Sin)won the Audience Award for Best International Feature. 


The award for Outstanding Performance in the Narrative Competition went to Shayne Topp for his performance in Suzi Yoonessi’s Dear Lemon LimaGiven to an actor or actors from an official selection in the Narrative Competition, this is the sixth year the award has been given at the Festival. 


The award for Best Narrative Short Film went to Antonio Mendez Esparza’sTime and Again.  The award for Best Documentary Short Film went to Anna Gaskell’s ReplaygroundJérémy Clapin’s Skhizein won the award for Best Animated Short Film.


The Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Instead of Abracadabra,directed by Patrick EklundGrapevine Fires, directed by Walter Robot won the Audience Award for Best Music Video for Death Cab for Cutie.


The Narrative Feature Competition jury was comprised of producer Albert Berger, actress Rosemarie DeWitt, and film critic Elvis Mitchell. The Documentary Feature Competition jury was comprised of film critic David Ansen, writer-director Anna Boden, and director Darius Marder. The Shorts Competition jury was comprised of art director KK Barrett, producer Tracey Bing, and digital media artist and filmmaker Alex Rivera. The Target Dream in Color jury was comprised of director Patricia Cardoso, the writing and directing team Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, and director Mark Osborne.