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South By Southwest

Film prizes go to eclectic set

'Made in China' wins two awards; a study of middle American life is

March 18, 2009|Susan King

Award winners for the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival were announced Tuesday evening at the Austin, Texas, fest's closing ceremonies. The prizes were divided into jury awards and audience awards.

Judi Krant's "Made in China," about an inventor lost in Shanghai, won the jury award for best narrative feature and also took home the SXSW / Chicken & Egg Emergent Woman Award.

Bill Ross' examination of daily life in middle America, "45365," received the documentary feature award with an honorary mention going to "The Way We Get By," Aron Gaudet's look at a group of senior citizens whose lives were changed by greeting U.S. troops at airports.

The ensemble cast prize went to "That Evening Sun," director Scott Teems' look at a ruthless grudge match between old foes starring Hal Holbrook. The film also received the audience award for best narrative feature.

Jennifer Steinman's "Motherland" received the Emerging Visions audience award. The film chronicles the journey to Africa taken by six grieving mothers in search of healing.

Geralyn Pezanoski's examination of race, class and animal welfare in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in "Mine" earned the audience prize for documentary feature.

Festival producer Janet Pierson said reaction to this year's event was something to be proud of. "Audiences, industry and press are all saying this is their favorite batch of movies in years," Pierson said in a press release. The creative interchange, she added, "is not just rhetoric. Here at SXSW, it's at the heart" of the festival.

Special jury prizes were also awarded Tuesday night. "Sister Wife," an exploration of the challenges of a Mormon fundamentalist, earned the SXSW Wholpin Short Film Award.

Winners of the shorts jury awards include "Thompson" in the Reel Shorts category and "Shaman" for animated short film. "Sweet Dreams" was the recipient of the special jury award in animation.

The Experimental Shorts winner was "Cattle Call"; "The Idiot Stinks," about angst, media and martians, earned the special jury award.

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susan.king@latimes.com

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