Eska, Venditti have indie spirit

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Chris Eska earned the Target Filmmaker Award for best narrative feature, and Jennifer Venditti took the prize for best documentary feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence event Thursday night.

Eska was honored for his film "August Evening," a character study about undocumented workers, while Venditti's docu "Billy the Kid" revolves around a troubled Maine teenager named Billy P. Both. Awards carry an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000 funded by Target.

"These films represent the unique vision, independent spirit and outstanding qualities we strive to support and promote at Film Independent," said Dawn Hudson, exec director of Film Independent, which presents the fest.

The narrative feature competition jury comprised Karyn Kusama, Rob Nelson and Tom Quinn. The documentary competition jury comprised Patrick Creadon, Rob Epstein and Lisa Schwarzbaum.

This year's Audience Award winners and the winners of the short film and music video competitions will be announced Sunday at the fest's closing night. Danny Boyle's "Sunshine," from Fox Searchlight, will screen as the closing-night film.
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