'Exam' tops Santa Barbara Film Festival

Finnish feature "Jacob" wins Best International Film

Stuart Hazeldine's "Exam" claimed the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema at the 25th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which handed out its prizes Sunday at a brunch at Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort.

Starring Luke Mably and Nathalie Cox, "Exam" is a psychological thriller about eight candidates competing for a job at a mysterious corporation.

The Best International Film award went to the Finish feature "Letters to Father Jacob" (Postia pappi Jaakobille), directed by Klaus Haro, about a woman relseaesd from prison who goes to work for a blind priest.

Ciro Guerra's "The Wind Journeys" took the Nueva Vision Award for best Spanish/Latin American film. The East Meets West Cinema Award went to South Korea's "Mother" (Madeo), directed by Bong Joon-ho. And the Eastern Bloc award was awarded to Peter Strickland's "Katalin Varga."

Rob Lemkin's "Enemies of the People," which returns to the killing fields of Cambodia, was named best documentary. It also claimed the Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award, set aside for a doc that addresses social issues.

Eric D. Howell's "Ana's Playground" earned the Bruce Corwin Award for best live-action short, and Moritz Mayerhofer's "Urs" was singled out as best animation short.

George Gallo's "Middle MEn," starring Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, James Caan, Kelsey Grammer and Kevin Pollak, will bring down the curtain on the festival Sunday night as its closing-night film.
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