'Learning to Drive' Takes Provincetown Festival Audience Award

Courtesy of Sunshine Sachs
Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson in 'Learning to Drive'

The 17th edition of the Cape Cod film event also saw prizes go to French actress-turned-director Melanie Laurent's 'Breathe,' and to the documentaries 'Packed in a Trunk' and 'Outermost Radio.'

The 17th Annual Provincetown Film Festival wrapped Sunday, with the HBO Audience Award for the most popular narrative feature going to Isabel Coixet's Learning to Drive, a gentle two-hander about mid-life self-empowerment starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson.

The corresponding HBO Audience Award for best documentary feature went to a local story, Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson. Directed by Michelle Boyaner, it chronicles the efforts of Emmy-winning filmmaker Jane Anderson to trace the history of her great-aunt, a Provincetown resident committed to an asylum in 1924, and to return her paintings to the community she had called home.

The John Schlesinger Award for first-time filmmakers went, for narrative, to French actress-turned-director Melanie Laurent for Breathe, a passionate drama of female friendship; and for documentary, to Alan Chebot's Outermost Radio, about popular non-profit Cape Cod broadcaster WOMR.

The HBO short documentary award went to Kitty Green for The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul.

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On Saturday, Provincetown's previously announced honors were presented, with Jennifer Coolidge accepting the Faith Hubley Career Achievement Award, and Bobcat Goldthwait being given this year's Filmmaker on the Edge Award, accompanied by a lively Q&A session conducted by regular festival patron John Waters.

"I've seen all your work but I might be your only fan who never saw the Police Academy movies," Waters told Goldthwait, referring to the commercially successful cop comedy series in which the honoree appeared as an actor.

"That's why I love you, John Waters," replied Goldthwait. "You're the reason I make movies." His latest feature, the documentary Call Me Lucky, about comedian and political satirist Barry Crimmins, was a popular entry in the Provincetown lineup.

The festival announced that next year's 18th edition will run June 15-19.

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