'Valerie' a model winner

Takes top prize at Hamptons fest

The Hamptons International Film Festival gave its Golden Starfish Best Feature award and more than $185,000 in cash and services to Birgit Moeller's "Valerie," a drama about a fading German model.

Actor-turned-writer/director Chris Eigeman's drama "Turn the River" nabbed two awards at Sunday's ceremony: the Zicherman Family Foundation Award for Best Screenwriter and a Special Jury Best Actress Prize for star Famke Janssen.

Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue's Iraq War soldier portrait "Body of War" took home the audience award for best documentary, and Chris Kraus' German female prisoner tale "Four Minutes" won the audience award for best narrative feature.

Sporting some disturbingly graphic images of torture, Matthew Galkin's docu "I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA" won the Golden Starfish Documentary Feature Film Award. Marisa Zanotti's "At the End of the Sentence" took home the Golden Starfish Short Film Award.

Fittingly, the Brizzolara Family Award for Films of Conflict and Resolution category produced a tie: Anthony Gilmore's World War II docu "Behind Forgotten Eyes" and Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg's Iraq War study "Soldiers of Conscience."

The Kodak Award for Best Cinematography went to Tom Collins' "Kings." The Woozyfly.com Award for Best Music in a Film went to Mark Mancina for his work on next month's Warner Bros. release "August Rush."

The $25,000 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Prize in Science and Technology went to Julian Schnabel's true story of a paralyzed writer, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." A panel discussion with HIFF board member Alec Baldwin and Donahue — co-director of another film about a paralyzed man, the audience award-winning "War"— generated heated talk about the media's resistance to covering progressive issues in science.

Maureen Bharoocha's "Abajee," Yann Demange's "Alan and Samir," Katie Stern's "Blue Dress," Suzi Yoonessi's "Dear Lemon Lima" and Doug Lenox's "Quincy & Althea" were given the HIFF's Undergraduate and Graduate Student Film/Video Awards. The Golden Starfish Award for Best Young Videomaker went to Vladislav Radak for his short "Blue Lorry."

The Golden Starfish Narrative Competition jurors were IFC Entertainment's Arianna Bocco, director Alison Maclean and Cinetic Media's John Sloss. The Golden Starfish Documentary and Short Film Competition jurors were Docurama's Liz Ogilvie, South by Southwest Film Festival's Matt Dentler and director Jamie Johnson.

"Valerie," "River" and Heshem Issawi's feature "AmericanEast," about Arab-American life, were among of the titles leaving HIFF with acquisitions buzz.
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