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'Monsieur Lazhar' Voted Audience Award at RiverRun Film Festival

The Peter Brunette Award for best director, named after the Hollywood Reporter film critic, was given to Brazilian director Julia Murat for "Found Memories."

"Monsieur Lazhar"
Courtesy of Music Box Films

Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeu’s film about an Algerian refugee who becomes a teacher in Montreal school, won the audience award for best narrative feature at the RiverRun International Film Festival, which concluded Sunday in Winston-Salem, N.C. The feature, which was nominated for the best foreign-language film Oscar, also received awards for best actor Mohamed Fellaq, who plays the title role, and Falardeu’s screenplay from the festival’s narrative film jury.

STORY: 'Monsieur Lazhar' Chosen By Canada For Best Foreign Film Oscar Competition

The jury also awarded the Peter Brunette Award for best director, named after The Hollywood Reporter’s late film reviewer, to Julia Murat, who directed the Brazilian feature Found Memories, about the residents of a remote village who are, quite literally, fading away as they go about their daily rituals. The film also was named best narrative feature; was cited for Lucio Bonelli’s cinematography; and its lead actress Sonia Guedes received an honorable mention as best actress.

Rounding out the narrative film awards, Nadezhda Markina was named best actress for the Russian film Elena, and Anders Danielsen Lie received an honorable mention for the Norwegian film Oslo, August 31st.

Audience awards also were voted to Jeff Orlowski‘s documentary Chasing Ice, which captures melting glaciers in the Arctic, and Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson‘sindie feature Small, Beautifully Moving Parts.

The fest’s documentary jury named Andrey Paounov’s The Boy Who Was A King, a study of the Bulgarian prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; Lauren Greenfield, best director, for The Queen of Versaille; and voted Macky Alston’s Love Free or Die its Human Rights Award.

The 10-day festival concluded with a screening at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts of director Fred Schepisi’s adaptation of Patrick White‘snovel The Eye of the Storm. Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis star as two siblings who return home to Sidney, Australia, where their difficult, rich mother, played by Charlotte Rampling, is dying. “This film is about a group of people who are definitely not your average family,” said Schepisi, who was present to introduce the film.