The Canadian Comedy 'Starbuck' Wins the Audience Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Starbuck Poster - P 2012

Starbuck Poster - P 2012

The documentary audience award was shared by "The Girls in the Band," a look at female jazz musicians, and "Wish Me Away," a portrait of country singer Chely Wright.

Starbuck, a Canadian comedy directed by Ken Scott about a class action suit against a sperm donor, claimed the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature as the Palm Springs International Restuarant held its awards ceremony at Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs on Sunday. Geoffrey Enthoven’s Come as You Are was runner-up in the category.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature resulted in a tie between Judy Chaikin’s The Girls in the Band, which looks at female jazz musicians, and Wish Me Away, Bobbi Birleffi and Beverly Kopf’s portrait of country singer-songerwriter Chely Wright

PHOTOS: Palm Springs Film Festival Top Ten

A jury of international film critics gave the FIPRESCI Award for best foreign language film of the year to Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse, Hungary’s entry for the best foreign-language film Oscar. The FIPRESCI Award for Best Actor went to Matthias Schoenaerts of the Belgian film Bullhead, while the Best Actress Award was shared by the ensemble female cast of the Iranian feature, A Separation.

The New Voices/New Visions Award, recognizing a new filmmaker, was given to The House, directed by Zuzana Liova of the Slovak Republic. The John Schlesigner Award, presented to a first-time documentary filmmaker, was presented to The Tiniest Place, directed by Tatiana Huezo of Mexico.

The Italian film Terraferma, directed by Emanuele Crialese, earned the HP Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders and Hewlett Packard. The runner-up was Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre.

The festival, which screened 188 films from 73 countries, concludes Monday with “best of the fest” screenings.

Festival director Darryl Macdonald said, “This year’s line up encompassed a particularly satisfying blend of challenging but highly compelling works, more broadly accessible crowd pleasers and debut films distinguished by their distinctive storytelling craft and technical prowess.  The audience balloting skewed more highly favorable across the board than in recent years, and our juries have made astute and well-reasoned choices in every instance.  In summary, it’s been a very good year for the cinema, and a hugely rewarding year for all who worked on or participated in this labor of filmic love.”