Santa Barbara Film Festival Gives Its Top Prize to Zam Salim's 'Up There'

Up There Santa Barbara film 2012

Ken Scott's "Starbuck" receives Audience Choice Award.

Zam Salim’s Up There, about a young man stuck into a dead-end job welcoming the newly deceased into the afterlife, received the Paranavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which concluded Sunday. The prize includes a Panavision camera package worth $60,000.

PHOTOS: The Scene at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Ken Scott’s dramatic feature, Starbuck, about a class action suit against a sperm donor, earned the Audience Choice Award, sponsored by the SB Independent.

The 27th edition of the festival announced winners at a brunch on Sunday at the Fess Parker Resort in Santa Barbara.

A special Jury Prize for Artistic Distinction was awarded to Barrymore, directed by Erik Canuel and starring Christopher Plummer, who also was honored with the fest's Modern Master Award.

The Best International Film Award went to Ismael Ferroukhi’s Free Men, about an Algerian Muslim immigrant who joins the French Resistance to save Algerian Jews.

The Nueva Vision Award for the best Spanish/Latin American film was awarded to Julia Murat’s Found Memories, about a young photographer who finds a forgotten ghost town where only a handful of old people live.

The jury awarded an Honorable Mention to The Rumble of the Stones, directed by Alejandro Bellame Palacios, Venezuela’s submission for the foreign language film Academy Award.    

The Best Documentary Film Award went to Walter Matteson’s Pretty Old, about four women competing in the 30th anniversary of the Ms. Senior Sweetheart Beauty Pageant in Fall River, Mass.

The Cinema Nouveau Award went to Jean-Jacques Jauffret’s Heat Wave (Apres Le Sud).

The Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film Under 30 Minutes went to L Train, directed by Anna Musso. And the Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation Short Film went to The Missing Key, directed by Jonathan Nix.

The Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award, sponsored by The Fund for Santa Barbara for a documentary film that addresses social justice issues, was given to Bryan HopkinsDirty Energy, which tells the story of those directly affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

The festival closed Sunday night with the West Coast premiere of Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now?.