A Portuguese film about two sisters who escape the Angolan civil war and a documentary on Mexican cattle ranchers took home the top jury prizes at the Los Angeles Film Festival Sunday. Portugal’s All is Well from director Pocas Pascoal won best narrative film and director Everardo Gonzalez won the best documentary prize for Drought. Each filmmaker received a $15,000 award.
“In an extremely competitive year, our juries had hard choices to make. The winning films are wonderful examples of what the Festival celebrates: bold, fresh, personal visions that expand the horizons of independent cinema,” Artistic Director David Ansen said in a statement from the festival.
The jury called All is Well “a work of striking visual eloquence and emotional honesty,” in a statement. Of Drought, the jury said it is ”a film of extraordinary caliber—epic in scope, keen and intimate in its observational perspective, beautifully filmed and edited with a sparse and affecting soundscape .”
Treme star Wendell Pierce was among the best performance in a narrative winners, along with his co-stars in the relationship drama Four – Emory Cohen (Smash), E.J. Bonilla, and Aja Naomi King.
A runaway hit at Sundance, Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin, impressed audiences at the L.A. fest as well, winning the audience award for best narrative feature. The film tells the story of a girl named Hushpuppy who joins a band of survivors and tries to rescue her father after a Katrina-like flood wrecks their Delta homes. It opens in theaters on June 27.
Other honorees included Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives, which won the audience award for best documentary, and Searching for Sugar Man, the story of singer/sonwriter Rodriguez’s success in 1970s South Africa, which won the audience award for best international feature.
The festival closes Sunday night with the U.S. premiere of the male stripper story, Magic Mike, starring Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, and Matthew McConaughey.