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“Kissed By Winter” “Refugee All Stars” “Tsotsi” and “C.R.A.Z.Y.” Honored as AFI Fest Concludes

"Kissed By Winter" "Refugee All Stars" "Tsotsi" and "C.R.A.Z.Y." Honored as AFI Fest Concludes

The AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival capped off its 2005 edition with an awards ceremony atop the Hollywood ArcLight parking structure at the event’s festival village, awarding Norway’s “Kissed by Winter” its grand jury prize in the international feature competition, while the audience award for best feature film went to both Canada’s “C.R.A.Z.Y.” and South Africa’s “Tsotsi.”

Sara Johnsen‘s “Kissed by Winter” is the story of Victoria (Annika Hallin), a doctor who is called to the scene when a young refugee boy is found dead in a snow bank, while Gavin Hood‘s “Tsotsi,” which won audience awards at the Edinburgh and Toronto film festivals, is based on the novel by renowned South African playwright Athol Fugard. The film traces six days in the violent life of a young thug in the Johannesburg ghettos and is South Africa’s submission for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Hood gushed at the win when accepting the prize from the stage and praised the film’s star Presley Cheweneyagae for carrying the film and marveled that the young man is a first-time actor. “Tsotsi” also received a special mention by the jury. “C.R.A.Z.Y.” by French-Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee, meanwhile, is the story of a family spanning 20 years and one son’s dysfunctional relationship with his father. The film is Canada’s foreign-language Academy Award contender.

In the documentary competition, Zach Niles and Banker White won the Aquafina Pure Vision Award for their film “The Refugee All Stars.” The film is the story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who come together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. Kelly Duda‘s “Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal” received a special mention in the category. Jonathan Hock and Alistari Christopher‘s “Through the Fire” received the Netflix Audience Award for best documentary, which includes a $5000 unrestricted cash prize.

In the shorts competition, German director Till Nowak‘s “Delivery” received the fest’s best short film prize in both the jury and audience competitions. Beaming from the stage, Nowak thanked the festival and wondered aloud if the other filmmakers were mad at him for taking both awards. The film centers on an old hermit who lives a lonely life under the dark shadows of industrial smog, but one day he receives a mysterious package, which gives him the ability to change his environment. Avie Luthra‘s “Lucky” received a special mention.

Actor Tom Arnold co-hosted the short ceremony Sunday evening peppering the evening with plentiful jokes leaving many in the audience in stitches. The night continued with the closing night film “Casanova” by Lasse Hallstrom.

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