Another straight week of Hollywood and international films has wrapped up in Los Angeles, as AFI Fest 2013 drew to a close yesterday and announced its slate of juried and audience prizes. The selection this year had its share of Oscar-season glamour—“Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” all received gala screenings—but when it came time for the festival prizes, it was new, small-scale works from directors Clio Barnard and Katrin Gebbe that really impressed.
Gebbe’s debut feature, the drama “Nothing Bad Can Happen,” took home the New Auteurs critics award—celebrating the work of first and second-time feature filmmakers worldwide. Following the true story of a homeless Christian teenager’s adoption by an abusive German family, the film stars Annika Kuhl, Daniel Michel, and Sascha A. Gersak, and initially premiered at Cannes in Un Certain Regard. Drafthouse Films bought the distribution rights back in May, and are handling a theatrical release.
Nabbing New Auteurs Audience award was Clio Barnard’s second film “The Selfish Giant,” which boasts a pair of astounding performances from non-actors Conor Chapman and Shawn Thomas, playing friends forced into desperate and devastating circumstances when scrap metal theft presents itself as their only future. Barnard’s first film “The Arbor” stunned with its lyrical blend of documentary and drama, and “The Selfish Giant” nails a similar attention to authenticity tinged with moments of humor. You can read our Karlovy Vary review here, and while U.K. audiences have already received a chance to see the film, stateside filmgoers should keep their eyes peeled for an as-yet-unannounced release date.
The other Audience award winners were Kim Mordaunt’s Australian film “The Rocket” (in World Cinema; read our Tribeca review here); the Nigerian drama “B for Boy” from director Chika Anadu (in Breakthrough); and the American independent “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by Zeke and Simon Hawkins (read our Fantastic Fest review). Meanwhile, in the Shorts awards, the French/Tibetan effort “Butter Lamp” won the Live Action award, “The Places Where We Lived” won Animated, and Special Jury Prizes went to “Balcony,” “Syndromeda,” and Yung Jake’s “Datamosh.”
Catch our full AFI Fest coverage here, including reviews of the “Out of The Furnace” and “Lone Survivor” world premieres, and also a tribute to David O. Russell, where he showed off the first few minutes of “American Hustle.”