Raymond De Felitta's "City Island" has been announced as the winner of the Tribeca Film Festival's Heineken Audience Award was announced last night at the Tribeca Filmmaker Lounge in Union Square. De Felitta will receive a cash prize of $25,000.
As of Thursday, the appropriately named fest winner was not even in the top ten vote-getters, according to a tracking system on Tribeca's website. But "City Island" obviously benefited from its three late-in-the-fest screenings, and is Tribeca's first narrative audience award winner since 2003’s “Together."
The film tells the story of the Rizzo family, who live on a little-known island in the Bronx that is, according to the Tribeca Film Festival's guide, "as quaint and sleepy as any New England town." But, as the guide also notes, "the Rizzos are not as picturesque as the island they inhabit, and like most families, they all stop at nothing to avoid the truth." "City Island" stars Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer and Alan Arkin.
“We have had a rich tradition of documentaries taking the audience award at Tribeca, and this year we are delighted to have a smart, crowd-pleasing comedy with an outstanding ensemble cast, led by Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies, take home The Heineken Audience Award for Raymond De Felitta’s City Island,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director, Tribeca Film Festival, in a statement. “Raymond is a returning filmmaker who has made a smart family comedy, and we hope that audiences around the world will get to enjoy the film as much as Tribeca audiences have.”
City Island screens today at 12:30 pm and 6:30 pm at AMC Village VII, as will the rest of the films that won awards at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. A full list of previously announced winners can be found here.