"Facing Windows" Wins Top Award at Seattle Fest
by Sandra Ogle
The 30th annual Seattle International Film Festival (May 20 - June 13) wrapped up its 25-day run on Sunday with the presentation of the 2004 Golden Space Needle awards and the festival's juried awards. A closing night gala reception followed at Seattle's Cinerama Theater with the North American premiere of Patrice Leconte's "Intimate Strangers."
The 2004 Golden Space Needle audience award for best film was awarded to Ferzan Ozpetek's "Facing Windows." The Italian film, already heavy with accolades, focuses on a young housewife discontent in a stale marriage who begins to resuscitate her rote life by daydreaming about her attractive neighbor and caring for a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Among other honors, the film has been awarded the best actress, best actor, and best film awards at the Italian Golden Globe Awards; the best director award at the 38th Annual Karlovy Vary Film Festival; and was a 2003 European Film Award nominee.
The best director award went to Italian director Marco Tullio Giordana for his six-hour epic, "Best of Youth," which follows two Roman brothers from the tumultuous 1960s to today. The film has also been screened at the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival. Ozpetek was the runner-up in this category.
"Born Into Brothels," Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's film, picked up the best documentary award. The film, which focuses on children surviving in Calcutta's blighted red light district, also won an audience award at Sundance earlier this year. Best short went to Jason Reitman's "Consent" and the Lena Sharpe Women in Cinema award for persistence in vision went to Shona Auerbach's drama "Dear Frankie" from Scotland.
Juried prizes in five different categories were also awarded. Zak Penn's "Incident at Loch Ness" and Lisa Cholodenko's "Cavedweller" both won a New American Cinema award. The French film "Wild Side," directed by Sebastien Lifshitz, won the New Director's Showcase Award. The Refracting Reality Documentary award was given to two filmmakers: Andrew Douglas for his Southern U.S. road trip doc "Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus" and Daniel Gordon for his soccer doc from South Korea "The Game of Their Lives."