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Palm Springs Fest Honors "Whistleblower" & "Gods and Men" Capping 22nd Fest

Indiewire By Brian Brooks | Indiewire January 17, 2011 at 8:36AM

Canadian director Larysa Kondracki's "The Whistleblower" lead the audience winners at the 22nd Palm Springs International Film Festival over the weekend, winning the best narrative feature prize, while Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel's "Louder Than a Bomb" took the best documentary feature prize in the audience category over the weekend in the California desert.
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Canadian director Larysa Kondracki's "The Whistleblower" lead the audience winners at the 22nd Palm Springs International Film Festival over the weekend, winning the best narrative feature prize, while Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel's "Louder Than a Bomb" took the best documentary feature prize in the audience category over the weekend in the California desert.

"Of Gods and Men," France's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, directed by Xavier Beauvois, won the festival's international film critics-centered prize, the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Lars Rosing received the FIPRESCI Award for Best Actor for his role in "Nuummioq" (Greenland) directed by Otto Rosing and Torben Bech, while Anne Coesens received the best actress nod in the category for her role in "Illegal" (Belgium) directed by Olivier Masset-Depasse.

In jury prizes, Denmark's "Nothing's All Bad," which won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film Sunday night, also took PSIFF's prize in the New Voices/New Visions competition, which spotlights new international talent. Writer-director Mikkel Munch-Fals' award includes a $60,000 Panavision camera package.

Lynn True and Nelson Walker's "Summer Pasture" ((China/Tibet/USA) took the fest's John Schlesinger Award for "Outstanding First Documentary, while Iciar Bollain's "Even the Rain" (Spain/France/Mexico) won the "Bridging the Borders Award," which celebrates cinema's " ability to bring the people of our world closer together." The film is Spain's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Submission about an idealistic young director who has to move production of his period piece to Bolivia so as to save on labor costs. There he encounters a population in civic upheaval.

"It's been a hugely successful year for the festival, with record attendance, incredibly smooth operations, and much higher numbers of filmmakers and industry guests attending, with a marked jump in film sales activities as a result," commented Festival Director Darryl Macdonald in a statement. "Everything, from our film line-up to the stellar Awards Gala honorees, to our Talking Pictures events and our tribute to Michael Douglas, have been warmly embraced by audiences and industry alike, marking this as a banner year for us. This year's success bodes extremely well for the future of the event."

The Palm Springs International Film Festival screened screened 205 films from 69 countries, including 41 of the 65 foreign language entries for this year's Academy Awards. PSIFF reports over 130,000 attendees each year.

The celebrated list of honorees this year included: Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Danny Boyle, Robert Duvall, Colin Firth, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, David O. Russell, Diane Warren and the cast of "The Social Network."

[To check out iW's coverage of its Awards Gala, click here. More coverage from the festival, click here.]