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by Indiewire
March 14, 2007 3:53 AM
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SXSW '07 DAILY DISPATCH: "Billy The Kid" and "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" Win Top Jury Prizes At SXS

"Billy The Kid" director Jennifer Venditti (left) and producer Chiemi Karasawa at the SXSW awards ceremony on Tuesday. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

Films by women dominated the awards as the 2007 SXSW Film Festival hit its wet and rainy mid-point here in Austin, TX. Jamie Babbit's narrative feature "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" and Jennifer Venditti's documentary film "Billy The Kid" won the top jury prizes at the festival, while in the audience award voting Monty Miranada's "Skills Like This" won the narrative audience award, and Marlo Poras' "Run Granny Run" won the documentary audience prize.

A special prize was also presented at the festival's Tuesday night awards ceremony at the Austin Convention Center. Joe Swanberg, indie director of the popular new feature "Hannah Takes The Stairs," won the inaugural Eagle Pennell Award at SXSW.

"Billy The Kid" marks the directing debut of Jennifer Vendetti, who began her career in casting. it was while working on Carter Smith's "Bugcrush" that she came across Billy Price, the subject for her first feature. Produced by Bob Alexander and Barnet Liberman, the film had its world premiere here at SXSW where it was met with positive buzz from festival attendees.

Accepting her award on Tuesday night in Austin, director Jennifer Vendetti laughed on stage, and pointing to a friend in the audience joked, "you just won $50 worth of margaritas," referencing an apparent bet. On a more serious note, Vendetti said, "This taught me so much about myself and life."

"Itty Bitty Titty Committee," which had its North American premiere in Austin this week, debuted last month in the Panorama section at the Berlinale. Backed by POWER UP, the entertainment industry group for lesbians, the film was produced by Stacy Codikow and Andrea Sperling and written by Tina Mabry and Abigail Shafron. Babbit's third feature stars Melonie Diaz ("Raising Victor Vargas") in the rock music-driven story of an L.A. Latina who is lured into a radical group of feminists fighting the objectification of women.

"Itty Bitty Titty Committee" star Nicole Vicius at SXSW, accepting the film's jury prize. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

"I really hope this film finds an audience because its empowering," said "Itty Bitty" star Nicole Vicius who accepted the award for Babbit who had already departed Austin. "I hope this gets picked up becuase there's something more than the surface of things to inspire."

Commercial and promo director Monty Miranada makes his feature debut with audience award winner "Skills Like This," the story of a bad playwright turned successful bank robber, which was produced by Donna Dewey. Meanhwile, Marlo Poras's prize winner "Run Granny Run" looks at 90+ year old U.S. Senate candidate Doris "Granny D" Haddock. Finally, audience award winner "The Price of Sugar" by Bill Haney, honored in the Emerging Visions section, looks at life in Dominican Republic sugar plantations.

JURY AWARDS

Narrative Feature:
"Itty Bitty Titty Committee," Director: Jamie Babbit
Special Jury Award - "Orphans," Director: Ry Russo-Young
Special Jury Award - Frownland," Director: Ronald Bronstein

Documentary Feature:
"Billy the Kid," Director: Jennifer Venditti
Special Jury Award - "Audience of One," Director: Michael Jacobs
Special Jury Award - "Cat Dancers," Director: Harris Fishman

Texas High School Competition:
"Murder for 9 Points," Director: Brandon Day
Special Jury Award - Daily Routine, Director: Adela Escobar

Music Videos:
Thom Yorke, 'Harrowdown Hill', Director: Chel White
Special Jury Award - Constantines, 'Working Full-TIme', Director: Drew Lightfoot

Experimental Shorts:
"27,000 Days," Director: Naveen Singh
Special Jury Award - "The Lonely Lights. The Color of Lemons," Director: Benjamin M. Piety

Animated Shorts:
"Tragic Story with a Happy Ending," Director: Regina Pessoa
Special Jury Award - "One Rat Short," Director: Alex Weil

REEL Shorts:
"Pop Foul," Director: Moon Molson
Special Jury Award - "Clear Cut, Simple," Director: Vineet Dewan


AUDIENCE AWARDS

Narrative Feature:
"Skills Like This," Director: Monty Miranda

Documentary Feature:
"Run Granny Run," Director: Marlo Poras

Emerging Visions:
"The Price of Sugar," Director: Bill Haney

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2 Comments

  • tiggerjones | March 14, 2007 3:43 AMReply

    Itty Bitty Titty Committee is a perfect example of what happens when a good story meets a great director like Jamie Babbit and powerhouse production company like POWER UP. IBTC is a beautifully shot film that grabs you and never lets go. If you miss it at SXSW you are truly missing the best of the best this year.

  • tiggerjones | March 14, 2007 3:42 AMReply

    Itty Bitty Titty Committee is a perfect example of what happens when a good story meets a great director like Jamie Babbit and powerhouse production company like POWER UP. IBTC is a beautifully shot film that grabs you and never lets go. If you miss it at SXSW you are truly missing the best of the best this year.