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January 26, 1999 2:00 AM
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"Three Seasons" Wins Three Awards at Sundance; "American Movie" Takes Top Doc Prize

PARK CITY '99: "Three Seasons" Wins Three Awards at Sundance; "American Movie" Takes Top Doc Prize

By Eugene Hernandez



Tony Bui's "Three Seasons," the first American film to be shot in Vietnam since the war, won the 1999 Sundance Film Festival dramatic competition Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The film, produced by Open City Films' Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente, also earned Lisa Rinzler the cinematography award. "Three Seasons" is an October Films release that was executive produced by Harvey Keitel who also stars in the film.

Chris Smith's "American Movie," which was produced by C-Hundred Film Corp's Jim McKay and Michael Stipe, won the documentary competition Grand Jury Prize. The film, which douments Midwest filmmaker Mark Borchardt, was acquired this week by Sony Pictures Classsics. The documentary Audience Award went to Roko Belic's "Ghengis Blues," which screened in the festival's American Spectrum -- this was the first year that Spectrum films were eligible for the audience prize.

The first Audience Award for World Cinema was presented to Tom Tykwer's "Run Lola Run" and Radu Mihaileanu's "Train of Life" (Train de vie), while the Jury Prize in Latin American Cinema went to Alejandro Springall's "Santitos" and a Special Jury Award in Latin American Cinema was given to Fernado Perez's "Life is to Whistle" (La Vida es Silbar).

"Regret to Inform" won two awards in the Documentary Competition -- the directing award for filmmaker Barbara Sonnenborn, and the cinematography award for Emiko Omori, who was also recognized for shooting the documentary, "Rabbit in the Moon." The Sundance dramatic competition directing prize was awarded to Eric Mendelsohn for "Judy Berlin," while Frank Whaley ("Joe the King") and Audrey Wells ("Guinevere") shared the festival's Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Stanley Nelson's "The Black Press: Soldiers Without Words," won the Sundance documentary competition's Freedom of Expression Award, while Jon Else's "Sing Faster: The Stagehands' Ring Cycle" won the Filmmakers Tropy. Gavin O'Connor's "Tumbleweeds" won the Dramatic Filmmakers Trophy.

The documentary jury, comprised of Kirby Dick, Tina DiFeliciantonio, Annie Frazier Henry, Michel Negroponte, and Raymond Telles, gave a Special Jury Award to Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgan's "On the Ropes." While the dramatic jury comprised of Maryse Alberti, Cheryl Dunye, Richard Linklater, Elvis Mitchell, and Nik Powell gave a Special Jury Award for Comedic Performance to Steve Zahn for "Happy, Texas" and a Special Jury Award for Distinctive Vision in Filmmaking to Scott King's "Treasure Island."

The Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking was awarded to Mark Osborne's "More," while Michael Burke's "Fishbelly White" received a Special Jury Award for Short Filmmaking. Honorable Mention's in the short film category went to James Cox's "Atomic Tabasco," Nicole Cattell's "Come Unto Me: The Faces of Tyree Guyton," Jarl Olson's "Devil Doll/Ring Pull," Corky Quakenbush's "A Pack of Gifts, Now," and Philip Holahan's "Stubble Trouble."

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