Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace's "Wah Do Dem" (What They Do) took the Target Filmmaker Award on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, while Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman's "Those Who Remain" (Los Que se Quedan) took documentary kudos at a ceremony at the Armand Hammer Museum.
"We put this film together alone, mostly in an apartment...and now we're in front of all you important people. Thank you," said co-director Chace at the informal ceremony. The late morning's event included Oscar winner Jon Voight who praised the event as an important marker of the community and heaped more praise on filmmakers.
Probably the most lovable part of the LAFF awards was actor Shayne Topp who received a nod for his performance in Suzi Yoonessi's "Dear Lemon Lima." Topp truly looked surprised with the announcement, and everyone at his table started yelling when his name was called.
"I didn't even know I could win an award today," he said in front of the crowd.
The awards ceremony won a round of thumbs up from attendees for its informal setting, and the fest rightly exploited its geographical locale for a lovely outdoor brunch. Suffice it to say, people weren't trying to subtley leave as soon as possible...
2009 Los Angeles Film Festival award winners:
Target Filmmaker Award (narrative): "Wah Do Dem" (What They Do) by Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace
Target Documentary Award: "Those Who Remain" (Los Que se Quedan) by Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman
Target Dream in Color Award: Elizabeth Pena and Sam Rubin for "Lipstick"
"Outstanding Performance in the Narrative Competition": Shayne Topp in "Dear Lemon Lima" (Suzi Yoonessi)
Best Narrative Short: "Time and Again," by Antonio Mendez Esparza
Best Documentary Short: "Replayground" by Anna Gaskell
Audience Award for best narrative feature: "The Stoning of Soraya M.," by Cyrus Nowrasteh
Audience Award for best documentary feature: "Soul Power" by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Audience Award for best International feature: "Born Without" (Nacido Sin) by Eva Norvind
Audience Award for best short film: "Instead of Abracadabra" by Patrick Eklund
Audience Award for Best Music Video: "Death Cab for Cutie" by Walter Robot