critic Thelma Adams
(right) poses for a photo with the New York Film Critics Circle
's best first film honoree Sarah Polley
("Away From Her
") and the film's co-star, Olympia Dukakis
(right). Introducing the actress-turned-director during the ceremony, Dukakis called Polley, "fierce," and Polley accepted the award noting that when she made the movie, she was, "very certain that nobody would see it," adding that she thought it might play for just one week in a theater somewhere. Acquired at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival
, the film opened in theaters last Spring and was a hit for Lionsgate. During an interview
at the time, Polley explained, "About eight years ago, I decided on a whim to make a short film and discovered that I knew almost nothing about the process of actually putting a film together, and that I had never been so challenged or rewarded by anything in my life. I knew then that I never wanted to stop."