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“Elly” and “Racing Dreams” Triumph at Tribeca Fest

"Elly" and "Racing Dreams" Triumph at Tribeca Fest

Iranian director Asghar Farhad’s “About Elly” won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature tonight in New York and Marshall Curry’s “Racing Dreams” took Tribeca’s Best Documentary Feature prize at a ceremony attended by Tribeca Film Festival co-founders Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal and hosted by Gideon Yago.

The prize for “Elly’s” Farhad includes $25,000 and the artwork “Rockets and the Red Lights (Mass MoCA # 70) by Stephen Hannock. While “Dreams'” Curry took Tribeca’s Best Documentary Feature prize which includes $25,000 and the artwork “Sky III,” created by Clifford Ross in addition to two voyage certificates for a Transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2.

Also taking home prizes tonight were director Rune Denstad Langlo (“North) who received the Best New Narrative Filmmaker nod ($25,000) and “The Eclipse” star Ciaran Hinds who received the Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film award. Zoe Kazan (“The Exploding Girl”) took the prize for Best Actress in the same category. Ian Olds, meanwhile, won the Best New Documentary Filmmaker prize for his film, “Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi ($25,000).

Best Narrative Short winner Carlos Chahine “The North Road” with shorts jury members Debra Messing and Mary-Kate Olsen. Photo by Brian Brooks.

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival screened a pared down 85 features and 47 short films from 36 countries. The doc and narrative world competitions included 12 films in each category. TFF’s Heineken Audience Award winner will be announced May 2 at the festival wrap party.

“I am delighted that we have awarded films from such diverse origins; helping to launch careers, establish names and tell stories that would otherwise not be told. I wish all of the filmmakers continued success and hope that they continue to bring their works back to Tribeca,” said festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal, in a statement. “The jurors’ passion for the films echoes what we are seeing from audiences,” added Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the festival. “The breadth of talent displayed through all the competitions is reflected in the jurors’ choices. We thank all our jury members for their dedication and hard work.”

Screenings of all winning films will take place at New York’s AMC Village VII on Sunday, May 3.

The full list of 2009 Tribeca Film Festival jury winners (Descriptions provided by the festival)

[Continued on page 2]

Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature:

“About Elly” (Darbareye Elly), directed and written by Asghar Farhadi. (Iran) – North American Premiere. A group of old college pals reunites for a weekend adventure on the sea, but compounding lies and deception quickly lead to catastrophe. Everyone hopes Sepideh’s new friend Elly will hit it off with Ahmad, newly divorced from his German wife and in search of an Iranian bride, but Elly disappears on the second day, plunging the group into a complex mystery. Asghar Farhadi took the Best Director prize at Berlin. In Persian with English subtitles.

Best Documentary Feature:

“Racing Dreams,” directed by Marshall Curry. (USA) – World Premiere. What Little League is to baseball, go-karting is to auto racing. Oscar-nominated director Marshall Curry (“Street Fight”) follows the journeys of three top racers competing for the national championship. Three adolescents and their families must discover if they have the talent and dedication – and sponsorship dollars – to one day become NASCAR superstars.

Special Jury Mention: “Defamation” (Hashmatsa), directed by Yoav Shamir. (Denmark, Austria, USA, Israel).

Best New Narrative Filmmaker:

“North” (Nord), directed by Rune Denstad Langlo, written by Erlend Loe. (Norway) – North American Premiere. A road movie without a road, North is a wry comedy about a former ski champion recovering from a mental breakdown and on a journey to start anew. Having just learned he has a five-year-old son, he hops on his snowmobile with some moonshine, bound for ex-girlfriend’s home in Norway’s Far North. In Norwegian with English subtitles.

Marshall Curry, right, accepts the award for best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival for “Racing Dreams,” winning a trans-Atlantic passage on the QM2. Photo by Brian Brooks

Best New Documentary Filmmaker:

Ian Olds director of “Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi,” (USA) – North American Premiere. In 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 24-year-old Ajmal Naqshbandi and an Italian journalist. Naqshbandi was one of Afghanistan’s best “fixers”–someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate, and gain access for their stories. This tragic story is a behind-the-scenes look into the dangerous and unseen world that happens before we get the news. In English, Dari, Pashto, Italian with English subtitles.

Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film :

Ciaran Hinds in “The Eclipse,” directed and written by Conor McPherson. (Ireland) – World Premiere. Award-winning screenwriter and Tony-nominated playwright McPherson crafts a drama about a widower (Ciaran Hinds) who sees and hears strange things in his house. His life converges with a beautiful author of supernatural fiction (Iben Hjejle) and a full-of-himself pop novelist (Aidan Quinn) at an international literary festival that will alter their lives in surprising ways.

Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film:

Zoe Kazan in “The Exploding Girl,” directed and written by Bradley Rust Gray. (USA) – North American Premiere. Cherubic college student Ivy is back home in Brooklyn for spring break with her longtime platonic guy pal Al in tow. As her relationship with her boyfriend slowly disintegrates via cell phone, Al’s friendship is cast in a new light.

New York Competition Categories:

Best New York Narrative – “Here and There” (Tamo i ovde), directed and written by Darko Lungulov. (Serbia, USA, Germany).

Best New York Documentary – “Partly Private,” directed by Danae Elon. (Canada).

Short Film Competition Categories:

Best Narrative Short – “The North Road” (La route du Nord), directed and written by Carlos Chahine. (France)

Best Documentary Short – “home,” directed by Matthew Faust. (USA)

Special Jury Mention: “The Last Mermaids,” directed by Liz Chae. (USA, South Korea)

Student Visionary Award – “Small Change,” directed and written by Anna McGrath. (Australia)

Special Jury Mention: “Oda a la Pina,” directed and written by Laimir Fano. (Cuba)

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