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“The Artist” & “Almanya” Take Home Audience Prizes at 47th Chicago International Film Festival

"The Artist" & "Almanya" Take Home Audience Prizes at 47th Chicago International Film Festival

Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” won the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Chicago Interntional Film Festival. The event noted that a “record number of audience members participated in the selection of this year’s audience choice winners, with 50% of attendees casting their vote” at the 47th edition of the festival.

As previously reported Aki Kaurismäki’s “Le Havre” won the juried Gold Hugo prize at CIFF, while “Cairo 678” took the festival’s Silver Hugo and Joshua Marston and Andamion Murataj were honored with a Silver Hugo for best screenplay for “The Forgiveness of Blood.” The festival closes out Tuesday, October 25.

Audience Award winners with descriptions provided by the Chicago International Film Festival:

Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature, presented by American Airlines:
The Artist” (France), Dir. Michel Hazanavicius

A darling at this year’s 2011 Cannes Film Festival, The Artist is a black and white love song to silent cinema, and movies overall. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius (the OSS 117 films), tells the story of George Valentin (Jean Dujardin, best actor at Cannes) a very successful silent movie star who meets Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), a young extra, and helps her on her way up the Hollywood ladder. But when talking pictures arrive, disaster strikes not only George’s career but also the blossoming romance between the two. A visually stunning film with arresting performances, The Artist perfectly captures the silent film era while staying relevant to today.

Almanya: Welcome to Germany” (Germany), Dir. Yasemin Samdereli

A six-year-old in Germany confronts and questions the nature of self-identity after learning of his Turkish grandfather’s journey as a guest worker in the 1960s.The discussion leads the whole family to travel to their original home in Turkey, a trip that will prove surprising in more ways than one. This delightful comedy shows that your identity is not determined by where you live or where your parents come from, but rather what you feel inside.

Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature, presented by American Airlines
Undefeated” (USA), Dirs. Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin

Set in Memphis, Undefeated chronicles the Manassas Tigers’ 2009 football season as they strive to win the first playoff game in the high school’s 110-year history. A perennial whipping boy, in recent decades Manassas had gone so far as to sell their home games to the highest bidder, but that all changed in the spring of 2004 when Bill Courtney, a former high school football coach turned lumber salesman, volunteered to lend a hand. The football program began resurrecting itself and, in 2009, features the most talented team it has ever fielded.

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