The eighth annual Tribeca Film Festival announced the winners of its competition categories at a ceremony hosted by Gideon Yago at the Tribeca Film-maker Lounge on Friday night.
According to the festival organisers, the 2009 event included 85 features and 47 short films from 36 countries. The world competition winners were chosen from 12 narrative and 12 documentary features from 17 countries. Two awards were also given to honor New York films.
“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," said Jane Rosenthal, festival co-founder.
"I wish all of the film-makers continued success and hope that they continue to bring their works back to Tribeca.”
This year the jurors included the likes of Meg Ryan, Uma Thurman, Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Spurlock and Brian Williams.
Best Narrative Feature
About Elly (Darbareye Elly) won best Narrative Feature which was directed and written by Asghar Farhadi from Iran. About Elly is a story of old friends reuniting for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. “Out of a strong selection of films, the jury was unanimous in our passion for this seamless piece of ensemble film-making. The universality of the characters and themes, and the directors riveting grasp of this story make About Elly a film that collapses barriers and deepens our understanding of the world we share,” were the jury's comments.
Best New Narrative Film-maker
This award went to Rune Denstad Langlo for his film North (Nord) which was written by Erlend Loe. It is a story about a professional skier who has the world at his feet but after a sporting accident his life goes from bad to worse. “Rune Denstad Langlo, formerly a documentary film-maker, shows a mastery of comedic direction in North. His consummate vision, strong grasp of story and command of the language of cinema make him a standout amidst a strong pool of candidates,” the jury said about Rune Denstad Langlo.
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film
Ciarán Hinds was awarded the best actor award for his portrayal of widower Michael who is coming to terms with his new role as the sole caretaker of his two young kids in The Eclipse, directed and written by Conor McPherson.
Commenting on the Belfast native's performance, the jury said: “Ciarán Hinds’ powerful performance explores both strength and vulnerability, while propelling and deepening the films examination of masculinity and desire. The portrayal grabbed us, pulling us even deeper into this unique and original ghost story.”
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film
This year the award went to Zoe Kazan in The Exploding Girl, directed and written by Bradley Rust Gray. Zoe plays Ivy a college girl who has epilepsy but keeps her condition at bay as long as she manages her emotions. “Zoe shines in this understated role. Every component of this brilliantly restrained performance displays a command of her craft that stunned and moved this jury,” said the jury.
Nancy Schafer, executive director of the festival said: “The jurors’ passion for the films echoes what we are seeing from audiences. 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.”
As for the Audience Award it went to City Island, written by Raymond De Felitta. The voting process took place throughout the festival, audiences were encouraged to fill out nominations when they were exiting screenings.
City Island, which made its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, tells the story of the Rizzo family, who live on a little-known island in the Bronx. Starring Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies. “We have had a rich tradition of documentaries taking the audience award at Tribeca, and this year we are delighted to have a smart, crowd-pleasing comedy with an outstanding ensemble cast, led by Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies, take home the Heineken Audience Award for Raymond De Felitta’s City Island,” said Schafer.