Santa Barbara Fest draws to a close

MUMBAI: After 11 days and 10 starry nights, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival came to an end. During the course, the festival‘s jury announced films in a variety of categories and awards were handed out.

Top honors went to Exam directed by Stuart Hazeldine. The film received the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema. The film made its US premiere at the festival with Hazeldine, a native of England, receiving a camera package worth $60,000.

The film focuses on eight candidates for a job at a mysterious corporation who have reached the final stage of selection. In a windowless room, each candidate is faced with a simple question, three rules and a limited amount of time to decide how far they will go to secure their dream job.

"We are absolutely thrilled that the first film festival in America that we‘ve come to has embraced our film," said an excited Hazeldine.

Festival organizers also handed out the Best International Film Award honouring Letters to Father Jaakob, a film from Finland directed by Klaus Haro. The story traces the life of a female prisoner who receives a pardon for her life sentence.
Another film that received plenty of recognition throughout the festival was Enemies of the People, a film directed by Rob Lemkin that delves into the events surrounding the killing fields of Cambodia, when the Khmer Rouge killed nearly 2 million people in the 1970s.

The film received the Best Documentary Award that includes a Blu-Ray authoring package valued at $15,000 as well as the Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award that includes a $2,500 prize.

Other films that received honours during the award ceremony include The Wind Journeys, Mother, Katalin Varga, Ana‘s Playground and Urs.

The festival drew to an end on Sunday with the world premiere screening of Middle Men starring Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, James Caan, Kelsey Grammer and Kevin Pollack.

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