Festival coverage sponsored by Indiepix.
Darius Marder's LOOT, a study at parallel searches for buried treasure and the healing of past wounds, took the top Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival Saturday, along with the $50K prize sponsored by Target. The film was a world premiere at LAFF. Marder was an editor on the Oscar winning short, FREEHELD.
A special jury commendation was given to PRESSURE COOKER, which was described to me during the fest as "a cross between MAD HOT BALLROOM and Hell's Kitchen (the TV show starring sometimes abusive chef Gordon Ramsay), directed by Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker.
Best Documentary Short went to Eva Weber's CITY OF CRANES, which previously took top prize at Full Frame.
The documentary audience award went to ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, while MAN ON WIRE took the international audience prize (neither film was in the documentary competition).
Michael Lerman wrote about LOOT for indieWIRE while covering this year's doc crop:
"(T)he surprisingly hilarious story of two WWII veterans who go in search of buried treasure that they hid in an attic during the war, along with the aide of the world's most serious, yet unprofessional treasure hunter, Lance Larison. The humor and humanity of the film sneaks up on you when you least expect it, as Larison's deadpan interview delivery has you questioning whether Marder scripted it for comical effect. This, however, works in the films favor, as Marder takes the classic fly-on-the-wall approach and let's the audience decide the tone for themselves, building out of the reality of the situation."