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Film Independent (formerly the IFP/Los Angeles) announced the winners of its 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival. Mark Banning won the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature for his Jellysmoke, and the Target Best Doc Award went to Beth Bird for Everyone Their Grain of Sand. The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know. David Zeiger’s Sir! No Sir! won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. Luc Jacquet’s March of the Penguins won the Audience Award for Best International Feature.

Catherine Kellner and Ebon Moss-Bachrach of Leslie McCleave’s Road won for Outstanding Performance in the Narrative Competition.

Describing Jellysmoke, the fest writers, “In his feature debut, Jellysmoke, Mark Banning paints the portrait of a young man searching for love and a way to maintain his sanity. Though sweet, handsome, and well-liked, Jacob suffers deeply from bipolar depression. After a stint in the psych ward, he resolves to find normalcy and sees the key to securing it in the love of a beautiful stranger and her young son. Quietly nuanced, Michael Ealy’s performance is a beautiful and apt reminder of how heartbreakingly fragile, yet ultimately hopeful life can be.”

And re the doc winner: “Beth Bird shows a small town’s struggle for survival in the face of corporate greed and how it powerfully demonstrates the downside of globalization and U.S.-Mexico border economics. Since 1988, Mexican community Maclovio Rojas has been fighting for education, electricity, and water owed them by their government, which would rather force thousands of residents off land that developers are drooling over. Community leaders are arrested, lingering in prison without due process, while their families and friends make every effort to obtain justice. Beth Bird’s heartbreaking and intimate feature debut balances these hardships with glimpses of goodness — an elementary school graduation, holiday celebrations — to remind us what they’re fighting for.”

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