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AFF announces audience winners, festival acquisitions

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com

Chris Lowell’s dramedy “Beside Still Waters” followed its jury win at the Austin Film Festival by taking home the audience award for best narrative feature, the festival announced this week. Tommy Oliver’s based-on-real-events narrative feature “1982,” which tells the story of a single father raising his daughter in Philadelphia, won the audience award in the Marquee Feature category.

The audience award for best documentary feature ended in a tie with Alexandra Lescaze’s Austin-shot film about a group of women bonding over life-changing weight-loss, “All of Me,” splitting top honors with Kirk Macolina and Matthew Pond’s “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” a fascinating look at a charming jewel thief now in her 80s. Kelly Daniela Norris’s personal feature “Sombras de Azul” won the Texas Independents Audience Award.

Other winners included Joseph Laraja’s “The Golden Scallop” (Comedy Vanguard), Medllaine Paxon’s “Blood Punch” (Dark Matters”), and Noah Harald’s “Speak Now” (Write/Rec), Greg Ash’s “Mr. Invisible” (Narrative Short), John Smooha’s “Cootie Contagion” (Narrative Student Short), Wouter Bongaerts’ “MIA” (Animated Short), and Jessica Yu’s “The Guide” (Documentary Short).

In addition to the audience awards, AFF also announced that five films that screened at the festival got purchased for distribution. Festival sponsor Gravitas Ventures picked up “The Brightest Star” (formerly “Light Years”), “NSFW,” “Scrapper” and “Favor,” while Go USA acquired the North American rights for “Cavemen.”

Next year’s AFF will run from October 23-30.