Los Angeles Film Festival awards go to 'Blood Stripe,' 'Political Animals'

Ahead of the closing night screening of “Desierto,” the Los Angeles Film Festival announced its award winners Thursday afternoon.

“Blood Stripe,” directed by Remy Auberjonois, took the U.S. Fiction award. Co-written by Auberjonois and star Kate Nowlin, the drama explores a female soldier returning home from duty and grappling with PTSD. 

“Political Animals,” directed by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares, won the Documentary award. The film looks at the first openly lesbian members of the California Legislature and their efforts to push anti-discrimination laws.

“The L.A. Film Festival provides proof that talented filmmakers with new voices are out there, they just need a platform, and that’s what we’re providing,” festival director Stephanie Allain said in a statement. "One of the more satisfying aspects of this job is watching new directors blossom in the spotlight."

The World Fiction award went to “HEIS (chronicles),” a French film directed by Anaïs Volpé. Also starring Volpé, the film explores the concerns of European youth in the face of economic upheaval.

“Namour,” directed by Heidi Saman, won the LA Muse section, focused on movies set in Los Angeles. Saman’s film follows an Arab American valet parker as he tries to find his way in the city.

“Beyond the Gates,” directed by Jackson Stewart, won the Nightfall award for genre filmmaking. The picture’s story involves two brothers who are liquidating their father’s video store and come across a haunted game.

The audience award for fiction feature film went to “GREEN / is / GOLD,” directed by Ryon Baxter. The audience award for documentary feature went to “Political Animals.”

The jury award for fiction short film went to “The Beast (Zvjerka),” directed by Daina Oniunas Pusić. The award for documentary short film went to “The Gatekeeper,” directed by Yung Chang. The audience award for short film went to “Into Darkness,” directed by Rachida El Garani. The audience award for Web series went to “Instababy,” directed by Rosie Haber.

During the awards reception, there was also an announcement for an initiative for next year’s festival. Composer Danny Elfman will offer free licenses for filmmakers from his latest album, “Rabbit and Rogue,” for a short film competition. Winners will have their world premieres at the 2017 L.A. Film Festival. Full information is expected to be announced next week.

Mark.Olsen@latimes.com

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