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LAFF 2014: 'Man From Reno,' Debra Granik win top prizes

MoviesLos Angeles Film Festival
LAFF jury: Prize winner 'Man From Reno' 'tells complicated story in straightforward confident manner'
'Stray Dog' by 'Winter's Bone' director Debra Granik takes home award for best documentary at LAFF
L.A. Film Festival concludes Thursday evening with 'Jersey Boys'

A fictional detective story and a documentary about a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder took home the top prizes at the closing night of the Los Angeles Film Festival on Thursday.

Dave Boyle's “Man From Reno” was given the narrative award, and Debra Granik's “Stray Dog” was named the festival’s best documentary feature.

"Man from Reno" follows a Japanese crime novelist named Aki as she investigates a murder in San Francisco.

The jury, composed of director Destin Daniel Cretton, editor Lynzee Klingman and composer Kathryn Bostic, said in a statement that the film “tells a complicated story in a straightforward confident manner.”

It added: "Its exploration of barriers of age, language and success set against a noir plotline infuses a pop energy into the well-observed portrayal of its unique characters."

“Stray Dog" looks at a 67-year-old, grizzled-looking Vietnam vet as he falls in love with a Mexican woman he met on a trip to that country.

She moves in with him at the trailer park he owns in Southern Missouri and the two begin trying to bridge their cultural differences as he continues to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The documentary is the first film Granik has made since 2010’s best picture nominee “Winter’s Bone,” which was also set in the Ozarks.

The documentary is “a beautifully crafted observational portrait that addresses with love, empathy and humor, some of the issues we struggle with as a country today, such as PTSD, immigration and poverty,” the jury said in a statement.

“Los Ángeles” by Damian John Harper won the L.A. Muse Award, which is earmarked for work created about or in Los Angeles. Audience Awards went to “The Young Kieslowski,” “Meet the Patels” and “Someone You Love."

The awards were presented on Thursday afternoon at a cocktail reception hosted by Vincent Piazza of “Jersey Boys" at L.A. Live.

The 20th annual L.A. Film Festival, which is sponsored by The Times, kicked off June 11 and concludes Thursday evening with the premiere of “Jersey Boys."

A full list of the awards follows:

Narrative award (for best narrative feature)
"Man From Reno," directed by Dave Boyle

Documentary award (for best documentary feature)

"Stray Dog," directed by Debra Granik

Honorable mention (for best documentary feature)

"Walking Under Water," directed by Eliza Kubarska

L.A. Muse Award

"Los Ángeles," directed by Damian John Harper

Best performance in the narrative competition

The ensemble cast of “Recommended by Enrique,” directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel García

Audience award for best narrative feature

"The Young Kieslowski,” directed by Kerem Sanga

Audience award for best documentary feature

"Meet the Patels,” directed by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel

Audience award for best international feature

"Someone You Love," directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen

Best narrative short film

"The Runaway," directed by Jean-Bernard Marlin

Best documentary short film

"The Queen," directed by Manuel Abramovich

Best animated/experimental short film

"Butter Lamp," directed by Hu Wei

Audience award for best short film

"The Gunfighter," directed by Eric Kissack

Audience award for best music video

"Turn Down For What: Lil Jon and DJ Snake," directed by Daniels

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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