'Sunshine' casts rays of humor on festival's end

Special to The Times

It was Funny Boys' night out at Sunday's premiere of "Little Miss Sunshine," the closing-night film of the successful 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival.

"Sunshine" stars Adam Arkin, Steve Carell and Greg Kinnear hit the red carpet at the Wadsworth Theatre to support their quirky comedy -- a story about chasing your dreams in a win-or-die society and the important life lesson of losing.

Former child star Haley Joel Osment was also on hand. As was a pig-tailed Zooey Deschanel, Christina Applegate, Lisa Edelstein, Alan Arkin (Adam's dad) and Film Independent's always stylish Dawn Hudson.

But the real star of the night was Abigail Breslin, who plays Olive, the little girl obsessed with winning the Little Miss Sunshine pageant.

Abigail, who turns 10 in September, has already appeared in TV shows such as "Hack" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," as well as M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs."

She'll star with Catherine Zeta-Jones (she plays her niece) in an untitled Scott Hicks project, currently filming in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village in New York.

Guests couldn't help noticing that Abigail, a very little girl, was toting a very large purse. Given her small size, it looked more like carry-on luggage. Hmm. A pooch pouch, perhaps? No one was at all surprised when Abigail produced an adorable cream-colored flop-earred ball of fluff that she clutched tightly and carried down the carpet.

She wasn't sure if her little mixed breed puppy was a malti-poo, a cocka-poo, a setter-poo or a bichon-poo. Whatever he is, he sure did steal the show.

There were also human highlights at the gala as the film festival awards were announced. The winners included: the Target Filmmaker Award -- Steve Collins' "Gretchen"; the Target Documentary Award -- Amy Berg's "Deliver Us From Evil"; Audience Award for Narrative Feature -- Robert Cary's "Ira & Abby"; Audience Award for Documentary -- Jeff Werner and Susan Koch's "Mario's Story"; Audience Award for International Feature -- Tomer Heymann's "Paper Dolls"; Outstanding Performance in a Narrative -- the ensemble cast of Mike Akel's "Chalk"; Narrative Short Film -- Gustavo Taretto's "Side Walls"; Documentary Short Film -- Cedar Sherbert's "Gesture Down (I Don't Sing)"; Animated/Experimental Short -- Adam Parrish King's "The Wraith of Cobble Hill"; Audience Award for Short Film -- Diego Quemada-Diez's "I Want to Be a Pilot."

For The Record Los Angeles Times Wednesday July 05, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction "Little Miss Sunshine": An article in Tuesday's Calendar about the premiere party for "Little Miss Sunshine" identified Adam Arkin as one of the film's stars. It's his father, Alan Arkin, who is in the movie.
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