By MARTY CLEAR
A romantic comedy involving a one-night stand and bottle of sleeping pills and powerful documentary about a murder in Jacksonville were the big winners in the first-ever Skyway Film Festival in Bradenton.
The festival wrapped up a successful run Sunday after three days of films, discussion and parties, almost all at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.
Industry experts selected winners in several categories. The winning films received trophies, and they'll get the chance to display the familiar laurel design that signifies film festival awards on future promotional materials.
Audience members were polled about their favorites, and awards were given to the most popular films in several additional categories.
Jury Awards were also given for acting, directing and teleplay writing.
The Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature went to "Night Owls," a story about a man who has a tryst with a young woman and then finds out she's the jilted mistress of her boss. She swallows sleeping pills and he has to keep her awake, and falls for her in the process.
The Grand Jury Documentary Feature Award went to "3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets," which revolves around the trial of a Jacksonville man who murdered a suburban teenager and tried to kill his three friends after he asked them to turn down the volume of their rap music down.
Here's a complete list of the winners.
Grand Jury Narrative Feature: "Night Owls," directed by Charles Hood.
Grand Jury Documentary Feature: "3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets," directed by Marc Silver.
Grand Jury Short Film: "The Whisper," directed by Sarah Heitz De Chabeneix.
Grand Jury Short Florida Film: "Lean," directed by Kevin O'Neil.
Special Jury Award for Acting: Amberlee Colson from the feature film "Worthy," directed by Marianna Palka.
Special Jury Award for Directing: "Across the Sea," directed by Nisan Dag and Esra Saddam.
Grand Jury Teleplay: "Razorhurst," written by Li Lu.
Audience Award Narrative Feature: "The Suffering," directed by Robert Hamilton.
Audience Award Short Film: "End of War, directed by Bernard E. James
Audience Award Student Short: "Wonder in the Smokies," directed by Drew Permutter.
Among the jurors were actor Andre Holland ("The Knick," "Selma"), Leslie Cohen, HBO's vice president of programming, and Julie La'Bassiere, the CEO of BAFTA NY.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.