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First La Costa Film Festival: Opener 'The Short Game' Wins Sport Film Contest, 'Decoding Annie Parker' Raises Charity Cash (TRAILER)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 26, 2013 at 10:24PM

The first La Costa Film Festival (October 24 to 27) was pitched to North County locals and for its first go-round, included not only three days of international narrative and documentary features and shorts but a sports film jury competition, keyed to the resort's golf focus. Josh Greenbaum's opening night movie "The Short Game" (Samuel Goldwyn Films) a slickly-shot documentary portrait of pint-sized golfers and their parents in the intense World Championships of Junior Golf, won Best Sports Feature.

Shorts in competition also included "The Red Pill," "Crooked Lines," and "Magnesium." The Fest closed with an open air gala for "At Middleton," starring local resident Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, and Taissa Farmiga in the story of two wildly different parents who meet while taking their kids on a college tour.

'The Crash Reel'
'The Crash Reel'

La Costa also screened 1989's "Field of Dreams" outdoors, and booked some fest circuit hits: "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors," winner of a Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival; French dramedy "Just a Sigh," which premiered at Tribeca; and Belgian bluegrass drama "Broken Circle Breakdown," which won the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as Best Actress and Best Screenplay awards at Tribeca; it's the Oscar submission from Belgium. 

The Documentary Showcase included an intimate portrait of Alzheimer’s, "The Genius of Marian," which premiered at Tribeca; "Walking the Camino," about walking the ancient 500-mile pilgrimage across Northern Spain known as “The Camino de Santiago"; and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, "William and the Windmill," which follows a young Malawian who rescued his family from famine by building a power-generating windmill from scrap parts.

Two films screened as part of the festival’s Surf Spotlight: "Isolated" and "H2indo." The festival’s family film will be "Khumba," an animated comedy from South Africa, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, featuring the voices of Steve Buscemi and Laurence Fishburne.

The jury this year included: former Chargers NFL kicker John Carney; former Laker and current CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad, Brad Holland; actor William Mapother ("Another Earth," "Lost"), Academy Award winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock ("Maya Lin: A Strong Vision," "Anita"); and Sports Director of San Diego’s KUSI-TV, Paul Rudy.

This article is related to: Festivals, Decoding Annie Parker

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.