The Provincetown International Film Festival, which describes its Cape Cod hometown as “America’s oldest art colony,” closed Sunday night, awarding its top prizes to four new films.
The HBO Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Toronto veteran Dirty Girl, an 80s comedy written and directed by newcomer Abe Sylvia. Set in small-town Oklahoma, the film follows Danielle, a teen known at her high school for her, shall we say, exploits who ends up befriending a closet case named Charlie she meets in a remedial parenting class. The film had its U.S. premier at Provincetown, and also stars William H. Macy.
Another first-timer, Cindy Meehl, took home the HBO Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature for Buck, about the horse trainer Dan “Buck” Brannaman. A proponent of natural horsemanship, a philosophy of training that focuses on the way that horses rather than humans think and communicate, Brannaman was one of the primary influences for the main character in the Nicholas Evans book that would later become Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer. The film screened at Sundance in June, where it was picked up by IFC Films; it's just starting its theatrical run.
The HBO Audience Award for Best Short film went to Hello Caller, Andrew Putschoegl’s six-minute short about a suicidal woman’s call to a prevention hotline gone hilariously wrong (seriously), while UCLA film student Neil Forbes’s 27, about an Iraq war vet, won the Student Film Grand Jury Prize.
Vera Fermiga, of Up in the Air and this year’s Higher Ground, received the Excellence in Acting award, while Albert Maysles, the cinéma vérité documentarian who made Grey Gardens, won the Career Achievement Award. Writer and director Darren Aronofsky took home Proviencetown’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award, given to an individual who “pushes the boundaries of the medium.” Past winners include Gus Van Sant and Quentin Tarantino.
Hello Caller Trailer:
Abe Sylvia talks Dirty Girl: