Wayne Blair's first feature picked up an audience award at the recent Palm Springs Film Festival.
By
reuters.com

14 Jan 2013 - 10:34 AM  UPDATED 14 Jan 2013 - 10:34 AM

Jan 13 (TheWrap.com) - Australia's "The Sapphires" has captured the audience award as the top narrative feature at the Palm Springs Film Festival, fest organisers announced Sunday.

Directed by Wayne Blair, the film is based on the real-life story of an all-female Aboriginal singing group in 1960s Australia.

"Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" took the honors for documentary feature. Director Ramona Diaz's film recounts the dilemma the rock band Journey faced when the members tried to replace their lead singer Steve Perry, who quit the band.

The festival, which winds up Monday, will have screened 182 films from 68 countries, including 42 of the 71 foreign-language entries for this year's Academy Awards. Winners were announced at a luncheon held at Spencer's restaurant in Palm Springs.

"I couldn't be more delighted that our juries selected so many films by debuting and emerging directors for honors, in addition to the films they singled out from established filmmakers at this year's event," said festival director Darryl Macdonald.

Here's the full list of winners:

Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: "The Sapphires" (Australia)

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" (U.S.)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: "Fill the Void" (Israel)

Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film: Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano and Giovanni Arcuri from "Caesar Must Die" (Italy)

Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film: Emilie Dequenne from "Our Children" (Belgium)

New Voices/New Visions Award: "The Cleaner" (Peru)

Cine Latino Award: "Blancanieves" (Spain)

The John Schlesinger Award: "Stolen Seas" (Somalia/Kenya/U.K./Italy)

HP Bridging the Borders Award: "Jump" (Ireland/U.K.).