In a ceremony held last night, the Tribeca Film Festival announced this year's winners of its competition categories. The top prizes went to Iranian drama About Elly for Best Narrative Feature and audience fave Racing Dreams for Best Documentary Feature.
About Elly, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, revolves around a group of "old college pals" who reunite for a weekend by the sea, a friendly outing that turns serious when one of the women disappears. The jury (Bradley Cooper, Richard Fischoff, Todd Haynes, Meg Ryan, and Uma Thurman) called the Iranian movie "a seamless piece of ensemble filmmaking." Racing Dreams, directed by Marshall Curry, follows three go-kart racers, ranging in age from 11 to 13, who are competing for a national champiomship that's considered "a huge stepping stone to auto racing's big show-NASCAR." The jury (Liz Garbus, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Spurlock, and Brian Williams) declared it to be "a completely compelling, entertaining film of incredible quality."
For his Norwegian comedy North, director Rune Denstad Langlo was recognized as Best New Narrative Filmmaker, while Ciarán Hinds (The Eclipse) and Zoe Kazan (The Exploding Girl) were honored as Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. In the documentary arena, Ian Olds won the award as Best New Documentary Filmmaker for Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, which tells the story of an Afghan "fixer" (defined as "someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate the gathering of news stories") and the "dangerous and unseen world of wartime news gathering." The recently-acquired Defamation received a Special Jury Mention.