Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) announced its jury prizes, the Target Filmmaker Awards, on Thursday night. These awards don't merely bring the filmmakers good publicity and critical acclaim -- each winning filmmaker receives a $50,000 cash prize. The Best Narrative Feature winner was August Evening, a Spanish-language drama about an undocumented older worker's relationship with his widowed daughter-in-law. The film is writer-director Chris Eska's feature debut. Texans might be interested to know that August Evening received Texas Film Production Fund grants in 2005 and 2006 (as did last year's winner, Gretchen ... LA must like those Austin filmmakers). August Evening landed a distribution deal this week with Maya Entertainment.

Billy the Kid (pictured at right) took home the Best Documentary Feature prize. The film, which follows a teenage boy in Maine, also won the documentary jury prize at SXSW this year. Monika Bartyzel caught a screening at Hot Docs and said, "Watching this documentary is an exercise in restraint -- the restraint not to write down everything that Billy says." The film is directed by first-timer Jennifer Venditti, and has stirred up some controversy lately for potentially exploiting its subject. LAFF has not yet announced its audience awards but will wait until Sunday, the festival's closing night.
categories Awards, Cinematical