Kenneth Lonergan's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner You Can Count on Me was the big winner at AFI Fest 2000, adding two more honors to its credit: the New Directions in American Independents Award for best feature in that category, and Best New Writer for Lonergan, who also wrote the drama about a reunited brother and sister. Actor Rob Morrow garnered a Special Jury Mention in the New Directions category for his directorial debut, Maze (which also happens to feature You Can Count on Me's Laura Linney). Morrow also stars in the film as a sculptor afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome.
Winning top honors in the International Competition was Blackboards, an Iranian drama about schoolteachers on the Iran-Iraq border from writer-director Samira Makhmalbaf. In the Documentary Competition, Arlene Donnelly was recognized for Naked States, her film about a New York photographer who takes pictures of nude people in public places. Gaea Girls, Kim Longinotto and Jano Willams portrait of Japanese female wrestling, earned a Special Jury Mention.
Peter Sova's photography of the British crime thriller Gangster No. 1 earned him the Kodak Vision Award in Cinematography. Richard Miller and Ellen Rigas Venetis, producers of the period drama Songcatcher, won the remaining juried prize of the festival, Producer to Watch.
The festival's audience awards went to a different assortment of films. Voted Best Feature was Love's a Bitch (Amores Perros), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's ambitious multi-character drama from Mexico. Top documentary honors went to Homeland, Jilann Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson's portrait of four Native American families living at a reservation in South Dakota. Oliver Dieckmann's Ordinary Love, an unconventional romance from Germany, snagged the Best Short award.
- Grand Jury Prize:
Blackboards, directed by Samira Makhmalbaf
- New Directions Prize:
You Can Count on Me, directed by Kenneth Lonergan
- Special Jury Mention (New Directions):
Maze, directed by Rob Morrow
- Best New Writer:
Kenneth Lonergan, You Can Count on Me
- Producer to Watch Award:
Richard Miller and Ellen Rigas Venetis, Songcatcher
- Discovery Documentary Competition Prize:
Naked States, directed by Arlene Donnelly
- Special Jury Mention (Documentary):
Gaea Girls, directed by Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams
- Kodak Vision Award in Cinematography:
Peter Sova, Gangster No. 1
- Best Feature:
Love's a Bitch (Amores Perros), directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
- Best Documentary:
Homeland, directed by Jilann Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson
- Best Short:
Ordinary Love, directed by Oliver Dieckmann
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AFI Fest 2000 Award Winners/text © Michael Dequina