Santa Barbara’s Film Festival winners announced

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The Independent Culture

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced the winners of its 2010 festival competition with the UK's Exam taking the independent cinema award and Finland's Letters to Father Jaakob winning the top honor for international films.

This year, celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival awarded most of the Oscar nominees with special tributes, guaranteeing a star-packed event, considering its proximity to Los Angeles.

Kudos went to James Cameron who took the Modern Master prize, Kathryn Bigelow got the director trophy, and a host of actors were honored, including Colin Firth, Vera Farmiga, Carey Mulligan, and newcomers Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) and Gabourey Sidibe, who were presented with Virtuoso awards.

Exam, directed by Stuart Hazeldine, follows eight candidates attempting to join a mysterious, powerful corporation by answering a simple question with complex rules.

Letters to Father Jaakob (Postia pappi Jaakobille) from Finnish director Klaus Härö, about a former female prisoner living with a blind old priest, who face a dilemma.

Other awards were presented as follows:
The Nueva Vision Award for best Spanish/Latin American film: The Wind Journeys, directed by Ciro Guerra about two men on a journey, discovering unexpected truths.

The East Meets West Cinema Award: South Korea's Mother (Madeo), directed by Joon-ho Bong, about a mother who searches for the killer who framed her son for murder.
Best Documentary went to Enemies of the People, a UK/Cambodia co-production, directed by Rob Lemkin about the Khmer Rouge and the killing fields of Cambodia.