Closing the 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Sunday, January 13, the Palm Springs International Film Society announced "Then She Found Me" as one of the festival winners. At a luncheon at the Spencer's Restaurant, Helen Hunt's directorial debut film won the audience's heart that led to the snagging of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
The romantic comedy film starring Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick beat out other contenders, including "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation", "Late Bloomers", "The Band's Visit" and "Noodle". It made its U.S. premiere when it opened the Festival and is scheduled for limited release on April 25.
On the same occasion, the organizers also named out other Audience Award winner. "Autism: The Musical" directed by Tricia Regan that is shortlisted for the Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature nomination was given the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature thriving over "Body of War", "The Business of Being Born" and "The Pixar Story".
Meanwhile, a Croatian film "Armin" received the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year from a special jury of international film critics. Further, Song Gang-ho received FIPRESCI Award Best Actor for his performance in "Secret Sunshine", while Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu received FIPRESCI Award Best Actress for their performances in "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days".
Additionally, the New Voices/New Visions for first or second international films prize went to Germany's "Hounds", and the John Schlesinger Award for first feature was given to Israel's "The Champagne Spy". The Heineken Red Star Award was awarded to Nic Balthazar for "Ben X", while "The Band's Visit" was honored with the Bridging the Borders. Further information about the 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards' winners can be seen at PSFilmFest.org.