Jamie Dack’s Sundance Winner ‘Palm Trees and Power Lines’ Triumphs at Torino Film Festival

Southern Californian director Jamie Dack’s coming-of-age drama “Palm Trees and Power Lines” was crowned best film as the 40th edition of the Torino Film Festival wrapped Saturday. The award is worth €18,000 ($18,967).

Dack, winner of the Sundance Film Festival directing award in the U.S. Dramatic section, also received Torino’s prize for best script, shared with her co-writer Audrey Findlay.

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Based on the 2018 short movie of the same name, Dack’s film stars Gretchen Mol, Jonathan Tucker and Lily McInerny, who plays a 17-year-old who has a life changing encounter with a man twice her age.

“Palm Trees” was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, including first feature for Dack and Leah Chen Baker; first screenplay for Dack and Audrey Findlay; supporting performance for Tucker; and breakthrough performance for McInerny.

The jury awarded “Rodeo,” the debut feature from French photojournalist-turned-filmmaker Lola Quivoron, with the special jury award (worth €7,000), and the prize for best actress to the film’s lead Julie Ledru. The film, which won Cannes’ 2022 Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, centers on a young woman who breaks into the male dominated and dangerous world of underground motocross riders.

Jojo Bapteise Whiting and Ladainian Crazy Thunder scooped the prize for best actor for their work in Gina Gammell and Riley Keough’s “War Pony,” which won the Golden Camera at the Cannes Film Festival.

Takeshi Kogahara’s thriller “Nagisa” received a Special Mention, thanks to “the richness and originality of his language.”

The international feature film awards were chosen by a jury made up of producer Nella Banfi, film critic Fabio Ferzetti, producer Mike Kaplan, director Martina Parenti and Fernando E. Juan Lima, president of the Mar Del Plata Film Festival.

The international documentary jury, made up of director Massimo D’Anolfi and producers Uljana Kim and Miguel Valverde, awarded two main prizes. The best film award (worth €6,000) went to Sierra Pettengill’s “Riotsville, USA,” while João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata’s “Where Is This Street? Or With No Before and After” won the special jury award.

The Italian documentaries competition saw the triumph of the directing collective Santabelva for their feature “Corpo dei giorni,” crowned best film with a prize worth €6,000; and Cecile Khindria and Vittorio Moroni’s “N’en parlons plus” received the special jury award.

Finally, the prize for best short (worth €2,000) in the Spazio Italia strand went to Ilaria Di Carlo’s oneiric tale “Sirens,” and the jury of the brand-new section Crazies, spearheaded by Lamberto Bava, awarded Michelle Garza Cervera’s horror flick “Huesera” the prize for best film.

Artistic director Steve Della Casa highlighted how, despite some “imperfections,” this year’s edition ultimately managed to bring back large audiences to theaters, with long lines before every screening.

The 2023 edition of the Torino Film Festival will run from Nov. 24-Dec. 2.

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