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Hamptons International Film Festival announces top prizes

Hamptons Film Festival, closing night film at Guild

Hamptons Film Festival, closing night film at Guild Hall "Still Alice," as Julianne Moore hit the red carpet with Wash Westmoreland. Moore plays a Columbia cognitive psychologist diagnosed with early on set Alzheimer's disease, seen here on Oct. 13, 2014. Credit: John Roca

A courtroom drama about women's rights in Israel and a documentary about an autistic man searching for a sexual partner took the top prizes at the 22nd Hamptons International Film Festival Monday.

The festival's Golden Starfish Awards and other jury prizes were handed out at the events hall adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church in East Hampton.

"Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem," about a woman unable to obtain a divorce under rabbinical law, won for best narrative feature. "We really believe the film may bring an awareness of a change," said co-director Shlomi Elkabetz, accepting the prize. His film is Israel's submission for the foreign language Oscar.

"The Special Need," in which two men help an autistic friend try to lose his virginity, won for best documentary. "I'm not only taking home a lot of memories of this town and this festival, but also this award," said producer Henning Kamm.

Lou Howe, writer-director of the locally filmed drama "Gabriel," won a $6,000 grant from Suffolk County. "I got married next door, so this place means a lot to us," Howe said.

Audience awards were to be tallied after Monday's closing-night screening of "Still Alice," starring Julianne Moore as a woman with Alzheimer's disease. The film was shot partially at Lido Beach.

Moore, a weekend Montauk resident, attended Monday night's screening, which was the U.S. premiere of the film.

She spoke about the Oscar buzz surrounding her performance, saying: "We make movies because we want people to see them, and thing about this kind of buzz is it means people will probably go," she said. "So, I'm thrilled. We all like praise, right?"

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