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'The King's Speech' wins at Hamptons Film Fest

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein was in the audience as his film "The King's Speech" won the top audience award at the 18th annual Hamptons International Film Festival's awards ceremony Sunday night.

The film, starring Colin Firth as the stammering King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his eccentric speech therapist, won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Director Tom Hooper accepted the award.

"You certainly had some great movies," Weinstein, a first-time visitor to the festival, said afterward. "Obviously, we're very happy with 'The King's Speech.' "

The ceremony, held at Guild Hall in East Hampton, capped off a busy and unusually celebrity-filled day for the festival. Stanley Tucci spoke to an audience at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, the director Lee Unkrich ("Toy Story 3") spoke at an animation panel, and director Darren Aronofsky attended a screening of his closing-night film "Black Swan," starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

The mix of well-known actors and established industry types may be a reflection of the festival's inclusion of many films backed by studio muscle. The Weinstein Company had four films at the festival, including Julian Schnabel's "Miral." The centerpiece film, "The Debt," comes from Miramax; its star, Jessica Chastain, appeared at the festival. The opening-night film, "Barney's Version," came from Sony Pictures Classics; its star, Paul Giamatti, introduced the screening.

But the festival also retained its reputation for honoring smaller films. Its top jury prize, the Golden Starfish for Best Narrative Feature, went to the Czech drama "Mamas and Papas," about four couples facing parenthood. It also won the award for best screenplay. The jury's documentary award went to "Circo," about a family-run Mexican circus.

Partway through the ceremony, festival board member Alec Baldwin told the audience, "I'm always depressed, because it's coming to an end. I don't want to go back to work, I don't want go back to the city. I want to stay and watch movies for another week."

The festival continues Monday with screenings of many of the award winners.

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