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Sarasota Film Fest jurors can't agree; fund gets prize

The Sarasota Film Festival concluded Sunday after 10 days, hundreds of films and eight jurors who couldn't agree which movies deserved prizes. In a prepared statement, jury spokesman and Bravo channel board member Paul Gratton announced that all of the $10,000 would instead be used to establish "an emerging Florida filmmakers fund for the cultivation of the enormous talent in the region."

Filmmakers whose works had been in competition for prizes mostly refused to comment on the decision, although documentary filmmaker Laurie Kahn-Levitt (Tupperware!) said: "When you bring a film for competition you don't expect to have a hung jury." Like other filmmakers contacted, Kahn-Levitt also diplomatically noted: "But I've had a great time in Sarasota."

Audience awards selected by moviegoers _ with no cash prizes _ were bestowed on Campbell Scott's Off the Map (best drama), A Tale of Two Pizzas (best comedy), My Uncle Berns (best documentary), Buddy (best foreign language film) and Chicken Party (best short subject). Dominic Silipo won the Emerging Filmmaker Award _ not related to the jury's decision _ for his short drama Mimmo & Paulie. Silipo will receive a prize package of Kodak film stock and Universal Studios Florida facilities usage valued at $20,000.

"You Got Served' debuts as top film

Recently split teen R&B band B2K's dance flick You Got Served debuted at No. 1 at the weekend box office with $16-million. The other new wide releases debuted weakly. The Perfect Score, featuring Scarlett Johansson and Erika Christensen as part of a group of teens swiping the SAT exam, was No. 5 with $5-million. Owen Wilson's comic crime caper The Big Bounce bombed with $3.3-million, finishing at No. 12. Rounding out the top five were Along Came Polly, second with $10.1-million, The Butterfly Effect, third with $9.95-million, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, fourth with $5.3-million.

Statue, festival honors reconsidered

The city of Augusta, Ga., doesn't feel good about James Brown. Plans to build a statue of the Godfather of Soul and to rename an annual music festival for him are on hold after Brown's arrest on a domestic violence charge Wednesday. Brown, 70, was released from jail Thursday. A widely circulated mug shot showed him wearing a bathrobe with his hair in a mess. The singer has denied accusations that he pushed his wife to the floor and threatened her with a chair in their Beech Island, S.C., home. If convicted of the domestic violence charge, he could face a $500 fine and 30 days in jail. Mayor Bob Young said he is awaiting the outcome of the case before deciding whether to put up the statue of Brown, who grew up in Augusta. "It's extremely unsettling and disturbing, but we will have to wait and see how this plays itself out," Young said.

_ From staff and wire reports

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