Ang Lee, Cynthia Nixon Honored at Provincetown Film Festival

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The 18th annual Cape Cod film event presented audience awards for best narrative feature to Anne Fontaine’s ‘The Innocents’ and for documentary to ‘The Music of Strangers’ and ‘Political Animals’ in a tie.

The 18th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival concluded Sunday, with the HBO Audience Awards going, for narrative feature, toThe Innocents, and for documentary, in a tie, toThe Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and Political Animals.

Also during the festival at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the previously announced 2016 Filmmaker on the Edge Award was presented to Ang Lee, while this year’s Excellence in Acting Award went to Cynthia Nixon.

A French-Polish co-production directed by Anne Fontaine, The Innocents (Agnus Dei) is a post-WWII historical drama inspired by true events, about a young French Red Cross worker who discovers a Warsaw convent where several nuns raped by Soviet “liberators” are now in the late stages of pregnancy and facing a crisis of faith. The film will be released in the U.S. by Music Box Films.

Morgan Neville’s The Music of Strangers follows world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his international music collective on their mission to inspire cross-cultural connections. The Orchard has U.S. rights. Political Animals, directed by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares, is a portrait of four lesbians elected to the California legislature whose tireless work yielded anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people.

The John Schlesinger Awards for first-time filmmakers also were presented, going for narrative to actor-turned-director Remy Auberjonois’ tense drama about an American female veteran’s struggle with PTSD following her return from Afghanistan, Blood Stripe; and for documentary, to Adam Irving’s Off the Rails, which follows a young New Yorker with Asperger’s syndrome whose obsession with the city’s transit system has led to him being jailed 32 times for victimless crimes.

Introducing Lee before conducting an onstage conversation with the Oscar-winning director, longtime Provincetown festival patron John Waters said: “Ang Lee may seem like he has sense and sensibility, but look at his career, it’s really nuts when you think about it. He’s made movies about suburban swingers, gay cowboys and lust-filled assassins. He made a brainy superhero movie, and a great film about Woodstock that I really loved that never even showed the music.”

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