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SXSW 2011: Audience and jury awards go to Texan drama 'Natural Selection'

March 15, 2011 |  7:52 pm



A first-time filmmaker's story of a Christian housewife on a quest was the big winner at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival on Tuesday night.

"Natural Selection," directed by Robbie Pickering and starring Rachael Harris, won both the grand jury and audience awards at the Austin, Texas, festival. Harris, who played Ed Helms' controlling girlfriend in "The Hangover," is Linda White, a barren woman leading a sheltered existence in suburban Texas whose world is turned upside down when she discovers that her dying husband has an illegitimate son, played by Matt O'Leary. Harris and O'Leary also won two of the festival's three breakthrough-performance awards, with the third going to Evan Ross of the carjacking drama "96 Minutes."

The documentary jury winner was "Dragonslayer," Tristan Patterson's debut film about an Orange County professional skateboarder named Josh "Skreech" Sandoval.

"Kumare," Vikram Ghandi's story of transforming himself into a false prophet, won the audience documentary award.

The festival screened 140 features, and additional awards will be announced on Saturday. A complete list of Tuesday night's awards can be found at

-- Rebecca Keegan in Austin, Texas /@thatrebecca

Photo: Rachael Harris in "Natural Selection." Credit: SXSW