Here Alone and The Return have taken the top audience awards at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The awards, which include a cash prize of $10,000 and a piece of art for each winner, were given to the audience choices for the best films on Saturday night (23Apr16).
Here Alone, directed by Rod Blackhurst and starring Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson and Shane West, won the narrative award.
The film follows two groups of people who have managed to survive a terrible virus that has ravaged human civilisation. One group must fight to stay alive as it fends off the infected while living deep in the woods; while the other group is driven to madness, violence and insatiable appetite for blood.
The documentary award was taken home by The Return, written and directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway. Focusing on California's controversial three strikes law, the 2012 repeal of which led to many life-sentence prisoners being released, it concentrates on the issues faced by ex-cons as they reintegrate back into society.
"It's great to see audiences finding and supporting a true discovery film like Here Alone and the powerful and affecting documentary The Return," festival director Genna Terranova said of the award winners. "While very different films, both highlight the resilience of the human spirit."
Children of the Mountain, directed by Priscilla Anany, was the runner-up of the narrative audience award, and followed the story of a young woman in Ghana who tries to create a new life for herself and her deformed baby after giving birth.
Lloyd Kramer's Midsummer in Newtown was the runner-up of the documentary audience award, and focuses on the touching journey made by the pupils of Sandy Hook Elementary as they perform William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The project for the children, who survived the horrific shooting at their school in 2012 in which 20 pupils died, was started in an effort to help their emotional healing.
Throughout the film festival, which started on 13 April (16), audience members voted for films and documentaries on a scale of one to five stars.