Charlizeth_degui_9293014_600As a young girl, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron wanted to be a dancer, not an actor.

But at the Film Independent/Los Angeles Film Festival’s "Spirit of Independence Award" dinner, she didn’t dance around why she ditched her ballet slippers for a Hollywood film career.

“I think I loved to dance because it was telling stories without speaking. I wasn’t the best dancer and I would never have made a good ballerina because I was too tall. But if you put me on a stage and told me I was a dying swan, I f]]>when Theron’s award presenter pal Woody Harrelson praised his friend’s acting skills.

“Charlize is amazing,” said Harrelson. “She is so good that she sometimes loses herself in her roles so completely that you can’t see Charlize anymore,” he said. “Except for “Monster,” of course, in which she played herself.”

Two other awards were given out Wednesday. Steve Collins, the writer/director of “Gretchen,” about a misfit teenage girl, won the Target Filmmaker Award. Director/producer Amy Berg won the Target Documentary Award for “Deliver Us From Evil.”

“Evil” is about Oliver O’Grady, a Northern California Catholic priest and troubled sexual predator who abused young boys in his parish for years. O’Grady’s on-camera confessions and his victims’s accounts are shocking. But it’s the Vatican’s closed-door response that is most chilling.

“This was a difficult film to make but even more difficult not to make,” Berg told the audience when accepting her award. “It was something I needed to explore.” 

Berg shot some of the footage while working as a producer at CNN. The network ended up doing the story but backed out when she wanted to go further with the project.

"Now CNN wants their name taken off the credits because the church is threatening to sue them," she explained, in between taking cell calls from her family and sipping the bubbly brought to her table by the hotel staff.

As well as a glowing red cylindrical award, both filmmakers received $50,000. What will Berg do with the money?   

"I’m going to use it to promote the film and do the festival circuit,” she said. “We have a distribution deal in the works and hopefully the film will be out in November. But none of this would have happened without this festival. Everyone here has been so amazing.”

Posted by:LATimes