PALM BEACH, FL (April 26, 2007) – It was a true celebration of film as the Palm Beach International Film Festival celebrated its 12th installment. After a week of screenings, the jury votes were tallied to determine the winners for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Director, Screenplay and Performances, while audiences voted for their favorite in categories of features, documentaries and shorts. Jury winners were announced at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony. (The Audience Choice Awards will be announced at the closing night film.)
The jury for the 12th PBIFF consisted of: David Hunter, former Hollywood Reporter film critic and Emmanuel Itier, film producer, who judged Feature Films; Aideen Ratteray-Pryse, Director of the Bermuda International Film Festival and April Timmerman of Warner Bros. Pictures, who voted on documentaries; Conrad Bachmann, former governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences judged the Short Films. The jury was particularly appreciative of the effort each filmmaker put into their projects and felt they should be commended for the creative energy that went into each film! The winning films were:
The Award for Best Feature Film went to Dan Wolman’s
The film tells the story of a sensitive and complex relationship between a mother and her son, who is dying from AIDS. The film was Wolman’s directorial debut. “Veteran director Dan Wolman created a classic, sometimes heart-breaking drama that acknowledges the temporary state of our lives on earth but finds hope in the power of human love,” said features juror David Hunter.
The Award for Best Director of a Feature Film went to Nicole van Kilsdonk for her film
a charming comedy
about a boy who is the eleventh male in a family of soccer players.
They make up a complete team, but Johan defies them all by wanting to be a singer.
he Award for Best Screenplay went to Scott Dacko for his film
which stars Henry Simmons, John Shea and Mary Stuart Masterson about four politically radicalized Americans who build a truck bomb to spark the revolution.
Two Awards were given for Best Performance in a Feature Film:
for his role in Michael Schroeder’s “Man In The Chair,”
for her performance in “Tied Hands.”
“As one of countless, mostly unsung craftsmen, Plummer’s performance and emotional presence proves the point that one is never too old to be young again and that in life our mission is to pass on to the next generation our love for our craft and life,” said Itier. Hunter continued, “And as the desperate mother of a son dying of AIDS, who in one night learns what she has always had and what she is about to lose, acclaimed Israeli actress Almagor’s haunting performance is one current audiences and future generations will cherish with ‘Tied Hands’.”
A Special Jury Prize for Best Feature also went to
“Maurice Richard/The Rocket.”
“With this superb historical
reconstruction we are taken on a ride to hell and back to heaven
where the human soul refuses to bend and keep skating
over the cruelty of destiny,”
said Features juror Emmanuel Itier.
In addition the jury chose to recognize the cast of
“Adrift in Manhattan”
with a special Ensemble Award
for their “mesmerizing and haunting performances,”
under the lead of charming
Heather Graham along
with William Baldwin, Dominic Chianese, Victor Rasuk and Elizabeth Penna.
The Award for Best Documentary Feature went to
“A Crude Awakening – The Oil Crash.”
Directed by Ray McCormack,
this documentary examines the state of the world's dwindling oil resources. “‘A Crude Awakening’ is a clear winner for the Best Documentary Prize,” said juror Ratteray-Pryse, “It forces us to reflect on our casual expectation that the oil will last forever. It is indeed time to wake up and deal with the imminent end of cheap oil. Filmmakers, Ray McCormack and Basil Gelpke, tell us with clarity and a refreshing lack of drama that we are glibly sucking dry a non-renewable resource. This is a ‘must see’ and a fine example of documentary filmmaking.”
The Award for Best Short Film went to
“Cold Kenya” directed by Lawrence Walsh.
A young Warsaw businessman tries to reconcile his newfound wealth and success with the pain of Poland's past. Over the span of one week, he tries to shake the recent doubts he has over the decisions he has made and get his life back on track. Shorts juror Conrad Bachmann said he “felt that it had an Orson Wellian sense of feel, reminding me of Well's classic.”
The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film went to
Written and directed by Evan Lieberman and starring former West Palm Beach resident and Alexander Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts graduate, Mary Elise Hayden and Trent Gill and Greg Cipes.
Alex, a college-aged virgin and budding musician, becomes obsessed with tracking down the subject of some provocative graffiti. Through his experience, Alex becomes the only one that uncovers the infamous Kathy T's secret and discovers a whole new set of friends, a music career and an end to his mediocre life.
The Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature went to
“Darius: Goes West – The Roll of His Life,”
directed by Logan Smalley.
Eleven college students rent an RV to take Darius Weems, 15, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, on a cross-country road trip. Their goal is to convince MTV's 'Pimp My Ride' to customize Darius's wheelchair. Along the way, they find joy, brotherhood and the knowledge that life, even when imperfect, is always worth the ride. Note: The filmmakers could not be present to accept their award, due to their wanting to be with Darius as he attends his first High School Prom.
The Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film went to
“And Behold, There Came A Great Wind /V'Hinei Ruach Gedola Ba'a,”
directed by Ziv Alexandrony. As part of the Israeli Sidebar, this film portrayed The Gaza withdrawal as seen through the eyes of three long-time residents over an eight-month period. Without demonizing either the settlers or the soldiers or sensationalizing the painful military action, the filmmaker gives a sensitive, even-handed picture of one of Israel’s most significant events.
Winners of the 5th Annual Voices of Local Film Awards were also announced.
Those winners were Best Picture – “Drivers Seat”;
Best Director – Ramiro Hernandez of “Replay”;
Best Screenplay – “Drivers Seat” written by Afgen Sheikh
Best Performance was given to Clint Merritt of “Drivers Seat.”
The Frownie Award for best Close-up of an actress went to
Kerri Russell of “The Waitress.”
The center of the Film Festival were the filmmakers.
Randi Emerman, PBIFF Director, commented,
“This year, for me, it was refreshing and inspiring to have had the honor to discover so many wonderful filmmakers whose films unveiled a wide swath of experiences…they entertained and dazzled us, they made us laugh and cry, but more importantly, they made us think!”
Following the awards ceremony, longtime friend of PBIFF,
Robert Davi introduced his new film, marking his directorial and writing debut, “The Dukes” about a a doo wop group (The Dukes (Chazz Palminteri and Robert Davi) who at 22 were at the top of the world, find themselves struggling for survival in 2007. Their manager (Peter Bogdanovich) is desperately trying to get them work but at each turn is met with failure. Finally pushed to the extreme, they pull a heist only a fool would attempt, which leaves them even more desperate. When all seems lost, they find themselves.
Following the film, festival attendees and filmmakers moved over to Pranzo Restaurant for a private closing night celebration. For more information visit the web site at http://www.pbifilmfest.org