March 29th, 2011

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Lent Day 21 PBiFF16 Audience Awards

It was a true celebration of film as the Palm Beach International Film Festival celebrated its 16th installment with tremendous success. Filmmakers were welcomed from around the world, sharing their films with enthusiastic – and many times, sold out – audiences. And Palm Beach County did not disappoint either, providing the perfect sun-kissed backdrop.

After a week of screenings, the votes were tallied to determine the winners for Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, while audiences voted for their favorite in categories of features, documentaries and shorts. Competition winners were announced at an afternoon cocktail reception at the host hotel, The Delray Marriott. The Audience Choice Awards will be announced at the closing night after-party for at Deck 84.

The Award for Best Feature Film went to The First Grader, from the UK, directed by Justin Chadwick and starring Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge and Sam Feuer. The film, which was a real crowd-pleaser at the Telluride Film Festival, is the true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford. Producer Richard Harding was on hand to accept the award.

The Award for Best Documentary Feature went to The Rescuers, directed by Michael King and produced by Joyce Mandell, The film traces the journey of Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist who teams up with Sir Martin Gilbert, the renowned Holocaust historian, to travel across 15 countries and three continents interviewing survivors and descendants of the diplomats who rescued tens of thousands of Jews from the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi death camps. While Nyombayire embarks upon this quest in an effort to uncover potential solutions for the ongoing genocide in Darfur and elsewhere, what emerges from their journey is more a testament to the ways in which the inherent good in the human spirit can trump institutional evil no matter what the circumstance. King and Mandell were on hand to accept the award.

The Award for Best Short Film went to Bedfellows, directed by Pierre Stefanos. Told in the style of an old children's fairy tale but set against the modern-day backdrop of New York City, the film follows the adventure of 20-something Bobby as he returns to the gay bar where he got his heart broken for the first time. Upon meeting and spending the night with an attractive stranger named Jonathan, Bobby dreams about what a lifetime relationship with him could be like. The dream takes us on a thirty-year journey of ups-and-downs in life and love. But what will happen when Bobby wakes up to reality in the morning? Director Stefanos was on hand to accept award.

Winners of the Best Feature and Best Documentary also received a copy of Showbiz Budgeting and Scheduling software.

The PBIFF Audience Choice Award for Best Feature went to Fully Loaded (World Premiere), written and directed by Shira Piven and starring Paula Killen, Lisa Orkin, Dweezil Zappa, Jake La Botz and David Koechner. Lisa and Paula, two unique single women are out for an LA "night out" when Paula's sexy hook-up with a total stranger turns confrontational. This "van-centric" film offers a rare opportunity to eavesdrop on their conversation and find out how women really feel about men, relationships and themselves. The conversation is current, the sound track is killer and the women are real.

The Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary went to 100 Voices: A Journey Home, directed by Matthew Asner (son of Ed Asner) and Danny Gold. A musical documentary that uniquely tells the history of Jewish culture in Poland. It highlights the current resurgence of Jewish culture through the personal reflections and musical selections of a group of cantors and acclaimed composer Charles Fox ("Killing Me Softly", "I Got A Name" and many more) who made an important historical mission to the birthplace of Cantorial music. The documentary will give generations the opportunity to learn about and re-embrace the Jewish culture that produced one of the most artistic and educated societies that once flourished in Europe. Above all, the film celebrates the resilience and the power of Jewish life, while telling the story of two peoples who shared intertwined cultures.

The Audience Choice Award for Best Short film went to Hard to Come By (World Premiere), directed by Dale Peterson. Alex McCollister always thought he would go first. But a year after he took early retirement, Alex lost his wife of 32 years to cancer. He never contemplated the devastating pain or loneliness of losing the most important person in his life. The pain of his loss and the pain of a new medical condition were almost too much to bear. 'Can't you just cut the damn thing out?' he asks his doctor. But the Doc and a young woman named Patricia had other things in store for him. And what seemed like a hopeless dead end became, for Alex McCollister, the beginning of a new life.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

LENT DAY 21: Thoughts about the Palm Beach International Film Festival

Since first submitting an application to the Palm Beach International Film Festival in 2003, Cinema Dave thought it would be a one shot deal and when the organizers realized that he only wrote for a weekly newspaper, the organizers would declare him a phoney.

Instead this relationship has blossomed through the years and the organizers have become good friends. We greet and depart with hugs and kisses. Having not covered this year's film festival as much as the previous years, Cinema Dave realized how he missed these fine people.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

LENT DAY 21 "Mars needs Moms" is better than the box office suggests...

With a title like **Mars needs Moms,** one can figure out the plot points and then wonder why this film was not released on Mother's Day. It is full mix of the frantic action mixed with corny homespun values about respecting motherhood, nothing more than a Saturday Matinee diversion for families that should please children and parents. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

This performance capture motion picture opens with the Martians observing domestic life of humans on earth. The Martians observe bratty children with ineffectual adults. However they run across a mother (Joan Cussack the most recognizable voice) discipline her teenaged son, Milo (Seth Green, a surprising voice). Milo says something mean to his mother and makes her cry. Moments later, the Martians abduct Mother and take her to Mars.

Milo gives chase and accidentally goes to Mars with his Mommy. Milo spends the rest of the movie trying to rescue his Mom from the Martians. Along the way, Milo meets Gribble (Dan Fogler) , a 30 year old over grown child who claims to from the Reagan Administration's Secretnaut Program and Ki (Elisabeth Harnois), a Martian artist who confronts the conforming behavior of her Martian Government run by some prune faced elders.

To the screen writers credit, **Mars Needs Moms** balances the struggle between parents and children. The Martian Administration chose a society with rigid discipline, because that is the way things have been done in the past.

It is only with the fresh eyes of Milo, that one sees the absurdity of the Martian Culture that lacks emotional connection. Played out on the Martian landscape, one sees the battle between order & chaos that is played in every household in America.

Of note, **Mars needs Moms** opened at the Museum of Discovery IMAX Theater. For a few dollars more, one can explore the astronomy exhibit that places special emphasis upon Mars. One can take a 9 minute excursion on the Mars surface and see the largest mountain on the solar system. Given 3 D visuals on the 6 storey screen, this interactive museum exhibit will enhance the learning experience.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

LENT DAY 21 "Insidious" is a tribute to stagecraft

**Insidious** will open on many screens this April Fool‘s Day Friday. From the creators of the original **Saw** and **Paranormal Activity,** **Insidious** is creepy horror movie made for the fans of the genre. With nods towards **Poltergeist,** **The Sixth Sense** and **The Exorcist,** writer Leigh Whannell and Director James Wan deliver the jolts and laughs required for a film of this genre.

While playing in the attic of their new home, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) becomes catatonic. After visiting medical specialist after media specialist, the father (Patrick Lambert) learns from his mother (Barbara Hershey) that the solution could have a paranormal answer. Noted Paranormal Psychic Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) investigates the mystery that involves visiting the astroplane in the 4th dimension.

Don’t let the paranormal mumbo jumbo distract you. **Insidious** is a triumph of technical artistry over low budget. Instead of overwhelming the viewer with CGI special effects, **Insidious** contains “old school” special effects, creating a more intimate experience. **Insidious** proves that stagecraft is alive and well in the motion picture world.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

LENT DAY 21 "Another Harvest Moon" includes a visit with Ernest and Doris

There is just too much happening these days in our cinematic neighborhood!
No fooling, this Saturday evening, 90 year old Ernest Borgnine will romance Ray Romano’s Mama (Doris Roberts) this weekend at Cinema Paradiso. Both Borgnine and Roberts will attend the screening of their new movie, **Another Harvest Moon.**

Sent in a nursing home, **Another Harvest Moon** examines the aging process and the effects upon the family. While the subject is serious, life affirming humor rules the day. Besides Borgnine and Roberts, this fine ensemble cast features Piper Laurie, Anne Meara, Cybil Shepherd and Amber Benson. Already there is Oscar buzz for Borgnine’s performance. Besides Cinema Paradiso, **Another Harvest Moon** will also be screened at the Living Room Theater on the FAU campus.