After 26 days and over 200 screenings, The 22nd Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), came to a close November 11. The Jury and Audience votes were tallied to determine the winners in six competition categories: U.S. Independent and World Cinema (including Features, Shorts and Documentaries), Independent Spirit, Humanitarian, College, High School. In addition, the festival presented two tribute awards, The Career Achievement Award and Star on The Horizon Award.
The jury consisted of Associate Editor for Orlando Magazine and former Orlando Sentinel film critic, Jay Boyar; Mark Moorman, Independent Filmmaker; Tom Swick, Travel Writer Sun-Sentinel; Wil Shriner, actor/director/writer/comedian; Richard Borges, Executive Director of Fort Lauderdale Historical Society; Cristina Roldan, Media Arts Specialist for Broward Cultural Division; Shane Eason, Film Professor at FAU; and Deerfield Observer film writer, Dave Montalbano.
The 2007 festival was attended by over 200 directors, producers, talent and industry representatives, from around the world, who introduced their work to South Florida audiences. Celebrities attending FLIFF this year included Dennis Farina and Richard Kind for Opening Night and the Southeast Premiere of the knock-down funny mockumentary, THE GRAND; Eric Roberts and Keith David for East Coast Premiere of the action film, THE BUTCHER; Mary Stuart Masterson for her directorial debut and Southeast Premiere of the poignant drama, THE CAKE EATERS; Stephen Baldwin for the East Coast Premiere of inspirational drama, MIDNIGHT CLEAR.
Gary Sinise, who fielded questions from the audience during an hour-long discussion, was presented with the Festival’s Career Achievement Award. Jeremy Renner, who starred in and attended on behalf of the film TAKE, was presented with the Star on The Horizon Award.
The winning films were:
AWARDS FOR U.S. INDEPENDENT & WORLD CINEMA
Includes Features, Shorts and Documentaries.
Best Feature Film: THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY, the remarkable true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the successful and charismatic editor-in-chief of French Elle.
Best Documentary: CHOPS, followed T.J., Owen and other aspiring jazz musicians as they competed with elite bands from all over the country.
Best Short Film: WEDNESDAY, a romantic story of Sam and Lilya who meet by chance, but in fact their first meeting was 25 years before on a Wednesday.
Best Comedy: MAGICIANS, the uproariously comedy that pokes fun at Magicians starring British Peep Show comedians, David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
Best Experimental Film: THE CHOSEN ONE, an animated feature with the voices of Tim Curry and Traci Lords follows one man who has been prophesized as “The Chosen One” and must overcome ninjas, thugs, femme fatales, and the baddest group of priests and rabbis this side of the Holy Land in order to achieve the ultimate enlightenment.
Best Director: Paolo Virsi for NAPOLEON ET MOI, a comedy from France / Italy starring Daniel Auteuil, Elio Germano, Monica Bellucci about a young man who finds himself serving as librarian to the Great Emperor in exile, whom he deeply hates yet soon begins recording Napoleon's memoirs. Among seductions and affairs, expectations and fears, he crafts a precise portrait that never less will not manage to hide a final, inevitable, disappointment.
Best 1ST Time Director: Charles Oliver for TAKE, which explores the corrosive effects of hatred and resentment as it follows the lives of two strangers, a struggling mother (Minnie Driver) and a gambling addict (Jeremy Renner), who converge in unspeakable tragedy. Years later, they must come to terms with themselves and one another. As two pivotal days, one past and one present, unfold in a non-linear mosaic.
Best Actor & Best Actress: Phillip Seymour Hoffman & Laura Linney for THE SAVAGES, a brilliantly comic look at the fate of two grown siblings forced to re-examine their family lives and their career paths when they have to team up to care for their aging father
Renaissance Award: D.B. Sweeney for writing, producing, directing & starring in the road-trip buddy movie TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE.
Best Gay/Lesbian Film: LOOKING FOR CHEYENNE, from France stars Mila Dekker, Aurelia Petit and portrays a young unemployed journalist who decides to leave Paris to live a marginal life in the country and leaves behind Sonia, the woman she loves.
Best FX Feature: THE BANQUET, a lavish, incredible, epic film from China. Described as a loose adaptation of “Hamlet”, The Banquet, tells a tale of fate and revenge set in 10th century China.
Best FX Short: LUCIFER, featuring stunning visuals and edge of your seat action, is the first of a trilogy concerning the greatest battle epic since Creation and the fall of the exalted Angel who fell from grace, Lucifer.
Audience Award for Best American Indie: THE CAKE EATERS, a poignant drama about a prodigal son's return that conjures up old ghosts for three generations of two different families in a small, quiet town. Mary Stuart Masterson's debut feature film unfolds the intimate secrets and tensions that compel these families to move forward. The dynamic ensemble cast features Kristin Stewart, Aaron Stanford, Bruce Dern, Jayce Bartok, Elizabeth Ashley and Miriam Shor.
Audience Award for Best In World Cinema: MANUALE D’AMORE 2, the sequel directed by award winning writer-director, Giovanni Veronesi, is a stylish, intimate comedy that explores four new chapters of Love: ‘Eroticism,' ‘Maternity,' ‘Marriage,' and ‘Extreme Love.' The cast features some of Italy's biggest stars including Monica Bellucci, Carlo Verdone, Sergio Rubini, and Riccardo Scamarcio as well as the talented Spanish actress, Elsa Pataky.
Audience Award for Best Documentary: AUTISM THE MUSICAL, counters today's bleak statistics with one woman's optimistic pledge to lead a group of autistic children in defying diagnosed expectations by writing, rehearsing and performing their own full-length musical.
Audience Award for Best Short Film & The Peoples Choice Award: THE STREET CLEANER, unfolds with the disappearance of prostitutes from Savannah's Historic District and follows one savvy streetwalker who believes it could never happen to her. She could also be dead wrong.
Audience Award Florida Feature: ON THE JOB TRAINING the urban comedy about success and how to get it.
SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE AWARDS
Comedy: BODY/ANTIBODY, a darkly comic thriller, tied with FLOAT, a comedy about a perennial loser and his dream to make an 'Oscar-worthy' film about a floating women's prison.
Originality: BOOK OF NOAH, a dark comedy about a do-good dog knapper.
Drama: STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING, stars Frank Langella, Lili Taylor and Lauren Ambrose. Based on the award-winning novel by Brian Morton, the drama is about a once-famous New York writer who is both shaken and emboldened when a beautiful graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) invades his solitude to mine his life for her thesis about his novels.
Ensemble: STILL GREEN, a story of secret crushes, crippling insecurities, excitement for the future, rumors and secrets, and crossing the line between friendship and sexual attraction features a host of emerging young talent including Vonzell Solomon, Sarah Jones, Douglas Spain, Noah Segan, and Ryan Kelley.
Direction: RESERVATIONS – a bittersweet comedy about people whose lives intersect inside a hotel.
Science Fiction: SUSPENSION, a thriller about a man who develops the power to stop time via a camera pause button, after a car crash.
Script: MIDNIGHT CLEAR, an inspirational drama about 5 people whose lives connect bringing enlightenment on Christmas Eve.
Production: PORTAGE, a sensual, intense, drama about a quartet of teenage girls that face a grueling and desperate trip back to civilization while camping in the Canadian Wilderness.
Documentary: THE HIDDEN CHILDREN, the hair-raising stories of four children secretly hidden from the Nazis.
Short Film: MOST, THE BRIDGE – a memorial for those who lost their lives in war, this film depicts a story of 13 young who, in 1992, disappeared on a bridge in Bosnia.
FLORIDA FILM AWARDS
Best Florida Short: JUST DESSERTS, about a man who sets out to find true love after receiving a very specific fortune in a fortune cookie.
Best Florida Documentary: UNDERWATER: THE MAKING OF THE KEY WEST NUTCRACKER, Filmed in Key West, the stormy saga of a woman driven to produce her vision of the Nutcracker ballet despite great financial loss, mounting personal problems, little community support and violent hurricanes.
Collegiate Competition Finalists
The first place winner wins a $1000.00 product grant from KODAK
1st Place: Fish - School of Visual Arts, dir. Hyun Jeen Lee
2nd Place: Shark Suit – NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, dir. Stephen Neary
3rd Place: Zoologic - California Institute of the Arts, dir. Nicole Mitchell
4th Place: Doxology- Rhode Island School of Design, dir. Michael Langan,
5th Place: Papiroflexia - UCLA, dir. Joaquin Baldwin
1st Place: 20Q: Southern Adventist Univ, dir. Benjamin Keith
2nd Place: House of the Olive Trees - UCLA, dir. Thouly Dosios
3rd Place: Proof of Birth- Columbia University, dir. Jose Luis Orbegozo
4th Place: The Death Strip - UCLA, dir. Nicole Haeusser
5th Place: The Line - Chapman Univ, dir. Kent Bassett
1st Place: China A Will to Rise - Brooks Institute of Photography
2nd Place: A Global Price - NYU, dir. Jacqueline Reeves
3rd Place: Original: Selling Von Dutch - Univ CA Berkley, dir. Julie B. Christensen
4th Place: Snip/Snip - FSU, dir. Nick Zayas
5th Place: Land of Promise - The Story of Allensworth: Univ CA Berkley, dir. Pamela Harris
1st Place: Tiffin - Columbia College Chicago, dir. Ai Lene Chor
2nd Place: Morning Fall - Columbia Univ, dir. Edward McGinty
3rd Place: Negotiations - Chapman Univ, dir. Ethan Cushing
4th Place: Camion de CargA - FSU, dir. Juan Sebastian Jacome
5th Place: Dear Lemon Lima - Columbia University, dir. Suzi Yoonessi
HIGH SCHOOL FILM AWARDS
Music Video: AT THE ZOO - directed by Aaron Davidson, Hebrew Academy of Miami Beach
Experimental: COMMODITY - directed by Suprena Henderson, Delcita Barnfield of the Downtown Community Television Center in Manhattan
Personal Documentary: DEPENDENT - Richard Memminger of the Downtown Community Television Center in Manhattan
Cause Documentary: UNTIL IT ENDS - directed by Bryce Mackie of Lakeview High, Battle Creek, MI
Investigative Documentary: ETERNAL HIGH - directed by Bryce Mackie of Lakeview High, Battle Creek, MI
Animation: THE CHASE - directed by North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, Great Neck, NY
Comedy: TRICK OR TREAT - directed by Frankie Teuber of James Bowie High School, Austin Texas
Best Drama: THE CHOICE - directed by Shaneez Tyndall & Erica Ofori of Elia Middle School, Toronto, Canada
Best Video: JUST - directed by James Marcus Hanley of Arcadia High School, Arcadia, CA
ARCADIA - directed by Katie Flynn of Canyon Crest High School, San Diego, CA
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER - directed by Melissa Mergner of Montgomery Blair High, Silver Springs Md
THEORY OF FEAR - directed by Ashlee Whitaker, Ashley Southerland, Bertham Henry, Dontay Clement, Earlene Stevens, Jarayah Bolton, Krystal Hall, Lachelle Innis, Malcolm Johnson, Mark Santos, Mary Sow, Medina Watson, Tyjia Peterson of Harlem Children’s Zone, NY
TWISTED FATE - directed by Sepabra Brathwaite of the Florida Film Institute, Miami
Festival Sponsors include: Broward County, Nova Southeastern University, Broward County Cultural Division, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Comcast, Steve Savor, Florida Arts & Culture, Sony, Miniaci Performing Arts Center, Turnberry & Associates, National Endowment for the Arts, Diversified Health, Wachovia, Regal Cinemas, Air France, Jet Blue, DeSantis Center for Motion Picture Industry Studies, Funding Arts Broward (FAB!), Town of Davie, AutoNation, Dolphin Stadium, Alpine Jaguar, MetroPCS, Dubhouse, Toast To Humanity™, Downtown Hollywood, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Las Olas Magazine, Weston Magazine, Estate Magazine, Parkland Magazines, New Times BPB, The 411, Express Gay News, Genre Magazine, JumpOnMarksList.com, Go Riverwalk Magazine, BIG 105.9, WLRN-FM, Deco Drive, Celtic Communications, Kodak, Enterprise Rent A Car, Morgan Stanley, British Air, Gallery One, Promenade News, Adorno & Yoss, Bacardi, Cannon Business Solutions, Davie Chamber of Commerce, Davie CRA, Essentials Boutique, Management Group Inc, Media Freight, National Brands, Weston Town Center.