CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,


The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) announced awards last night, November 9, 2008, for 28 of the 200 films that were featured during the
23rd Annual event between October 15 and November 11, 2008. President of FLIFF, Gregory von Hausch, hosted the presentation.

Taken by surprise when Gospel Hill was announced for Best Film of the Fest, director/actor Giancarlo Esposito’s first reaction was to call his daughter, Shayne. As he took the mic, Esposito told a heartfelt story of how he had just gotten off the phone with Shayne; how she had fished for two hours that day and caught nothing when her friends were reeling them in. At the last minute, she caught the biggest fish. Not minutes after the phone call, Giancarlo landed his. A late entry to the film festival, Gospel Hill, a gripping and dramatic tale, walked away with the big catch of the night…The Seashell Best of Fest Award. The Trophy, created by Uruguayan artist, Jesus Sosa, was presented to Esposito by Professor Nelson Pilosof, President of The World Trade Center of Montevideo.

The International Film Guide Award to the Emerging American or Canadian Filmmaker was presented by Sandy Mandleberger, representing Wallflower Press and The International Film Guide. The Award was presented to Brian Hecker for prom night comedy, Bart Got A Room.

Mark Fienberg, director of Play The Game, received the Audience Award for Best Indie Feature.
Fienberg, whose comedy Play The Game stars Andy Griffith, Doris Roberts, Liz Sheridan, and Paul Campbell, ran up to the stage to accept his honors. Fienberg commented, “This was our World Premiere; it’s the first time Play The Game was ever shown to an audience. “I’m blown away. This is a huge honor.”

Other awards: Best American Indie went to Lifelines directed by Rob Margulies, Best comedy went to I Do & I Don’t directed by Steve Blair, Best Director was presented to Mark Mahon for Strength and Honour, Best First-Time Director went to Chris Mason Johnson for The New Twenty, Best Actress Comedy went to Jane Lynch for I Do & I Don’t; Best Actor Comedy went to Melik Malkinson for The Autuer, Best Actor Drama went to Joe Anderson for The 27 Club, Best Actress Drama was Kristin Scott Thomas for I Loved You So Long, Best On-Screen Couple went to Amy Huberman & Adam Fergus for Satellites and Meteorites, Most Creative Concept was given to Courting Condi directed by Sebastian Doggart., Best Short Film went to Animated American directed by James Baker and Joe Haidar, and Best Documentary Film went to Neshoba directed by Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano.

Movie Going Audiences selected their favorites among all of the films and the festival programmers, Gregory von Hausch and Bonnie Leigh Adams select the Spirit of Independent awards (listed below)

A juried festival, The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, presented awards in a variety of categories for feature films, documentaries, shorts and Sunshine Celluloid (Films Made in Florida). Movie Going Audiences selected their favorites among all of the films.

Complete list of awards and Information regarding Jurors is below.

The 23rd Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Complete Listing of Film Awards

Juried Awards
The Seashell Best of Fest Award
GOSPEL HILL - directed by Giancarlo Esposito
In the town of Julia, SC, the residents of the black neighborhood of Gospel Hill are being forced out of their homes to make way for a multimillion-dollar golf course development. The film stars Angela Bassett, Julia Stiles, Danny Glover and Samuel L. Jackson.

International Film Guide Award
BART GOT A ROOM – directed by Brian Hecker
High school senior Danny Stein wants what any reasonable young man wants on prom night - to get a little lovin' from a cute girl. He's got the hotel, the limo, and the tux, and his recently divorced, slightly dysfunctional parents are rooting for him. He's only missing one thing -- the girl. Stars Steven J. Kaplan, William H. Macy, Cheryl Hines.

Best American Indy
LIFELINES – directed by Rob Margulies
The Bernstein's are not clicking on all cylinders. The family needs a tune-up…but you wonder if anything could help. Ira, the Dad is a Dr. of Dermatology. He often puts his foot down like the stamping of a feather. Nancy (mom) is literally at her wits end dealing with a Michael, the eldest, who is bursting with suppression, Meghan the evil-tongued daughter – abrasive and contemptuous. And then there's Spencer, the 12 year old who seemingly outwits all that challenge him in verbal battle. Stars Jane Adams, Joe Morton, Josh Pais.

Best Comedy
I DO & I DON’T – directed by Steve Blair
Three weeks before their wedding, Bob and Cheryl discover they have not taken the pre-marital classes required by their Catholic church. Their pastor arranges private classes for them with the Stelmacks, a couple whose seventeen year marriage is the definition of dysfunctional lunacy. Stars Jane Lynch, Matt Servitto, Alexei Gilmore and Bryan Callen.

Best Director
Mark Mahon
The story of an Irish-American boxer, Sean Kelleher, who accidentally kills his friend in the ring and promises his wife that he will never box again. However, years later, circumstances force him to take back that promise in order to save everything he loves. Stars Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Richard Chamberlain, Patrick Bergin.

Best Actor Comedy
Melik Malkinson
A mélange of romantic comedy and raunchy satire set in the world of adult film, THE AUTEUR is the story of renowned porn director Arturo Domingo, the creative genius behind classics like Five Easy Nieces and Requiem for a Wet Dream, who has arrived in Portland. Stars Melik Malkasian, Katherine Flynn, John Breen, Cara Seymour.

Best Actress Comedy
Jane Lynch
Bob and Cheryl are in love and blissfully ignorant of any secrets hiding in the nooks and crannies of each other hearts. Unfortunately the Stelmacks are determined to enlighten them, and encourage indiscriminate “sharing.” As the wedding approaches, Bob and Cheryl's emotional and physical scars accumulate. Will pre-martial counseling scupper their chances of making it down the aisle? Stars Bryan Callen, Alexie Gilmore, Matt Servitto, Jane Lynch.

Best Actor Drama
Joe Anderson
Eliot is the surviving member of the rock band Finn after his bandmate and best friend Tom commits suicide a week after his 27th birthday. With the help of small-town boy Three Words, and a young Irish hitchhiker, Eliot travels in a drug-enhanced stupor from LA to his home town Joplin, Missouri, to carry out Tom's last request. Stars: Joe Anderson, Alexie Gilmore, David Emrich.

Best Actress Drama
Kristin Scott Thomas
Two sisters who haven't seen each other for 15 years gradually rediscover common ground and a way of relating to each other in "I've Loved You So Long," a movie that is utterly engrossing despite being, on the surface, about very little. Toplined by Kristin Scott Thomas as the slightly frumpy older sister, this first feature by teacher-turned-scripter Philippe Claudel is a quality item for upscale French movie buffs. Stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein,

Best On Screen Couple
Amy Huberman & Adam Fergus
A quirky love story set in the subconscious imagination of two coma patients after a car accident in which they were both involved. Having never met prior to the accident, Daniel and Lucinda literally have a meeting of minds as they start down the windy road of romance, however, when the hospital where they both lie asleep tries to wake them up, they have to fight to stay in their dream, and to stay together

Best First-Time Director
Chris Mason Johnson
They're over-educated, hyper-sensitive, too smart and only occasionally cool. They're a motley crew, a circle of friends - and they're all about to turn thirty (the new twenty). As they make tough choices in work and love, these friends reflect a generation stuck between the irrational exuberance of Wall Street's last binge and the soul-searching of a new era.

Most Creative Concept
COURTING CONDI – directed by Sebastian Doggart:
Can one man with a dream win the heart of the world's most powerful woman? This is a documentary like none you have seen before: a musical docu-tragi-comedy – part Borat, part Fahrenheit 9/11, part Chicago. It follows a love-struck soul's hilarious, emotionally engaging and ultimately shocking quest to woo Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Stars Devon Retray.

Best Short Film
ANIMATED AMERICAN - directors James Baker and Joe Haidar: The future is about to collide with the past. Eric, a digital-loving executive on a mansion-hunting expedition, finds himself crossing swords with his realtor, Max, an out-of-work 'toon rabbit. Like it or not, Max will make Eric see things through the eyes of an "Animated American."

Best Documentary Film
NESHOBA - directors Micki DIckoff and Tony Pagano: NESHOBA tells the story of a Mississippi town still divided about the meaning of justice, 40 years after the murders of three civil rights workers. Although Klansmen bragged openly, no one was held accountable until 2005, when the State indicted and convicted Preacher Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old notorious racist.

Audience Favorites
Audience Favorite American Indie Feature
PLAY THE GAME – directed by Marc Fienberg
A ladies' man, David, teaches his dating tricks to his lonely, widowed grandfather Joe. But as David's games begin to fail him, Grandpa quickly transforms into the Don Juan of the retirement community. Slowly, the teacher becomes the student, and it's up to Grandpa to teach David that the best way to win the game of love is not to play games at all. Stars Andy Griffith, Doris Roberts, Liz Sheridan, Paul Campbell and Marla Sokoloff.

Audience Favorite Documentary
THEY CAME TO PLAY - directed by Alex Rotaru
They Came To Play portrays several of the world's greatest amateur classical pianists striving to balance their work, home and musical lives, and then follows them to Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation.

Audience Favorite Short
FRANK’S LAST SHOT – directed by Andrew Disney
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, Frank, an awkward, slouchy man, daydreams about football in a bathroom stall while his office is taken hostage. After a bullet whizzes through the wall, he leaves the bathroom in attempt to save everyone. A field goal Frank missed in high school haunts him, but a gun he finds on the floor fills him with confidence as he tries to become the hero he always wanted to be.

Audience Favorite Foreign Feature
PARAISO TRAVEL – directed by Simon Brand
A young, seductive woman named Reina living in Medellin, Colombia, becomes infatuated with finding fortune in New York City. A young man named Marlon falls desperately in love with this rebellious teen. Entangled in her web of fantasies, Marlon has no other choice but to blindly follow her imposing lead. Driven by their will to reach their dreamland, the two embark on the brutal exodus of the Latin-American immigrants who cross illegally through Mexico. This adventure in narrated by Marlon on his voyage to find his love, his heroine, his Reina. The couple is separated upon arrival in New York, and Marlon, fueled only by the power of love, will go through hell and back trying to find her. This is his story.

Spirit of Independent Features
THE 27 CLUB – directed by Erica Dunton
Eliot is the surviving member of the rock band Finn after his bandmate and best friend Tom commits suicide a week after his 27th birthday. With the help of small-town boy Three Words, and a young Irish hitchhiker, Eliot travels in a drug-enhanced stupor from LA to his home town Joplin, Missouri, to carry out Tom's last request. Stars: Joe Anderson, Alexie Gilmore, David Emrich.

THE MAP READER – directed by Harold Brodie
Sixteen-year-old Michael escapes the realities of his small-town New Zealand life by immersing himself within a world of maps. Yet his seemingly-happy isolation is broken by the serendipitous arrival of two young women into his life. Mary is twenty and blind from birth, on the verge of voyaging into the world on her own. Alison is Michael's peer, whose grace betrays darker secrets. Suspended beside it all is Michael's single mother Amelia, who cherishes her son, while simultaneously pushing him away.

Spirit of Independent Documentaries
TRUTH IN 24 – directed by Keith Cossrow
LeMans racing team 'Audi Sport' attempts to win a record fifth straight 24 Hours of LeMans against the local favorite and spoiler, Team Peugeot. The film goes deep inside the Audi camp to discover the high-tech genius of engineers and drivers as they set out to make history

AN UNLIKELY WEAPON – directed by Susan Morgan Cooper
Eddie Adams photographed 13 wars, six American Presidents, and every major film star of the last 50 years. History would be changed through his lens. But the person Eddie found hardest to impress was himself. In 1968, in 1/500th of a second, Eddie Adams photographed a Saigon police chief, General Nygoc Loan, shooting a Vietcong guerrilla point blank. The photo brought Eddie fame and a Pulitzer, but Eddie was haunted by the man he had vilified. With Narration by Kiefer Sutherland and Score by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens (Letters from Iwo Jima).

KASSIM THE DREAM – directed by Kief Davidson
Kassim the Dream brings viewers into the world of Ugandan-born boxer Kassim Ouma, the 29-year-old former Int'l Boxing Federation light-middleweight champion, and his struggle with his deadly past. Abducted from school at the age of 6 and forced to become a child soldier, Ouma fought in the National Resistance Army during Uganda's harrowing “bush war” in the 80's, engaging in brutal acts that still haunt him to this day.

Sunshine Celluloid Awards (Films Made In Florida)
Best Florida Drama
THE WRITER - Directed by Marko Sanginetto
"Walt, a struggling American writer, abandons his livelihood and journeys to Paris to find inspiration to write an epic novel. He discovers it in the form of a beautiful woman named CHLOE. When Walt returns with Chloe to Los Angeles he finds the novel taking everything, leaving nothing for Chloe. As the pressures of poverty and his epic work threaten to destroy his relationship Walt is faced with a choice; lose the woman he loves, who is making his great work possible, or give up on his dream. His decision affects the lives of all who know him and many more to come.

Best Florida Comedy
CAPERS - Directed by Julian Mark Kheel
Three teams of criminals share the same Brooklyn block, but each exists in a separate genre of film. The Amateurs are trapped in a 1970's anti-hero movie. The Sputniks live in black and white. The Moolies can't escape their rap video life. But they all share a hatred of Connie, a racist local pawn shop owner and mafia widow. So when Connie has a heart attack, each team decides it's time to find out what's inside her legendary safe. Unfortunately they all plan their big score for the same night...

Best Florida Film
KILLER MOVIE - Directed by Jeff Fisher
With the campy tone of a live action episode of SCOOBY DOO, Killer Movie tells the story of a reality television shoot that goes awry when its crew finds itself stranded in a remote Northern town. A killer is on the loose, stalking cast and crew members one by one. As past suspicions, betrayals and secrets inexplicably come into play, the nightmare of shooting this reality show becomes all too real for Jake, the show's director, his crew and Hollywood starlet Blanca Champion.

Best Florida Short
CASPER & KITTY - Directed by Franco Parente
When Casper fries Missy's Kitty he takes one last stab at trying to rekindle the fire now lost in their relationship while recounting the events in an erotically tongue in cheek memoir.

Best Florida Doc
AIRPLAY - Directed by Chris Fox Gilson and Carolyn Travis
If you want to see how America works, look at what happened to rock radio. 'Airplay'documents its rise and fall from the AM jocks who blasted Black music to White America and named it 'Rock 'n Roll', to the FM pioneers who fanned the flames of the 60s, to the silencing of rock radio as we knew it by government meddling and big business mediocrity, to its promise of rebirth on satellite radio. 'Airplay' is a story of love and war -- a 50 year struggle for the soul of music radio, told by the deejays and the artists they made rock stars.

Audience Award Florida Favorite
LOST EVERYTHING - Directed by Kim St. Leon
A closeted movie star arrives in Miami, and immediately begins a steamy love affair with a hot South Beach bartender. His manager tries to “protect” his image by running interference against the reporter hell-bent on outing her client. A happy gay couple faces a televangelist, as a tormented hit man observes them from afar. A glammed-up Diva Crime-boss, and a hooker with a heart of gold complete this multi plot line thriller. As the storylines begin to cross and spiral out of control, lives begin to unravel and sizzle in the scorching, South Florida sun.

More …

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival Jurors

Jay Boyar – Author of Films to Go: 100 Memorable Movies for Travelers and others; his work has appeared in Washington Post, the LA Times, and Orlando Sentinel. His film reviews have been feratured on MSNBC, E! , and NPR Affiliates. He served as a juror for the American Film Institute and founded the Florida Film Critics Circle. A Pulitzer Prize Nominee, Boyar has been honored by the Associated Press, The Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.

Jayce Bartok - television actor most notably Suburbia, Andersonville, Red Doors; produced and directed Altered By Elvis winning Best Documentary at California Indie Festival, writer for The Cake Eaters, voice of The Sundance Channel.

Justin Goudreau – supervises production and programming for Cable VOD Channel “In Theatres” and entertainment website.

Cindy Hill – member of the award-winning Documentary Institute for 20 years.

Ida Martins – Managing Director of Media Luna, a distribution company headquartered in Cologne Germany.

Dave Montalbano – Film writer for Observer Newspaper and Cinema Dave’s Live Journal; Audio Visual Team Leader at Broward County Libraries.

Mark Moorman – Documentary director and cinematographer whose films have been screened theatrically at major film festivals including Sundance and Toronto.

Christina Roldan – Project Manager at Broward County Cultural Division

Martine J. Rosenthal – trained with Lee Strassberg and Harold Cluman. He worked as a stage director in NY and LA prior to his training at Columbia University where he was mentored by Academy award winning director Milos Forman. Rosenthal has taught film production, directing, acting Screenplay and Film History in leading professional schools including American Film Institute.
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