Welcome to the Larry411.com Guest Columnists! April 27, 2013
In my travels to the best film festivals in…
As the spectacular 19th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival came to a close, hundreds of filmmakers, friends, and supporters gathered at the gorgeous Cinemark Palace 20 in Boca Raton, Florida one last time. Following another glamorous Red Carpet, the PBIFF 2014 Official Closing Night Film Cas & Dylan, one of the Toronto International Film Festival Spotlight on Canada selections, wowed the audience. I had the supreme privilege of hosting the fascinating post-screening Q&A with director Jason Priestley. Finally, all moved upstairs for the "It's A Wrap" Party and Film Awards at Bogart's Bar & Grille. Laughs were shared and a few tears were shed as we said goodbye to another successful PBIFF.
Just prior to the screening, PBIFF President and CEO Randi Emerman announced the Jury Awards. Later that night, during the party, she unveiled the Audience Award trophies. "This year, for me, was refreshing and inspiring to have had the honor to discover so many wonderful filmmakers from the corners of the earth," said Emerman. "The 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!” The jury was headed up by Debbie Frank, Executive VP of the Frank Entertainment Group. "PBIFF’s program exemplified why we have to have film festivals," Frank said. "They expose us to different stories, cover a wide variety of topics, and ultimately expand our consciousness of the world around us. The quality of the slate of films this year was superior."
Both Jury and Audience Awards were given for Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, and Best Short Film.
Here are the winners of the 19th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival Awards (descriptions provided by the festival):
Jury Award for Best Feature Film: Life Inside Out
Directed by Jill D’Agnenica, written by Maggie Baird and Lori Nasso. The film stars real-life mother and son, Maggie Baird and Finneas O’Connell. Laura (Baird) is a devoted mother of three teenage boys. The twins are confident and outgoing, while the youngest son, Shane (O’Connell), is the family misfit, and a disappointment to his father. At 15, he is sullen and withdrawn, earbuds perpetually in his ears. When Laura impulsively decides to sing at her first open-mic night, she drags Shane along, and it becomes an experience that opens his eyes and shakes his earbuds loose. Soon, he discovers musical gifts of his own. Together, through the power of music, they are able to make sense of a world they've felt so lost in.
Jury Award Special Mention: God's Slave (Esclavo de Dios)
Directed by Joel Novoa. Inspired by true events, this is the story of two extremists, one Islamic and the other Jewish, who cross paths while on opposing sides of the 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA bombings.
Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature: Fabergé: A Life of its Own
Directed by Patrick Mark. This doc tells the epic story of the Fabergé name, from Imperial Russia until the present-day, spanning one hundred and fifty years of turbulent history, romance, artistic development and commercial exploitation. From the bejewel led Easter eggs of the Romanov Tsarinas to the 1970s allure of 'Brut by Fabergé' aftershave, and from the Russian revolution to today's high-fashion glitz in New York and London, the film explores a multi-faceted world that began with one man: the prodigiously talented Peter Carl Fabergé, Court Jeweler of St Petersburg. Shot at locations across Russia, Europe and USA (including the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), the film features interview contributions from the world's foremost Fabergé authorities, as well as personal reminiscences from Fabergé family members.
Jury Award for Best Short Film: Brighton
Directed by Pierre Stefanos and starring Robbie Capaldi and Lennard Sillevis. Brighton follows the journey of Edward as he ventures to the famed English south coastal resort for a day on the town. The reason for his trip is unclear, at first, as we watch him paste photographs of himself as a young boy at famed monuments around Brighton, all the while ignoring phone calls that come in to his mobile throughout the day from his boss and his boyfriend. After breaking up a moment of schoolboy bullying, Edward's demeanor changes. Upon meeting, and then flirting with, a Canadian tourist named Ben, Edward becomes more resolute to resist the man's charms, making his way to the Brighton seafront in the dark of night. Ben discovers Edward on the beach at a bonfire, burning items from his duffel bag. Ben uncovers Edward's mysterious reasons for visiting Brighton, which leads to a physical and emotional confrontation that leads to a mutually life-changing moment for both men. Brighton is the follow-up to the acclaimed short film Bedfellows, and the second in a planned trilogy of films called The Shakespeare Trilogy. Bedfellows screened at over 140 films festivals in 40 countries during a 23-straight-month festival run, won over 30 jury and audience awards, and is commercially available in a dozen North American and European countries. Its trailers have received over 1,000,000 hits on YouTube alone.
Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film: Cathedral Canyon
Directed by Paul Davis and starring Winsor Harmon, Noelle Wheeler, and Lorenzo Lamas. A story set in both sprawling modern Phoenix and the fringe, rural polygamist communities of Northern Arizona, this film presents a hidden connection between these two very different worlds that permits the shocking acts of these cults to continue.
Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature: Lion Ark
Directed by Tim Phillips. More action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows the world's most ambitious and daring animal rescue, with a narrative compiled from film, interviews, conversations and reactions as events unfolded. Following a shocking expos" Bolivia bans animal circuses. But the circuses defy the law and the team behind the investigation returns to track them down and save the animals. Stunning cinematography captures the confrontations, heartache and risks, before a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom. A story of bravery, compassion, a country that said 'no' to cruelty and how attitudes towards animals changed across a continent.
Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film: Tobacco Burn
Directed by Justin Liberman and starring Stephen Tyrone Williams, Julian Rozzell Jr. and Alicia Thompson. Based on an oral history from the W.P.A. Writers, Tobacco Burn is set thirty-five years before the Civil War at the height of American slavery. When two of the enslaved weigh the complexities of killing their overseer, each develop a different understanding towards violence, acting on which could cost all of them their lives.
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In my travels to the best film festivals in…