Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ruthlessly Efficient


This year marks my sixth film festival. But last night was my first awards ceremony. I never went because, well, I don't like awards ceremonies, be it the Emmys, Oscars or Grammys on television. I think THOSE shows are downright silly and just plan self-congratulatory. To me, it's a bunch of wealthy people telling each other and themselves how great they are, AND they get a stupid little statue to boot.

But the Woodstock Film Festival Awards ceremony last night was different. Held in the cavernous Backstage Studio Productions on Wall Street in Uptown Kingston, they had the glitz of a Hollywood movie launch party but the feel of an edgy, underground nightclub, with a bad-boy New York City vibe that really resonated throughout the room and the more than 1,000 people in attendance.

I was really impressed. Just like the entire film fest, and any film fest I've been too, there is a VIBE, A MOJO, A THERE RIGHT THERE, A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND BELONGING, PEOPLE BONDING TOGETHER, CIRCLING THE WAGONS, STANDING UP AND SAYING, "WE ARE NOT MILLIONAIRES, WE MAKE OUT ART OUT OF LOVE, WE HOPE YOU LIKE IT. SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD. THANKS FOR COMING.

James Schamus, Ang Lee's-longtime collaborator, and an Academy Award-nominee, who probably is a millionaire but comes across simply as a guy who loves film,
called the Awards ceremony, "ruthlessly efficient," and it was, it moved along at a brisk pace, but was not hurried, and everyone kept their speeches short and sweet and to the point, except for Melissa Leo, who rambled on and on, but had also flown in from New Orleans, then had trouble renting from Dollar-Rent-A-Car at JFK, but then got a "cute Chevy."

Oh yeah, Schamus also said he had fun at the awards ceremony.

But enough of all this dribble.

Bravo to Meira and Laurent.

Here are the winners, the categories, the presenters and the prizes:

• PRINCE OF BROADWAY, directed by Sean Baker
takesTHE LEE MARVIN BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE AWARD
(Honorable Mention: MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, directed by Barry Jenkins)

• IN A DREAM, directed by Jeremiah Zagar takes BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Presenters included: Ang Lee, Melissa Leo, John Sayles, Maggie Renzi, David Strathairn, Morgan Spurlock, Haskell Wexler, Amy Taubin, Karen Durbin, Bill Plympton, Ryan Harrington, John Sloss, Amy Gossels, Ellen Kuras, Pamela Marvin, Sabine Hoffman, and Sloane Klevin.

(Woodstock, NY)—October 4th, 2007—The 2008 Woodstock Film Festival's Maverick Awards ceremony was held Saturday night, Oct. 4th, with director Sean Baker’s PRINCE OF BROADWAY taking Best Feature Narrative and director Jeremiah Zagar’s IN A DREAM winning for Best Feature Documentary. More than 300 indie film movers and shakers attended the gala event, held at Backstage Productions in Kingston, NY just outside the Woodstock arts colony.

Best Feature Narrative PRINCE OF BROADWAY is the story of Lucky and Levon, two men whose lives converge in the underbelly of New York’s wholesale fashion district. Set in the shadow of the Flatiron building and soaked in the colorful bustle of Broadway, the film is as much a brutal drama as it is a tender comedy. Shot in a fast-paced guerilla style that is akin to the hustler lifestyle, the film reveals the lives of immigrants in America seeking the ideals of family of love, while creating their own knock-off of the American Dream. (WFF East Coast Premiere).

Best Feature Documentary, IN A DREAM, quickly turns from a character study to an incredible personal, powerful and stirring drama. It is an unparalleled visceral and emotional experience. Shot over the course of several years, Zagar’s film is the kind of brutally honest and often beautiful look at the tumultuous time in his parent’s marriage that only a son could have captured.

The Diane Seligman Award for BEST SHORT NARRATIVE went to GLORY AT SEA, directed by Benh Zeitlin.

The Diane Seligman Award for BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM went to SIKUMI (On the Ice), directed by Andrew Okpeaha Maclean.

The Diane Seligman Award for BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY went to PICKIN’ AND TRIMMIN’, directed by Matt Morris.

The Maverick Award for BEST ANIMATED FILM went to BERNI’S DOLL, directed by Yann J (Jouette).

The Haskell Wexler Award for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY went to AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, directed by Dan Stone and shot by Daniel Fernandez, Tim Gorski, Simeon Houtman, James Joyner, Jonathan Kane, Mathieu Mauvernay, and John “Rip” Odebralski.

The James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE DOCUMENTARY went to IN A DREAM, Keiko Deguchi, Editor, Sam Pollard, Consulting Editor.

The James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE NARRATIVE went to WERE THE WORLD MINE, Jennifer Lilly, Editor.

THE HONORARY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was presented to cinematographer Haskell Wexler, by writer/director/actor John Sayles, producer Maggie Renzi, and actor David Strathairn (award previously announced).

THE HONORARY MAVERICK AWARD was presented to director/screenwriter/actor/editor/comic book writer, Kevin Smith, by producer John Sloss (award previously announced).

THE HONORARY TRAILBLAZER AWARD was presented to James Shamus, CEO of Focus Features and award winning writer/producer, by director Ang Lee and actor Melissa Lee (award previously announced).

The Woodstock Film Festival has an outstanding group of industry leaders who make up the jury for each category of competition:
Feature Jurors: Matt Dentler, Mark Duplass, Ted Hope and Mary Stuart Masterson
Feature Documentary Jurors: Rachel Grady, Morgan Spurlock and Molly Thompson
Shorts Jurors: Peter Bowen, Karen Durbin and Ross Partridge
Short Doc Jurors: Ryan Harrington, Stephen Nemeth and Timothy Sternberg.
Student Short Film Jurors: Amy Gossels and Jeremiah Newton
Animation Jurors: Signe Baumane, Bill Plympton and Patrick Smith.
Cinematography Juror: Haskell Wexler
Editing Jurors (Narrative): Sabine Hoffman, Brian A. Kates and Kate Williams
Editing Jurors (Documentary): Sabine Hoffman, Sloane Klevin and Susan Littenberg

The Maverick Award Trophies are designed and hand-crafted by artist Steve Heller, who shows his work at his Fabulous Furniture gallery in Boiceville, NY.

Prizes!
THE LEE MARVIN AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE –
Trophy plus $5000 check from Pamela Marvin
One-Year FilmTracker Gift Certificate from Baseline StudioSystem ($2,000 value)
One week of off line editing and one day of online editing from the Post Factory

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE –
Trophy plus One-Year FilmTracker Gift Certificate from Baseline StudioSystem ($2,000 value)

THE DIANE SELIGMAN AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Trophy plus $750 check from Lowel Light and One (1) Lowel DV Creator 55 Light Kit ($2,000 value for kit)

THE DIANE SELIGMAN AWARD FOR BEST STUDENT SHORT
Trophy plus $750 check from Lowel Light and One (1) Lowel DV Creator 55 Light Kit ($2,000 value for kit)

THE DIANE SELIGMAN AWARD FOR BEST SHORT DOC
Trophy plus $750 check from Lowel Light and One (1) Lowel DV Creator 55 Light Kit ($2,000 value for kit)

JAMES LYONS AWARD FOR BEST EDITING (NARRATIVE)
Trophy plus $1000 check

JAMES LYONS AWARD FOR BEST EDITING (DOCUMENTARY)
Trophy plus $1000 check

HASKELL WEXLER AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Trophy plus Film Camera Equipment from Panavision ($15,000 value)

MAVERICK AWARD FOR BEST ANIMATED FILM
Trophy plus a DVD Duplication Series from Disc Makers

The Awards Ceremony was co-sponsored by the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce, and was followed by a party sponsored by 120db Films, with beverages provided by Barefoot Wines.

The Sponsors for the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival are:
Gold Sponsor: 120 dB Films
Silver Sponsors: A & E Indie Films; Ciroc Vodka, Diageo North America; Time
Superstar Sponsors: 100.1 WDST; BMI; Fuze; Lowel Light
Award Sponsors: Inbaseline; Final Cut Studio Pro; Filmtracker.com; The James Lyons Estate; The Lee Marvin Estate; Lowel Ligh; Panavision, NY; Post Factory, NY; Steve Heller’s Fabulous Furniture; Writer’s Guild of America, East
Official Wine: Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
Media Support: Chronogram; Daily Freeman; DiscMakers; Insideout
Event Support: Backstage Productions; Emerson Resort & Spa; Libation NYC; Lotus Gallery; Oriole 9; New World Home Cooking; Sal Guido; Skytop Steakhouse & Brewery; Waste Management, Kingston
Food Support: Larabar; Adam’s Fairacre Farm; Bread Alone; Bistro to Go; Catskill Mountain Organic Coffee; Hurley Ridge Market; Lucky Chocolates; Organic Nectars
Foundation Support: Dutchess County Arts Council; ETC (Experimental TV Center); JP Morgan Chase; Lee and Peter Mayer Foundation; M & T Bank; The Perry & Martin Granoff Family Foundation; Florence Belsky Charitable Foundation; The Klock Foundation

1 comment:

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