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35th WorldFest-Houston Awards Presentation

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35th WorldFest-Houston Awards Presentation

Houston, TX - The 35TH Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival concluded with a slight downturn in box office due to weather and April 15 IRS filings. Several bona-fide hit movies, a Gala Awards Banquet with top honors presented to up-and-coming attending filmmakers from over 33 countries from round the globe, Indie Panels and a fun Houston Yacht Club Regatta were highlights of WorldFest-Houston this year! Attendance at the 10-day fest was near 22,000, down slightly from record 2001 box office figures.

The overflowing, sold-out Awards Dinner at the new Inter-Continental Hotel in Houston, on Saturday night (April 13) also saw a Career Achievement Award going to actor Jo Beth Williams (27 feature films, including The Big Chill and Poltergeist) there to receive her honors.

WorldFest's top honors - The Remi Grand Awards went to the following productions: Best Feature Film, "Julie's Spirit" (Germany) directed by Bettina Wilhelm; Best Film & Video Production, Documentary "Volcano" Pioneer Productions (UK); Best Television & Cable Production, "Lincoln" 2 part mini-series, David Grubin Productions (USA); Best Short Subject "Indefinitely, Mark Pilvinsky (TX); Best Music Video, "Everything Kills Me," Toothin Theatre (Canada); Best Commercial "Musco Olive's Campaign" Black Rocket (SFO); Best Graduate Level Student Production "Revival", Meghna Haldar (TX); "Vessel Wrestling" Lisa Yu, Best Experimental (CA).

In addition to Grand Awards, WorldFest presented a special Grant-in-Aid Award: the Eastman Kodak Cinematography Award, $2500 in raw stock to "Baba's House", Barbara Badessi, Halifax, Canada. Other major awards in the feature categories went to the magnificent "As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me" (Germany) directed by Hardy Martins (Germany), Platinum in Action/Adventure; "10+2, The Big Secret" (Spain) Miquel Pujol, Platinum in Animation; dark comedy "The Rose Technique," (USA) Platinum in comedy. "How Harry Became a Tree" (Ireland) Goran Paskaljevic, was awarded a Special Jury Award in Dramatic Features as well as, "Florida City" (USA) Ralph Clemente. "One Eyed King" (USA) Robert Moresco received a Platinum in Dramatic Features. "Briar Patch" (USA) Zev Berman received a Special Jury Award. In Suspense/Thriller; Platinum went to Eric Gardner for "Under the Influence" (USA.) In Family films, top honors went to "The Dinosaur Hunter" (Canada) Rick Stevenson, with a Special Jury Award, Mark Medoff won the Platinum for "Children On Their Birthdays" (USA) and Gold to C. Dorian Walker for "The Greatest Adventure of My Life" (USA.) In Fantasy/Horror, Mike Figgis won the Special Jury Award for his Dogma "Hotel," (USA/Italy) Gold going to Thomas Wright for "Unspeakable" (USA). Special Jury Award in First Feature went to Aleks Rosenberg for "Zelimo" (USA/Russia). Foreign feature Gold Award went to Christos Giorgiu for his poignant "Under the Stars" (Cyprus.) Platinum honors for Low Budget Features went to Dwayne Beavers for his intense hockey-themed "The Rhino Brothers" (Canada), Gold to "Be My Valentine", (Taiwan) Yankee Zhou. Jeffrey Jeturian won the Gold in Adult Category for his heart wrenching "Tuhog" "Larger than Life" (Philippines). Romance Special Jury Award went to Christos Stark for his captivating "Julietta" (Germany), and Platinum to "Alexandria" (Greece) Maria Iliou.

Other Special Jury Awards in WorldFest features were as follows: Best Directing, Jon C. Scheide for "The Rose Technique" (USA); Best Cinematography to Pavel Lebeshev (Russia) for his camera work in the epic true-life story "As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me" (Germany), Best Editing to Petar Putnicovic for his work in "How Harry Became a Tree" (Ireland) Moon-stone Entertainment & Best Music to James McVay for "One Eyed King" (USA) Manhattan Pics.

The Feature Documentary section was extremely competitive this year with Special Jury Awards going to "Children of Kosovo 2000" Ferenc Moldovanyl (Kosovo, Hungary), "Oil Children" (Iran) Ebrahim Forouzesh, "Witness to Hope:The Life of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II (USA) Judith Dwan Hallet, & "Terror From Within" (USA) Jason van Fleet, and "The Life & Significance of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, Part II (USA) Mary Ellen Korman.

Other awards ranged in categories such as short subjects, student films to screenplays & music videos. Altogether, slightly under 4,000 category entries were received for WorldFest, down from last year due to the Sept. 11th disaster and the economic downturn. WorldFest, the largest and oldest film festival in North American operating under the same continuous non-profit management and the only one fiercely dedicated to presenting and honoring only new independent, undistributed films.

Another important event for WorldFest was special digital video projection by Wagner Media and Christie Digital Systems, with the new Wagner/Christie Roadie X10 DLP "Black Chip" digital projector screening more than 100 features and shorts at the festival. Viewers were astounded at the brilliance and clarity of the new Wagner/Christie Digital equipment and the filmmakers made regular pilgrimages up to the projection booth to take a look at the current cinematic state-of-the-art technology. All came away both impressed and inspired by this look at the future of the movies and theaters.

There were 5 exceptional seminars, presented by experienced professionals. These included: Kodak/24P Film Capture presented by Ken Replich (in 2-parts), Agents & Managers & Studios: An Overview by Andrew Deane of Immortal Entertainment (LA), Beyond the Script by Robert Nowotny of Teocalli Entertainment (NM), Distribution by Stuart Strutin of Panorama Entertainment (NY), and an exciting and informative panel on Producing and Directing the Independent Feature with filmmakers Rob Gladstone, Jon C. Scheide, Yhoka Kusano, C. Dorian Walker, Ralph Clemente, Bettina Wilhelm, Douglas Underdahl, James Slocum & Eric Gardner and moderated by Leigh Murray, (Producer, Charleston, SC)

WorldFest-Houston is unique in the festival world, as it is totally dedicated to the Independent feature and short film. WorldFest does not screen any films produced by the major studios or distributors as it feels that the Indie filmmakers are the ones that need support from a film festival. WorldFest offers 11 major areas of competition and awards, including Documentary, Film & Video production, TV & Cable production, Experimental, Short Subjects, TV Commercials, Screenplays, Music Video, New Media, Feature Films and Student Films. Both film and video formats are accepted, video only for the jury deliberations. Next up: WorldFest # 36, April 2003!

WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival
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