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Winners Of The 12th Palm Beach International Film Festival



Thursday, April 26-------The Palm Beach International Film Festival reached its climax this evening with the announcement of its jury and audience awards for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Director, Screenplay and Performances. Jury winners and Audience Choice Awards were announced at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony held at the Delray Beach Marriott, the official Festival hotel.  

The Award for Best Feature Film went to TIED HANDS, a family drama from Israel, directed by Dan Wolman. The film tells the story of a sensitive and complex relationship between a mother and her son, who is dying from AIDS.  The film “acknowledges the temporary state of our lives on earth but finds hope in the power of human love,” Features Juror David Hunter proclaimed. 

The Award for Best Director of a Feature Film went to Dutch director Nicole van Kilsdonk for her film JOHAN, a charming comedy about a boy who is the eleventh male in a family of soccer players.  They make up a complete team, but Johan defies them all by wanting to be a singer. The Award for Best Screenplay went to Scott Dacko for his film THE INSURGENTS, the story of four politically radicalized Americans who build a truck bomb to spark the revolution, with a cast that included Henry Simmons, John Shea and Mary Stuart Masterson

Two Awards were given for Best Performance in a Feature Film: Christopher Plummer as a cynical older man who refinds his purpose when he becomes the mentor to a young film student, in MAN IN THE CHAIR; and Israeli actress Gila Almagor for her performance as the mother watching her son die, in TIED HANDS. In addition, the jury chose to recognize the cast of American indie title ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN with a special Ensemble Award for their “mesmerizing and haunting performances,” under the lead of charming Heather Graham along with William Baldwin, Dominic Chianese, Victor Rasuk and Graham Gremm. A Special Jury Prize for Best Feature also was given to MAURICE RICHARD/THE ROCKET, a docudrama of the famous Montreal Canadiens hockey player. 

The Award for Best Documentary Feature was given to A CRUDE AWAKENING—THE OIL CRASH, directed Ray McCormack. This of-the-moment film examines the state of the world's dwindling oil resources.  The Award for Best Short Film went to COLD KENYA, directed by Lawrence Walsh.  In this engaging film, a young Warsaw businessman tries to reconcile his newfound wealth and success with the pain of Poland 's past. 

The jury for the 12th PBIFF consisted of:  David Hunter, former Hollywood Reporter film critic and Emmanuel Itier, film producer, who judged Feature Films; Aideen Ratteray-Pryse, Director of the Bermuda International Film Festival and April Timmerman of Warner Bros. Pictures, who voted on documentaries; Conrad Bachmann, former governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences judged the Short Films. 

The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film went to KATHIE T. Written and directed by Evan Lieberman and starring former West Palm Beach resident and Dreyfoos School of the Arts graduate, Mary Elise Hayden and Trent Gill  In this provocative drama, Alex, a college-aged virgin and budding musician, becomes obsessed with tracking down the subject of some provocative graffiti.  The Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature was given to DARIUS GOES WEST: THE ROLL OF HIS LIFE, directed by Logan Smalley.  In this thought-provoking film, eleven college students rent an RV to take Darius Weems, 15, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, on a cross-country road trip. The Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film went to AND BEHOLD, THERE CAME A GREAT WIND, an Israeli film by Ziv Alexandrony, which portrayed the agonizing withdrawl of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip over an eight-month period.  

Following the awards ceremony, Robert Davi introduced his new film, marking his directorial and writing debut, THE DUKES. This musical comedy/heist film stars Davi and Chazz Palminteri as former members of a celebrated doo wop singing group who are now struggling to survive. While their manager (played by actor/director Peter Bodganovich) is desperately trying to get them work, the members of the singing group pull off an likely heist. Following the film's East Coast Premiere, festival attendees and filmmakers moved over to Pranzo for the closing celebration. Palm Beach….great weather, great films, great parties.

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor


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