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Beverly Hills Fest announces its program

The Beverly Hills Film Festival, to be held May 6-9, announced programming for its fourth annual event.

Twenty-nine films, comprising features, documentaries, and shorts, will be presented at the Clarity Theatre in Beverly Hills, with a full complement of after-parties and receptions. The week will be capped when the Golden Palm Award is bestowed upon the top film at the annual Awards Ceremony gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Sunset Room on May 9.

“This year’s program is our most diverse and inclusive ever, and underscores our commitment to the filmmaker, as opposed to the festival process per se,” said founder and president Nino Simone. “Every ounce of our energy is used to provide an optimal screening environment for important new film, and for creating a festival that allows emerging filmmakers to meet decision makers in the Industry itself.”

The 2004 schedule features independent films from across America, as well as from Germany, Israel, and Uruguay. “There is no single selection criterion,” Simone said of films selected for competition, “but a consensus that this film speaks in an entirely new voice, by a director whose work has not previously been widely seen.”

Presale tickets for all Screenings and After-Parties can be purchased at:

Chief among this year’s films:

LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS, an experimental silent narrative from Germany set to the music of Stravinsky played by the Berlin Philharmonic. In this world rules by Santeria, God, a black woman, watches three of her children try to right their lives, with disturbing visual and psychological effects.

PUBLIC DOMAIN, a wry Canadian look at the foibles of the media. Here, pseudo-intellectuals award money to the contestant with the most miserable life—with special honors in such existential categories as alienation, disillusionment, and doubt. A piercing and topical statement of our times.

SHELTER ISLAND, a quick-as-a-whip erotic thriller starring Ally Sheedy as a professional golfer-turned-motivational speaker. When her charmed life in New York is threatened, she turns to refuge on remote Shelter Island with friend Patsy Kensit. But an unwelcome stranger, played by Stephen Baldwin, visits, a chilling turn of events ensues.

JONAH, a stirring short in which Linda Hamilton tries—with mixed results—to explain to 14-year-old Jonah why life for misfits isn’t quite as different as it seems.

IN SATMAR CUSTODY, which examines the closed community of ultra-Orthodox Satmar Jews in Monsey, New York—and how they bring poor Yemeni Jews to this country for their own, sometimes nefarious, purposes. Thriller-tight, this documentary shows the destruction that fundamentalism can wreak when left unchecked.

THE SEVENTH BOTTLE, from first-time Uruguayan director Gustavo Camelot, blends magical realism with psychological insight in one searing short. When society demands the surrender of our soul, what results is personal peril of a most disturbing kind.

This year’s Beverly Hills Film Festival jury includes:
Steven Paul, Crystal Sky President and CEO – JURY CHAIRMAN

Ali Arad, Marvel Studios
Bob Clark, Director
Casper van Dien, Actor
Catherine Oxenberg, Actor
Harry Gold, Talent Agent
Mark Amin, Lion’s Gate Entertainment, Vice Chairman
Michael Rooker, Actor
Patrick Ewald, Crystal Sky, Executive Vice President
Paul Hertzberg, Cinetel
Laura Lucio, Journalist
Val McLeroy, Producer


In conjunction with Biograph Company President Thomas Bond II and Sanctorum Pictures, the Festival commemorates the first film ever shot in Hollywood, D. W. Griffith’s “In Old California,” with a specially commissioned black obelisk monument. Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn will preside over the ceremony, to take place on May 6 at 2:30 p.m. at 1713 N. Vine Street, Hollywood.


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