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San Diego Film Festival Film Extravaganza, awards

Film Extravaganza

The San Diego Film Festival may be new to the film community, but it is quickly becoming one of the premier events. It won the National Bulldog Award for its Excellence in Media Relations and Publicity. It was also named one of the Top 10 Film Festival Vacations by Film Threat. With its annual attendance well over 15,000, and a skyrocketing number of films being submitted from all over the globe, San Diego is quickly attaining an elite status. This year, out of the 1000+ films that applied to the festival, 85 feature length, short and documentary films were chosen to compete.

Robin Laatz, the founding director, has not only made this a quality competition, but she has done a extraordinary job giving film makers an amazing venue to promote and exhibit their films.

Through various workshops and panels with industry experts, film makers are able to promote their work and educate the community. Actors, James Russo, Soleil Moon Frye and Cliff Robertson each contributed their time to fans and industry peers, answering any question that audiences had for them. Each star added his or her own personal touch to each session.

James Russo, gave one of the most interesting panels with his extremely candid account of Hollywood and his career. Although video cameras were not allowed per his request, it led the way for his complete honesty about the business. He was not only honest, but hilarious and extremely blunt . He definitely didn’t disappoint the crowd.

Soleil’s panel provided insight into the life of a child star; the trials, tribulations, and how she is maneuvering her way back into the limelight after a long hiatus. Her sweet demeanor and honest account of her experiences in Hollywood made her session perfectly inviting and comfortable for all the attendees.

Cliff Robertson had a very formal approach to his panel. His career is the most expansive of the three stars spanning over decades. Robertson packed in the crowd and told some interesting and comical stories about his life and times in Hollywood. He was a wealth of knowledge for anyone who was interested in beginning or improving their career.

Stars held Q and A panels by day and basked in the limelight of the red carpet parties by night. The opening night Premier party was a spectacular event. Film makers came to mingle with stars, friends and industry gurus. The celebration lasted to the early morning hours with music, laughter and the continual flow of beverages.

The Industry night was complete with fantastic music and great people. This was the perfect opportunity to mingle with other industry specialists and make some quality additions to the business card collection.

The festival ended with a formal black tie event, the Actors Ball and Awards ceremony. Hundreds of festival goers arrived at the ball in their finest attire. Long formal gowns complete with sequins and plunging neck lines; and black tuxes with bow ties were in abundance on this warm fall evening. The outdoor mezzanine, where the party was held, was softly lit, with tasteful strands of tiny bulbs. The moonlight and stars added a touch of class to an already elegant evening. It was the perfect ending to a flawless festival!
By Tracie Donahue

2004 Award winners

- San Diego Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award - Cliff Robertson
- Governor’s Award - Phyllis Diller
- Best Feature Film Award - “Around the Bend,” director Jordan Roberts
- Best Director Award - “Black Cloud” director Rick Schroder
- Best Screenplay Award - “Purgatory House,” writer Celeste Davis
- SD Screenwriting Contest Winner - “Whitefish,” writer George Olson
- Best Documentary Award - “Sonny Boy,” director Soleil Moon Frye
- Best Short Film Award- “American Made,” director Sharat Raju
- Best Actor Award - “The Box,” actor James Russo
- Best Actress Award - “Her Majesty,” actor Sally Andrews
- San Diego Feature Film Award - “Never Been Done,” director Matthew Powers
- San Diego Filmmaker Award - director Devin Scott
- Feature Audience Award Winner – “Eating Out”
- Documentary Audience Award Winner – “Goodnight, We Love You”

-Best Film Around the Bend Director
Jordan Roberts - Drama

-Best documentary: Never Been Done
Director: Matthew J. Powers

-Best Director Rick Schroder
Black Cloud - Drama
Watch the video interview with Rick Schroeder

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