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Savannah Film Festival awards War Eagle as best feature

The Savannah Film Festival, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Entertainment to entertainment entrepreneur Suzanne de Passe Nov. 1.

R&B singer Kenny Lattimore serenaded de Passe from the award stage, singing the hits And I Love Her and Come Down in Time from his new album, Timeless. Fellow entertainment moguls Michael Mauldin, chief executive officer of the Artistic Control Group, president of Mauldin Brand Agency and chairman of SCREAM Star Entertainment, and Judy Mauldin, executive director of the nonprofit educational initiative Hip Hop 4 Humanity, were on hand for the ceremony.

Ive had the most wonderful, delicious career, said de Passe. Its been hard, ridiculous, taxing, invigorating, depressing and a heady mix. I dont feel like my Lifetime Achievement Award is a measure of what Ive done, but an encouragement and blessing to go on.

De Passe, who serves as chief executive officer of de Passe Entertainment Group, began her career at Motown Records as creative assistant to company founder Berry Gordy. She subsequently rose to the position of president of Motown Productions and later formed Gordy/de Passe Productions before establishing her own company in 1992.

Suzannes eye for talent is uncanny, with something prophetic and genius about it, said SCAD President Paula S. Wallace in presenting de Passe with the award. Who else would go to a friends apartment to listen to -- and then sign -- a band with a tiny little frontman who was barely nine-years old? But thanks to Suzanne, the world was about to meet the Jackson 5 and a little kid named Michael who would change music forever.

De Passe is the recipient of many professional awards including two Emmy Awards, six NAACP Image Awards, three Peabody Awards and a Golden Globe. She received an Academy Award nomination for co-writing Lady Sings the Blues. De Passe has been the subject of two Harvard Business School case studies, and has held the Time Warner Endowed Chair as visiting professor to the John H. Johnson School of Communications at Howard University.

The weeklong Savannah Film Festival, Oct. 25-Nov. 1, also honored Variety vice president and editor-in-chief Peter Bart, actor Malcolm McDowell, and songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The 2008 Savannah Film Festival competition film awards also were announced during Saturdays event. They include:

Best Documentary: Who Does She Think She Is?
Director: Pamela Boll
Producers: Pamela Boll, Kerthy Fix

Best Comedic Short: Goldfish
Director/writer: Joe Wein
Producer: Jana Memel

Best Narrative Feature: War Eagle, Arkansas
Director: Robert Milazzo
Writer: Graham Gordy
Producers: Luke Grimes, Dan McCabe, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham, Mary Kay Place

Best Director: Erica Dunton, The 27 Club

Diane Passage Jury Award for Outstanding Contribution to Filmmaking: Luke Grimes and Dan McCabe, War Eagle, Arkansas

Best SCAD Student Competition Award: The Execution of Solomon Harris
Directors: Wyatt Garfield, Ed Yonaitis
Writer: Ed Yonaitis
Producer: Jett Steiger

Savannah Film Commission Award: Scaredy Cats
Director/writer: Bossi Baker
Producers: Amanda Bayard, Bossi Baker

Student Competition, Runner Up: Song of David
Director: Oded Turgeman
Writers: Danny Klein, Oded Turgeman
Producers: Nicolas Emiliani, Roby Freireich

Best Animated Student Short: Window Pains
Director/writer: Paul Allen Tillery

Best Dramatic Short: A Days Work
Director: Edward Feldman
Writers: Edward Feldman, Thomas Logoreci
Producer: Aleksander Manic

Standing Ovation Award: The Wrecking Crew
Director/producer: Denny Tedesco

Panavision Professional and Educational Cinematography Award: SCAD Professor Michael Hofstein

Panavisions Tracy Langan Student Cinematography Award: Wyatt Garfield, The Execution of Solomon Harris

HBO Films Student Competition Award 2008: In the Name of the Son
Director/writer: Harun Mehmedinovic
Producers: Edin Saracevic, Vikram Singh

HBO Films Producer Award 2008: Cass Warner, The Brothers Warner

The Savannah Film Festival is sponsored by the City of Savannah, Memorial Health, The Talking Phone Book and the Savannah Morning News.

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