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Sarasota Film Festival Award Winners Announced
(released 4/27/2007)

The Sarasota Film Festival ran from Friday, April 13 through Sunday, April 22, 2007 in venues throughout Sarasota and Longboat Key. The 9th annual event lured well knowns such as Ed Norton, Brian Koppelman, Steve Buscemi, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, Joe Pantoliano, Michelle Trachtenberg, Dominic Chianese, Norman Jewison, and Chad Lowe.

The Sarasota Film Festival Competition and Audience Awards were announced at a reception hosted by Metro Coffee & Wine, on Saturday afternoon, April 21st. The Audience Awards were presented by Festival Director of Programming, Tom Hall and Festival Programmer, Holly Herrick. They also introduced competition jurors who in turn presented awards for the specific categories. Making an appearance and a statement on mental illness was actor Joe Pantoliano.

Later Saturday evening, the Filmmakers' Tribute Dinner was held at the Longboat Key Club & Resort. Many local socialites and filmmakers walked the red carpet. We ran into a couple Orlando area filmmakers working the festival including Mavis Yorks, associate producer of When Pigs Fly which screened earlier in the week.

The following day, Chad Lowe screened Beautiful Ohio, which had its premiere screening on Thursday, April 19th at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Also, at the Awards presentation at Metro Coffee & Wine, The Youth Awards were presented by Outreach & Education Director Hans Wohlgefahrt.

This year's Kids Jury consisted of 18 aspiring film critics from New Gate School. This year, the Kids Jury selected I Want To Be A Pilot, directed by Diego Quemada-Diez, for the youthFEST Short Film Award.

The recipient of the Gerd Petrik Scholarship for Best Film in the Young Filmmakers' Showcase 2007 was a tie. Instead of splitting the $500 scholarship, each of the winners received a $500 scholarship award. Vincent Dale of Pine View School and Datev Gallagher of New Gate School were the winners. Selected by the programmers of youthFEST, Dale's film American Generica was chosen for technical filmmaking merit, while Spoons by Gallagher was chosen for originality of screenwriting. The YFS features original short works by young filmmakers from Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Young Filmmakers' Showcase has expanded to include a new program in screenwriting that creates a cycle of film production in the youth community of Sarasota and Manatee counties. In the Youth Screenwriting Program, students from Phoenix Academy wrote screenplays in an effort to explore their personal stories in a final, filmable script. The screenplays will be produced as short films made by area youth and featured in the Young Filmmakers' Showcase at the Festival next year.

The Festival awards a scholarship to a promising student enrolled in a Florida-based college film program. This year's Dr. John Welch Scholarship is awarded to Erin Kitzinger from the University of Central Florida. Her short film The Girl Who Couldn't Dream is in this year's short film program. For her UCF thesis, she is directing a feature film, Hope For A Thorn, from a script that was the recipient of the UCF School of Film & Digital Media Grant for Special Achievement in Screenwriting in 2005. The film begins shooting this July in the Orlando area. She is currently fundraising for the film and will use the scholarship toward the completion of the project.

The Green Room has over 30 photos from the Awards Reception and the Red Carpet arrivals prior to the Tribute Dinner. To view the photos, go to the Photo Seen.

All the festival winners are listed below.

Filmmakers Tribute Dinner Award Winners and Special Honorees included:

2007 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Filmmaking to Director Norman Jewison
Excellence in Producing Award to IFC President Jonathan Sehring
Breakthrough Performer Award to Actress Michelle Trachtenberg
Heineken® Red Star Award to debut director Chad Lowe for Beautiful Ohio

Each of the competition awards carries a $5,000 cash prize for the filmmaker.

Narrative Feature Competition - Waitress - Adrienne Shelly
Documentary Feature Competition - Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 - Benjamin Niles
Special Jury Prize was presented by the Documentary Feature jury to Beyond Hatred directed by Olivier Meyrou

Independent Visions Competition Award was presented to Great World of Sound directed by Craig Zobel and Pretty in the Face directed by Nate Meyer. Meyer's wife Meagan Moses recently won a Special Jury Award for Best Actress for her work in Pretty in the Face at the Florida Film Festival.

Each category of the Audience Awards carries a $1,000 cash prize for the filmmaker.

Best Narrative Feature - Canvas - Joseph Greco (FSU Film School graduate)
Best Documentary Feature - Circus Rosaire - Robyn Bliley
Best In World Cinema - Away From Her - Sarah Polley
Best Short Film - Death to the Tinman - Ray Tintoni

The Competition Jury members:

Narrative Feature Competition:
Film Critic/Journalist/Co-host of television's "Reel Talk," Alison Bailes
Co-founder and Co-President of Strand Releasing, Jon Gerrans
Literary Manager/Producer for Anonymous Content, Michael Sugar

Best Documentary Feature Competition:
Filmmaker Doug Block
A&E IndieFilms' Ryan Harrington
Programmer/Director of the Flaherty/International Film Seminars, Mary Kerr

Independent Visions Competition:
Co-Founder of distribution and sales company Outsider Pictures, Paul Hudson
Filmmaker Lodge Kerrigan
Executive Director of Truly Indie, Kelly Sanders

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