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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.

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Santa Barbara FF Filmmaker Awards

 Wednesday, February 6----------While such mega-watt movie stars as Angelina Jolie, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones steal much of the limelight in the media coverage of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the true heart of the event are the American indie and international films that the festival showcases. More than 70,000 visitors (a record number) came out for the mix of glamour and discovery in one of America's most beautiful festival venues. So, for the record, the winners of...

Movie Glamour Back At SAG Awards

 Monday, January 28--------After the cancellation of the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards (and with the possibility of a no-show Oscars next month), the Screen Actors Guild Awards held last night in Los Angeles was a return to movie glamour. SAG had gotten a waiver from their fellow union, the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike since November and has forced other awards shows to cancel their events (actors and directors refused to cross picket lines). In what was a ve...

2008 Sundance Film Festival Awards

 Sunday, January 27-----------FROZEN RIVER, a film about a struggling single mother in upstate New York who teams with a Mohawk woman to smuggle people across the Canadian border, has won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, a debut feature from writer/director Courtney Hunt, is adapted it from her own 2004 short of the same name. The film was one of a handful to actually be picked up by a major distributor during the Festival......having found a home with arthouse di...

Coen Brothers Win Directors Guild Prize

 Sunday, January 27---------Joel and Ethan Coen, the writer/director brother team, won the top prize from the Directors Guild of America last evening for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. This gives the directorial duo the inside track for the same honor at the Academy Awards, where their film is nominated for 8 prizes, including Best Film of the Year. The Coens, who were nominated for the DGA Award for FARGO but did not win,  were only the second two-person team to receive the Directors Guild honor,...

Slamdance Film Festival Award Winners

Saturday, January 26---------Of all the parallel film events that have mushroomed (and withered) in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival three-ring circus, none has been more enduring and continually evolving as the Slamdance Film Festival. Founded by disgruntled filmmakers who had been closed out from the Sundance proceedings, the Festival has evolved into an important showcase of new indie talents that has continueD to maintain its considerable indie cred. In addition, Slamdance has r...

AMPAS Unveils 80th Academy Awards Poster

 Thursday, January 17---------AMPAS, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences,  has unveiled the poster for the 80th edition of the Academy Awards. The poster, designed by veteran illustrator Drew Struzan, brings to mind the STAR WARS films. This is no surprise, considering that Struzan created the one-sheets for all of the STAR WARS films, the most successful film franchise of all time. The poster will be available for purchase via the AMPAS website at: The Academy ...

ATONEMENT and SWEENEY TODD Are Big Winners at Golden Globes

 Monday, January 14-------It was, without a doubt, the strangest Golden Globe Awards in memory. Not only was there not the lavish and extravagantly catered affair at the Beverly Hilton, but no actors, writers or directors were present to make acceptment speeches. In fact, the whole event was nothing more than a glorified Press Conference and some rather boring (and ratings challenged) telecasts on NBC, CNN and some other media outlets. In spite of the Writers Guild strike, the Awards were indee...

It's War At The Golden Globes

 Friday, January 11---------That old adage, about war being hell, is just an understatement for the conflict that is now brewing around this Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. Not only has the broadcast of the live event been cancelled (since film stars and directors, also members of their own guilds, will not cross WGA picket lines), but a battle royale is now brewing between NBC, the television network set to broadcast the event, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Globes' sponsor, and Di...


 Wednesday, January 9----------Bucking the critical groundswell in favor of the Coen Brothers' NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, the National Society of Film Critics this week gave four prizes, including Best Picture, to THERE WILL BE BLOOD. The NSFC also honored the oil-biz epic for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), and Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit).The NSFC also bucked the Best Supporting Actress trend, voting for Cate Blanchett's performance as Bob Dylan in I...

INTO THE WILD Leads Screen Actors Guild Nominations

 Thursday, December 20----------INTO THE WILD, director Sean Penn’s adaptation of the true story of a young man who ditches civilization on a spiritual quest into the wilds of the Alaskan wilderness, dominated the film nominations for the 14th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, after being completely snubbed by the Golden Globes and most film critics prizes. The film, which is adapted from the non-fiction bestseller by Jon Krakauer, has been nominated for Best Ensemble Cast, with rising star E...

HOLLYWOOD CHINESE Wins Best Documentary Prize At Golden Horse Awards

 Friday, December 14---------HOLLYWOOD CHINESE, an exploration of the 100-year history of the Chinese in American feature films, captured the Best Documentary Award at the Golden Horse Awards this past weekend. Considered the Chinese equivalent of the Oscars, the Golden Horse Awards are the most prestigious honors in Asia for Chinese-language cinema. Although HOLLYWOOD CHINESE is not technically a Chinese-language film, its subject matter and content, cast and crew qualified it for awards con...

Los Angeles and New York Film Critics Awards Shape Oscar Race

 Tuesday, December 11----------With the announcement over the past two days of the winners of the Los Angeles and New York Film Critics Associations, the leading contenders for the Oscar have finally crystallized. Prize winners from the two most prestigious film critics societies in the United States have definitely turned both films and talents into the frontrunners… other words, the ones to beat come Oscar night.  The first to announce, on Sunday afternoon, was the Los Angeles Film Cri...

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN Wins National Board of Review Award

 Wednesday, December 5--------And we're off.....the awards season has kicked off in high gear this past week, with the announcement of the Gotham Awards in New York, the nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards and now the National Board of Review, the first of the end-of-the-year critics groups to bestow prizes. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Joel and Ethan Coen's nouveau Western, was named Best Film of the Year. The film also won a Best Adapted Screenplay prize for the Coens, as well as an...

European Film Awards: The Year of The Romanian Film

Tuesday, December 4----------The year 2007 will be remembered for many things.....but one of the biggest surprises, at least in the worlds of film and media, has been the emergence of the former Communist state of Romania as the hottest film producing territory, not only in Europe, but also worldwide. Of course, a few international arthouse hits does not a thriving industry make, but if one wanted to get a sense of where the energy and inspiration in contemporary cinema could be coming from next...


 Tuesday, December 4--------IDFA, the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, concluded its 10-day marathon of films this past weekend with the announcement of its major awards. The Festival, which celebrated its twentienth anniversary this year amid an explosion of film attendance and a major change in screening venues, has emerged as one of the hallmark events on the documentary film calendar. Films from all over the world not only get screened at IDFA, but sales are made and developme...

Fifteen Documentaries Make The Short List For Oscar Gold

 Tuesday, November 20---------Fifteen documentary films have been selected for the "short list" of titles competing in the Best Documentary Feature category at the 80th Academy Awards. The Documentary Branch Screening Committee of the Academy of Television Arts And Sciences have viewed the eligible documentaries and branch members will now select the five 2007 nominees from this short list. Many of the films have been featured at leading film festivals around the world and some ...

International and Indie Film Winners at Fort Lauderdale FF

 Monday, November 12--------The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival ended last evening with a gala premiere screening of the Festival Closing Night Film, MIDNIGHT CLEAR, with director Dallas Jenkins and actor Stephen Baldwin in attendance. Prior to the screening, Gregory von Hausch, erstwhile Festival Director and the charismatic on-stage presence for the event, announced the major winners in a variety of categories.Winning Best Film honors was the French film THE DIVING BELL AND THE BU...

Tribute To Actor Gary Sinise At Fort Lauderdale FF

 Friday, November 9----------Actor Gary Sinise was honored this evening for his two-decade film career by the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. The Oscar nominee was in town to receive the Festival's prestigious Career Achievement In Film Award, as well as participate in an on-stage tribute moderated by Phoebe Flowers, chairperson of the Florida Film Critics Circle. The tribute included clips from some of Sinise's most compelling performances. After the Tribute, the crowds made t...

European Film Award Nominations

 Monday, November 5---------The European Film Academy has announced the nominations for the 20th European Film Awards during this past weekend's Seville Film Festival. Academy members, who number over 1800, will now vote for the winners, which will be presented at the European Film Awards Ceremony in Berlin on December 1st. The nominees and ultimate winners should give an indication of what European films will be nominated for Oscar and BAFTA Awards later this season.BEST EUROPEAN FILM4 LUNI, ...

London Film Festival Announces Prizes At Closing Gala

 Friday, November 2---------At the Closing Gala of the 51st Times bfi London Film Festival, held last evening at the close of the 14-day festival marathon, a host of awards were announced. While the Festival does not have a Competition Section per se, films screening in its various sections are eligible for some special awards.The Sutherland Trophy is awarded to the director of the most original and imaginative first feature film screened at Festival. The winners were the French directing team ...

Paul Greengrass Honored At London Film Festival

 Wednesday, October 31--------Truth be told, I left the London Film Festival on Monday morning, October 29th (also my birthday in case anyone wants to send me a belated box of chocolates). So, unfortunately, I missed an event that I truly wanted to cover. But through the art of the press release, I am able to report that on that same Monday evening (when I was blowing out I won't tell you how many candles), the Times BFI London Film Festival along with trade publication Variety presented the 20...

Big Winners At The Rome Film Festival

 Monday, October 29-------Ending what was undoubtedly a highly successful sophomore edition, the Cinema: Rome Filmfest announced its major awards at a gala Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening, in conjunction with a live concert event saluting and playing the music of Italian master composer Ennio Morricone. The Festival delivered on the glamour and the glitz, while also highlighting many worthy films in its various film sections.The Popular Jury of the official Competition Section, made up of...

Award Winners At Inaugural Middle East International Film Festival

 Monday, October 21--------The Middle East International Film Festival – Abu Dhabi (MEIFF) announced the winners of the Black Pearl Awards at the Closing Night Ceremony held at the Emirates Palace  on Saturday evening. The Black Pearl trophy (designed by Mohammed Gomaa) is a handmade sculpture representing the beautiful and rare black pearl originally discovered in the pristine waters of the Abu Dhabi coastline, and a symbol that is an integral part of Abu Dhabi history and culture. The Bla...

Celebrating Sophia At The Rome Film Festival

 Friday, October 19----------Even though Queen Elizabeth is in town (not the real royal but the one played by Cate Blanchett in ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE), and despite the fact that such industry heavyweights as Francis Ford Coppolla, Sidney Lumet and Tom Cruise are somewhere here in the Eternal City for screenings of their films this weekend, all eyes will be on Sophia tonight.....Sophia Loren that is. The iconic actress will walk the Red Carpet in advance of the screening of a new documentary...

Julian Schnabel Film Wins Sloan Award At Hamptons FF

 Thursday, October 18-------THE DIVIING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, the latest film from painter-turned-director Julian Schnabel has won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize, which will be presented at the Hamptons International Film Festival this weekend. For the 8th consecutive year, the $25,000 cash prize is being awarded to a feature-length film that explores science and technology themes in fresh, innovative ways and depicts scientists and engineers in a realistic and compelling...