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AFI day 9

Friday night, at a standing-room-only celebration at Cinespace, the jury award winners of AFI FEST 2003 were announced.

Taking the Feature Jury Prize was Natasha Arthy's OLD, NEW, BORROWED AND BLUE, a Danish bittersweet comedy and an official Dogme film about the perils of love and honesty. "I'm really proud," said an elated Arthy minutes after winning. "It's very unreal. We didn't expect anything like this." Arthy and producer Birgitte Skov said that they planned to ring the two lead actors from the film ("We don't care if we wake them up," said Skov), before waiting a few hours to call their other producers and cast and crew.

LisaGay Hamilton's BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS took the Documentary Jury Prize, sponsored by SILVERDOCS. Hamilton's directorial debut captures the life and thoughts of Beah Richards, poet, activist and actress, who starred in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNeR, ROOTS, and BELOVED, among countless other films. When AFI FEST caught up with Hamilton after the victory, she and Co-Producer Joe Viola were leaving a message for Jonathan Demme, who financed the film. "We just won Best Documentary at AFI FEST!" they yelled in unison to Demme's answer machine. "I'm shocked," said a breathless Hamilton, after hanging up.

The Short Jury Prize, sponsored by Dell, went to Gustavo Loza's DEEP SILENCE, a poetic, gripping tale about two missing children from Havana and what happens when one of them returns. "Everyone should have a time in one's life that they get to do something that they really enjoy, something that they really like," said Loza about the short and, clearly, about life beyond film.

Meanwhile, World and US Premieres continued to unspool at the ArcLight Hollywood. Selling out the ArcLight's biggest theater was Amanda Micheli's documentary DOUBLE DARE, a revealing look at the life and work of stuntwomen in Hollywood. At the Q & A following the film, Micheli and her producers joined Zoe Bell, the stunt double for Uma Thurman in KILL BILL, and Jeannie Epper, a legend in the business, who, at 62, continues to work. Epper told the admiring audience that she inherited her love (and immense talent) for stunts from her family, particularly her father, John Epper, who was a stunt double for Gary Cooper and Ronald Reagan. And Micheli and her producers discussed the challenges of assembling the film from over 150 hours of material.

At the end of the discussion, Quentin Tarantino, who is interviewed in the film, raised his hand and asked, "What's next for you, Amanda?" Micheli hesitated, before saying she's working on a project that she can't discuss in detail. "Oh come on, don't be coy," said Tarantino. "I can say whatever I want, " replied Micheli, laughing and blushing. "I have the mic now

Pictured: The AFI FEST 2003 Jury Award Winners
(left to right, Marcus Cano, Sharat Raju, Birgitte Skov, Natasha Arthy, Joe Viola, LisaGay Hamilton


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