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Beauty in Trouble wins at Santa Barbara

The 22nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced the winners of the 2007 festival competition at the Closing Night ceremonies, hosted by KTYD’s Julie Ramos. The festival, which ran from January 25th - February 4th, attracted more than 60,000 visitors to the area, bringing attendance to an all-time high.

The esteemed jury for the 2007 SBIFF included: Jury Chair and film editor Dave Stein and filmmaker Candace Schermerhorn judged documentaries; actors Peter Riegert (“Animal House”/“Local Hero”) and Scott Mechlowicz (“Mean Creek”/“Euro Trip”) juried the Independent Features; for International Features was David Poland of Movie City News and Michael Mayer, director of the Broadway hit “Spring Awakening”; actress Elizabeth Peña and producer Cherie Rodgers juried the Latino CineMedia sidebar; and actor Perry Lang and actor/Cinema South Film Festival director Andre Gower made up the Short Film jury.

The winners are as follows:

The Santa Barbara Independent Audience Choice for Best Feature presented the award for the Audience Favorite for best Feature, which went to “Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life,” directed by Logan Smalley. This moving documentary is about 12 friends who find humor and brotherhood in the face of adversity while on a mission to revamp 15-year-old Darius West’s wheelchair on MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.”

The American Spirit Award, sponsored by Panavision, given to a unique independent feature that has been made outside mainstream Hollywood, went to “Man In The Chair,” directed by Michael Schroeder and starring Christopher Plummer and Michael Angarano. Winner receives a camera package worth approx. $60,000.

The Best International Feature Film Award for the best Foreign Film went to “Beauty In Trouble” from the Czech Republic and directed by Jan Hrebejk. An ensemble drama set in Czech landscape ravaged by the 2002 floods, this deep look at the power of intimate relationship follows a mother struggling between moral choices and her family’s well-being.

The Gold Vision Award Sponsored by York Entertainment is presented to the “most innovative and unique film with an inspiring and groundbreaking vision.” Winners receive an offer for Worldwide Distribution by York Entertainment, a distribution package valued at $30,000 (Offer valid through June 2007.). The first winner is “Spiral,” directed by Adam Green and Joel David Moore and starring Moore, Amber Tamblyn and Zachary Levi. A reclusive telemarketer (Joel Moore), whose dysfunctional friendship with his boss (Zachary Levi) is alleviated when a whimsical co-worker (Amber Tamblyn) enters his life. But as he begins to sketch his new friend's portrait, disturbing feelings from his past threaten to lead him down a path of destruction. The second recipient is “Fissures,” directed by Alanté Alfandari.

Richly textured and gloomily atmospheric, the film offers a touching portrayal of an emotionally fragile woman who is brought to the edge of a breakdown after a tragedy. This simple drama takes on a fantastical allure when she comes across recordings of voices that might originate from the past.

The Nueva Vision Award for the best Spanish and Latin American film went to “DarkBlueAlmostBlack” directed by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo. Interweaving a dense web of storylines about family and incarceration, this graceful exploration of morally complex questions follows a love rectangle between a janitor, two convicts, and a posh girl.

The award for Best Documentary, awarded to a non-fiction feature-length film, went to “Crazy Love,” directed by Dan Klores. A disturbing tale of a relationship born in the 1950’s that was the antithesis of Ozzie and Harriet, “Crazy Love” is a chilling account of a pairing of a 32-year-old married man and a 21-year-old single girl that included mental cruelty, physical injury, and attempted murder...with no end in sight.

Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award Sponsored by Fund for Santa Barbara, is awarded to a documentary film that addresses social justice issues. For the first time, the jury decided to offer two awards, due to the largest and strongest selection of nominees to date.

The Awards went to: “The Ground Truth,” directed by Petricia Foulkrod about a group of patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities; and “Crude Impact” directed by James Wood, a riveting documentary on oil and the actions of those who control the precious resource. The filmmakers will both receive cash awards.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Live Action Short Film went to “Moi,” directed by Yan England. Passionate about cinema, 15-year-old Alexis dreams of becoming a film director. But his life will collapse the day when, through the gaze of others, he will suddenly become aware of his reality.

Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation, went to “Everything Will Be OK,” directed by Don Hertzfeldt. A series of dark and troubling events forces Bill to reckon with the meaning of his life - or lack thereof.

Sotheby’s International Realty 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition, where 10 students from the high school and college level were selected to make a 10-minute digital film during the 10 days of the festival. The winners (one from High School and one from College level) receive a Powerbook G4 laptop computer ($3000 value).

High School – Ian Wexler, Santa Barbara High School, “Rose”

College – Mark Calver, Brooks Institute, “Tales from a High Hat”

10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Business First National Bank, and Final Draft – for best screenplay went to:

In the high school division: Levi Michaels, from San Marcos High School for “Rose,” based on Little Red Riding Hood

In the college division: Charles Heining, from Brooks Institute, for “The Charming Sister” based on Cinderella

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