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Focus Group Therapy Wins Best Narrative Short in Colorado

Focus Group Therapy Wins Best Narrative Short in Colorado and Screens in Shorts Gala at the Atlantic Film Festival

Halifax, NS, September 7, 2005 – The locally-shot short film, Focus Group Therapy, recently had its world premiere at the Westcliffe Digital Film Festival (Aug 27-29) in Colorado where it was the recipient of the Jim Jarmusch Best Narrative Short Award.

Directed and co-produced by Nova Scotia director Michael Melski and written and produced by first-time Halifax writer/producer Ivy Ho, the filmmakers found out last week about the award after the closing of the Westcliffe Festival.

"Ivy and I were very honoured to receive the award and we wish we could have been in Colorado for the screening and for the awards ceremony," said Michael Melski, director. “We would have loved to have seen the audience’s reaction.”

According to Westcliffe Festival Director Kenneth Wajda, “The crowd was roaring with laughter,” and the film, “made the festival.”

The film will next screen in the PS Atlantic Shorts Gala at the Oxford Theatre on September 20 at 7:00 PM during the 25th Atlantic Film Festival (September 15-24) in Halifax. The film has also been accepted to screen at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (November 4-7), as well as the Silver Wave Film Festival in Fredericton (November 2-6)

Focus Group Therapy is a biting corporate satire about Jessica (Kristin Bell), a marketing research entrepreneur, who questions her career track as she conducts a misbehaving focus group while naughty things happen in the observation room. On a deeper level, the film explores the ironies of public opinion under surveillance, and its implications for personal freedom.

The film is executive produced by Rick Warden (Ice Men). Key crew includes Line Producer Craig Cameron (Touch and Go) and Director of Photography Kyle Cameron (Scary Stuff). Focus Group Therapy stars many local up-and-comers and veteran performers including: Renée Abbott (The Riverman), Kristin Bell (North/South), Marty Burt (Love That Boy), Tara Doyle (Parsley Days), Shawn Duggan (Trailer Park Boys), Jim Fowler (Chamberpiece), Leanne MacKenzie (Walk in the Park), Kim Parkhill (Drive) and Jeremy Webb (The Conclave).

This is the second award for Director Michael Melski, whose first film Serenade won the Best First-Time Director Award at the 2000 Atlantic Film Festival. He recently directed on this summer's successful new television series Robson Arms, starring Mark McKinney and Margot Kidder. Also an acclaimed screenwriter and playwright, Michael's new play, The Fly Fisher's Companion, was a hit at Ships Company Theatre this summer.

Writer/producer Ivy Ho has worked in publicity for the Atlantic Film Festival Association since 1999 and has been the Communications Manager since 2001, in charge of publicity, media relations, promotions, advertising and marketing. She is also a freelance unit publicist for television and for independent film. She holds a degree in public relations and worked at public affairs and advertising agencies before moving into the film industry. She is currently working on her first feature screenplay.

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