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Palm Beach International Film Festival Awards

Palm Beach International Film Festival Wraps After Eight Days of World Premieres, Academy Award Winners and Student Events

The 11th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival, which came to a close april 28, announced the jury and audience awards for the 2006 edition. The Best Feature Film Award went to “Neo Ned,” directed by Van Fischer; the Best Documentary Award went to “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” directed by Ricki Stern; and the Best Short Film Award went to “Zombie Prom,” directed by Vin Marcello. Award winners for Best Director, Actor and Actress Award winners all came from the same film --“Neo Ned” – and went to Van Fischer, Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union, respectively.

Audiences also chose their favorite films throughout the festival, with The Gold Bracelet winning for Best Feature, Music is My Life, Politics My Mistress and The Cross and the Towers winning for Best Documentary and Vagabond Shoes winning for Best Short film.

The Industry comprised jury was comprised of Emmanuel Itier (filmmaker), Tim Wassberg (producer, “Inside Reel”) and Anthony Maddox (Chief Entertainment Consultant, Vibe Magazine).

“This year's film festival offered a range of topics from social relevance to family dysfunction to the purity of morality,” said Tim Wassberg. “However it was a mixture of these relevant elements that spoke in this year’s winners. Because of this, the Palm Beach International Film Festival continues to show its penchant for diversity in film and the exchange of ideas among filmmakers.

The Best Feature, “Neo Ned,” is a gritty character study and poignant love story of two people brought together by a seemingly impossible connection. As a result of that connection, they both find that there is more to a person than what is on the surface.

Says Itier, “The film puts the thunder into love, the hope into chaos and life into death. It was a beautiful urban poem against racism and for the success of love over hate. Van Fischer is sure to be a future Oscar contender.”

Adds Wassberg, “Neo Ned” takes a controversial subject within racism and turns it on its head using both humor and drama to make its point. With heartfelt but also hard hitting performances by both Jeremy Renner (Best Actor) and Gabrielle Union (Best Actress), the layers that they peel away bring the characters to their ultimate and selfless conclusion. Impacting and with a social consciousness that doesn't bludgeon the audience with its ideas, “Neo Ned” is a movie that is both entertaining and intelligent while still being emotional.

The Award for Best Documentary went to “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” directed by Ricki Stern. Set in North Carolina, circa 1984, a brutal murder leaves a white woman dead and a young black man wrongfully accused. This harrowing documentary offers a provocative and haunting examination of a community – and a criminal justice system – subject to racial bias and tainted by fear.

“It was an excellent portrayal of injustice painted for every eye to see,” said Anthony Maddox.

The award for Best Short Film went to “Zombie Prom,” a movie musical best described as an amusing anecdote of atomic adolescent angst! “Vin Marcello is a director to watch…a mix between John Waters and Tim Burton,” says Itier. “The living and the dead are rock ‘n’ rolling between heaven and hell in this film. It is a blasting ride…be sure to fasten your heart and seatbelt!”

The 11th annual Palm Beach International Film Festival was held April 20-28 at various venues throughout Palm Beach County. PBIFF is a not for profit 501(3)(c) charity dedicated to improving educational programs in Palm Beach County high schools, community colleges and universities. Proceeds raised each year go to Palm Beach County schools to provide new technologies for optimal learning in the forms of grants and scholarships. For information visit or call 561.362.0003.


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