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Savannah Film Festival Awards winners

The Savannah Film Festival presented the 2005 awards for student and professional competition films tonight at 7 p.m. at Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St. The awards ceremony capped off the eight-day festival, which screened more than 50 films.

Awards winners are as follows:

HBO Films Producer Award: «Plagues and Pleasures» Producer, Christopher Metzler

Best Director: Doug Sadler, «Swimmers»

Best Narrative Feature: «Swimmers» Director, Doug Sadler

Best Documentary: « Plagues and Pleasures» Director, Christopher Metzler

Best Narrative Short: «The Act» Directors Susan Kraker and Pi Ware

Best Animation: «Heavy Pockets» Director Sarah Cox

Jury Award: «Handshake» «Love Ludlow» and «Perils in Nude Modeling» Best Savannah College of Art and Design Student Film: «The World Outside.» Directors Josh Lind and Kevin Philllips


The HBO Films Best Student Film, which included a $5,000 grand prize, was awarded to «The World Outside» directed by Josh Lind and Kevin Phillips and written by Ben Collins. The first runner up in the student competition was «Lyra Lezama» directed and written by Clayton H. Haskell.


The films were juried by a distinguished panel of five judges: Jenny Bicks, Christopher Black, Camilla Carr, Diane Connors and Richard Turner.

Bicks is an award-winning writer who served as a writer and executive producer for HBO’s «Sex and the City.» She also has written for several other shows including «Seinfeld» and Dawnson’s Creek.» Her film work includes «What a Girl Wants» and the screen adaptation of the best-selling book «The Nanny Diaries» for Miramax Films.

Black got his start in the film industry working for a small theatrical art house distributor in the San Francisco Bay Area during the independent film boom of the early 1990s. He manages dual responsibilities for the Starz Entertainment Group, developing and producing original feature documentary projects.

Carr is an award-winning screenwriter and actress who most recently adapted Nobel Prize-recipient Thomas Mann’s last novella «The Black Swan» for the screen. Also in the works is Carr’s new play, «All About Bette,» which will star Carol Kane as actress Bette Davis and be directed by David Schweizer in 2006.

Connors, vice president of special events at Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, a division of The Walt Disney Company, is an avid film buff and has produced more than 200 film premiere parties during the past decade including «The Village» and «Pearl Harbor.»

Turner, vice president of business affairs and programming at Starz Entertainment Group, is responsible for all agreements related to licensing of motion pictures to Starz, including major studios and independents. Turner also is the chairman of the board of the Denver Film Society.

Kicking off the festival on Saturday, Oct. 29, was a special screening of «Good Night, and Good Luck» starring George Clooney (who also directed the film), Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels and Tate Donovan. Other well-received films shown at the 2005 Savannah Film Festival were «The White Countess» starring Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave and Natasha Richardson; «The Squid and the Whale,» starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney; [INSERT DIRECTOR’S CHOICE]; «Capote,» starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener, and «Pride and Prejudice» starring Kieira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

Some of this year’s highlights included visits from internationally renowned special guests, including legendary director Sidney Lumet, who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for directing; actress Ellen Burstyn, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Acting; actress Natasha Richardson and actor Jeff Daniels, who both were presented with Achievement in Cinema Awards for Acting; award-winning film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sound Design and Film Editing; and animation partners Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who received Lifetime Achievement Awards for Animation.
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In addition to the honored guests, special guests at the festival included James Franco («James Dean,» «Spider-Man»), who conducted a case study following the special screening of his film «The Ape»; famed screenwriter Buck Henry conducted a workshop on screenwriting; longtime industry producer Alan Ladd Jr. led a panel on producing; actor George Segal participated in a question-and-answer session following the special screening of «The Owl and the Pussycat»; and Savannah home cooking icon Paula Deen surprised attendees at the case study featuring show creators Gordon Elliott and Mark Schneider.

The 2005 Savannah Film Festival screened more than 50 films and was attended by more than 35,000 people during the eight-day event. Special screenings and student and professional competition film screenings were held at Trustees Theater and the Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St. The 2006 Savannah Film Festival will take place October 28 November 4, 2006





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