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Starz denver Film Festival Award Winners

The 2009 Starz Denver Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday, November 22. Many thanks to all the filmmakers, speakers, volunteers, venues and sponsors who made the Festival such a success.

Juried Award Winners:
Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film - PROTECTOR
Emerging Filmmaker Award - THE VICIOUS KIND
Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film - THE GOOD SOLDIER
Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award - GAINING GROUND
ASIFA-Colorado Prize for the Best Animated Short Award - THE NECKTIE

Starz People's Choice Award Winners:
Best Feature Film - HARMONY AND ME
Best Documentary - STILL BILL
Best Short Film - LIKHAYA

DIRECTOR: Marek Najbrt
Producer: Milan Kuchynka, Pavel Strnad
Editor: Pavel Hrdllcka
Screenwriter: Marek Najbrt, Robert Geisier, Benjamin Tucek
Cinematographer: Miloslav Holman
Principal Cast: Matthias Brandt, Jan Budar, Marek Daniel, Cyril Drozda, Tomás Mechácek

In Protector, writer/director and Czech Lion winner Marek Najbrt observes a couple suddenly divided along wartime lines to pose the question, “Who would you betray to save the one you love?” Hana, an actress, has just been given the role of a lifetime. The ensuing fanfare makes her husband Emil jealous. A radio reporter, he does not cope well with her greater success. But when the Germans invade Czechoslovakia in 1938, Hana is forced her to give up the theater and her dreams due to her Jewish heritage. She falls out of the limelight and into obscurity. Meanwhile, Emil’s career takes the opposite path as the Nazis recognize his on-air talents and make him the voice of their propaganda. Emil has agreed to collaborate with the enemy in the guise of protecting Hana – but he now controls her every move.

As his bargain with the Nazis undermines his self-respect, so his marriage continues to deteriorate. But things are about to get much worse. Late for work one morning, Emil steals a bicycle he finds on the street. Unbeknownst to him, someone has just attempted to assassinate the Third Reich Deputy Protector Reinhard Heydrich – and escaped on just such a bicycle. Formerly in the Nazis’ favor, Emil becomes a suspect – and the couple is now in more danger than ever.

This smart period drama, as stylish as it is dark, is the Czech Republic’s nominee for Best Foreign Film for the Academy Awards in 2010.

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