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Virginia Film Festival Winners

The Virginia Film Festival has announced that Josh Radnor’s happythankyoumoreplease has captured the Audience Favorite Award for Best Narrative Feature for the recently-wrapped, and record-setting, 2010 Festival.

The Virginia Film Festival, which smashed previous records for both attendance and box office sales by 25% this year, is presented by the University of Virginia and its College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Radnor’s happythankyoumoreplease, which played to a full house at the Paramount Theater as the festival’s Closing Night Film on Sunday, November 7, also earned the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Earning the Audience Favorite Award in the documentary category at the Virginia Film Festival was Stanley Nelson’s powerful documentary Freedom Riders, which showcases the uncommon bravery of the more than 400 Americans who stood up to racial intolerance in the early 1960’s by riding mass transit in the deep South, in direct defiance of the laws of the day.

The 2010 Virginia Film Festival Audience Favorite Award winner for Best Short Narrative was Prism, made by University of Virginia students Alexandra Miller, Debra Cohen and Dan Quinn. The winner for Best Short Documentary was That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town. Directed by Hannah Brown Ayers and Lance Warren, the film explores the nearly-forgotten history of Charlottesville’s largest African-American neighborhood, Vinegar Hill.

Audience Favorite Awards were voted on throughout the festival through ballots handed out at each screening. The 2010 Virginia Film Festival Audience Favorite Awards were sponsored by the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport as part of a partnership that seeks to expand on the festival’s success by building its profile as a significant destination festival for regional and national audiences.

This year’s competition was so fierce, and the margins of victory so tight, that Virginia Film Festival Director Jody Kielbasa decided to amend his original award plans, expanding his original plan for a single Programmers Award to include one for each category.

“We were thrilled, first of all, at how many of our audience members voted for these awards,” Kielbasa said. “It shows a tremendous level of engagement with the festival as a whole, which was also represented in our record turnout throughout the weekend. Then on top of this we were surprised at just how close the voting was for these audience awards, many of which were determined by mere percentage points. So, as a nod to the number of truly outstanding films and filmmakers we had at the festival this year, we decided it would be appropriate to offer Programmers Awards in each category.”

The winner of the 2010 Programmers Award for Best Narrative Feature was Kawasaki’s Rose, a film by Czech filmmaker Jan Hrebejk that tells the tale of a scientist whose complicated past is on the verge of being exposed just as he is to be awarded for extraordinary achievements in his field.

The Programmers Award for Best Documentary went to Louder Than a Bomb, a powerful story from directors Greg Jacobs and John Siskel about a group of inner-city Chicago teens preparing to compete in the world’s largest youth poetry slam. An inspirational tale of passion, competition, teamwork and trust, the film has been hailed throughout the festival circuit this year, capturing top documentary honors at the Chicago and Austin Film Festivals.

Winning the 2010 Programmers Award for Best Short Narrative was Kamal John Iskander’s Jesus Comes To Town; and earning top honors in the Best Short Documentary category was The Enduring Legacy of Pocahantas Island, a history of one of the oldest African American communities in the country, made by students at Virginia State University overseen by noted actor/director Tim Reid.

The full listing of the Virginia Film Festival’s Audience and Programmers Awards is below:

Audience Favorite - Narrative
winner: happythankyoumoreplease
Audience Favorite - Documentary
winner: Freedom Riders
Audience Favorite - Short Narrative
winner: Prism
Audience Favorite - Short Documentary
winner: That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town
Programmers Award - Narrative
winner: Kawasaki's Rose
Programmers Award - Documentary
winner: Louder Than a Bomb
Programmers Award - Short Narrative
winner: Jesus Comes to Town
Programmers Award - Short Documentary
winner: The Enduring Legacy of Pocahontas Island

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

Premiere sponsors for the 2010 Virginia Film Festival are the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Acura, AV Company, Regal Entertainment Group and the Virginia Film Office.


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