Beverly Hills Film Festival: And the Envelope Please...
Posted by Dee Guisée on Apr 16, 2006 - 10:26:00 PM

Beverly Hills - There comes a moment in every filmmaker’s life when all the sweat, when all the angst, when all the maxed-out credit cards, when the effort-against-all-odds seem worth it: official recognition of your baby.  The 6th Annual Beverly Hills International Film Festival handed out its awards to an international cast of independent filmmakers and actors last Sunday night.  The closing Gala Awards ceremony took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel and, while only a few walked off with tiny statuettes, the many were honored. 


The BHFF founder, Nino Simone, has declared that this Festival, held in the film industry’s back yard, is dedicated to showcasing and promoting non-studio films to the entertainment industry, with a nod to the internationally talented nature of independent film.  Accordingly, the Festival’s Golden Palm Award for Best Film in All Categories went to “Assyriska: A National Team Without a Nation”, directed by Nuri Kino and Erik Sandberg.  This documentary was the third episode in a five part series that chronicles an Assyrian soccer team from a small Swedish town as it achieves international stardom.


The Best Foreign Film Award went to “Verso La Luna Con Fellini”, directed by Eugenio Cappuccio.  Another documentary, this film featured the late, great Italian director Federico Fellino shooting his last film, “La Voce della Luna” and which took fourteen years to come to the screen.


The Best Actor Award was picked up by Patrick Warburton for his role in “The Civilization of Maxwell Bright” and Best Actress went to Dita Von Teese (she of the famous recent marriage to bizarro rock front man, Marilyn Mason) for “The Death of Salvador Dali”.


Harold Cronk won the Best Director Award for “War Prayer”, an intense short film inspired by a Mark Twain story, proving that great art can come in small packages.


          The Beverly Hills Film Festival offers an interesting Award category: Best Producer.  At the Academy Awards, this is the Oscar picked up by the producers of the film that wins Best Picture and it is refreshing to see that BHFF recognizes the extraordinary work of the person who ‘brings it all together’ to create a film.  In this case, that accolade goes to H. Thomas Jones for  “The Real Deal”, a documentary about Los Angeles’ John Malpede and his two-decade commitment to a performance theatre for the homeless on Skid Row.


          Best Director of Photography was awarded to Denis Maloney for “The Locrian Mode”.  Best Screenplay was picked up by writer/director Sam Friedlander for “Lucid”, Best Editing went to Hayley Lake for “Brother” and “Rattus Pistofficus” was selected as Best Animated Film (directed by Sam and Josh Reed).


          Special Jury Awards went to “Achados e Perdidos” for Best Feature Film, “Rwanda Alive: Those Who Listen” for Best Documentary and “Brother” for Best Short Film.


          Audience Choice Awards are always fun and this year’s Best Feature Film went to “The Civilization of Maxwell Bright”, Best Documentary went to “Orquesta Tipica: Tango or Death” and Best Short to “Escape”.


          The BHFF also recognizes screenplays and this year’s Golden Palm Screenplay Competition Award went to Kim Sky and Dariusz Uczkowski for “A Broken Child”. With luck, next year’s competitive line-up will feature this completed film!


Information on all films mentioned above, as well as details concerning next year’s festival may be found at: