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By Film Threat Staff | June 17, 2007

Sin City’s SinDance – the 9th Annual CineVegas Film Festival which opened with Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Thirteen” and concludes this evening with John Dahl’s comedy “You Kill Me” – bestowed its filmmaking honors today in an afternoon ceremony helmed by Artistic Director Trevor Groth, festival President Robin Greenspun and Chairman of the Creative Advisory Board Dennis Hopper. Festival winners included, among others, Adam Rifkin’s “LOOK” which received the Grand Jury Prize, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” which received a Special Jury Award for Best Director, as well as “All God’s Children Can Dance” which was acknowledged with a Special Jury Award for Distinctive Visual Expression. Additionally, the Jury Prize for the fest’s new program block focused on Mexican cinema, La Próxima Ola, was awarded to “Bad Habits (Malos Hábitos).” Crowd pleasers “I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal” and “Throwing Stars” picked up the Audience Awards for Documentary and Narrative Features. The Heineken Red Star Award was presented to “The Living Wake.”

“2007 marked a major milestone for the festival,” said Artistic Director Trevor Groth commenting on this year’s success. “The quality of the films as well as filmmaker, talent, industry and audience turn-out has reached an all-time high.”

Feature Jury Competition
This year’s feature jury was presided over by acclaimed producer Effie T. Brown, Screen International’s U.S. Editor Mike Goodridge, Editor and Chief Critic for Los Angeles City Beat Andy Klein, and Scott Macaulay, New York-based producer and Co-President of Forensic Films and Editor and Co-Founder of Filmmaker Magazine.

The Grand Jury Prize went to “LOOK,” directed by Adam Rifkin. Shot entirely from the point of view of the hundreds of surveillance cameras we live under everyday, “LOOK” is a film about the things people do when they don’t know they’re being watched.

A Special Jury Award for Best Directing was awarded to Joy Dietrich for “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” a rare view into the emotionally complex interior of Asian-American women, featuring a Korean adoptee who needs to come to terms with her damaged past.

“All God’s Children Can Dance,” directed by Robert Logevall, received a Special Jury Award for Distinctive Visual Expression. Based on Haruki Murakami’s short story, the film tells the story of Kengo, a teenager living in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, whose fervently religious mother insists that he is the son of God.

Sol Tryon’s “The Living Wake” garnered the Heineken Red Star Award. A dark comedy set in a storybook universe, “The Living Wake” chronicles the final day of K. Roth Binew, a quixotic character who attempts to probe life’s great mysteries before his final hour.

The Heineken Red Star Award recognizes films that push the boundaries of creativity and provide a unique vision and execution; this award was created in an effort to promote up-and-coming filmmakers by providing additional exposure and visibility for their films. To this end, Heineken has partnered with two venerable media partners – Variety and the Independent Film Channel (IFC) – to bring well-deserved publicity and visibility to the Heineken Red Star Award recipients and their films.

Audience Awards
This year’s festival boasted record attendance and Vegas crowds anointed “I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal” and “Throwing Stars” with the CineVegas Audience Awards for Documentary and Narrative Features.

Featured in the festival’s Modern Crusaders section of political docs, Richard Trank’s “I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal” examines the Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who became a Nazi hunter after surviving the Holocaust.

In director Todd Breau’s “Throwing Stars,” the bond between four childhood friends is tested when they have to cover up a murder.

La Próxima Ola Jury
Sundance Film Festival Co-Director Geoffrey Gilmore, lauded actor Clifton Collins, Jr. and filmmaker Justin Lin spearheaded the jury for the festival’s new Mexican cinema section, La Próxima Ola, dedicated to discovering and celebrating the freshest voices of Mexican film today.

La Próxima Ola Jury Prize was awarded to “Bad Habits (Malos Hábitos),” directed by Simón Bross. “Bad Habits (Malos Hábitos)” is the story of three women whose eating habits determine and dominate their lives.

Shorts Jury
This year’s shorts jury included film and television production pro Emily Jillette, film and television director Gary Nelson, and local NBC anchor Mitch Truswell.

Jennifer Aniston and Andrea Buchanan’s “Room 10” received the CineVegas Short Film Jury Prize while David Schmoeller’s “Spanking Lessons” received the CineVegas Nevada Short Film Jury Prize. The jury also acknowledged “BITCH,” “Equal Opportunity,” “Year of the Dog” and the local film “Danuta” with Honorable Mentions.

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