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By Film Threat Staff | April 23, 2007

The Sarasota Film Festival Competition and Audience Awards were announced at a reception hosted by Metro Coffee & Wine, on Saturday afternoon, April 22nd, 2007.

The awards were introduced by Festival Director of Programming, Tom Hall and Festival Programmer, Holly Herrick and were presented by each of the competition category jurors. The Audience Awards were presented by Hall and Herrick.

Among this year’s Competition Jury members were: Narrative Feature Competition: including film critic/journalist/co-host of television’s “Reel Talk,” Alison Bailes; Co-founder and Co-President of Strand Releasing, Jon Gerrans; literary manager/producer for Anonymous Content, Michael Sugar. Best Documentary Feature Competition: including filmmaker Doug Block; A&E IndieFilms’ Ryan Harrington; programmer/Director of the Flaherty/International Film Seminars, Mary Kerr. Independent Visions Competition: includeing Paul Hudson, co-founder of distribution and sales company Outsider Pictures; filmmaker Lodge Kerrigan; Kelly Sanders, Executive Director of Truly Indie.

Each of the competition awards carries a $5,000 cash prize for the filmmaker.

The 2007 Narrative Feature Competition Award was presented to “Waitress,” directed by Adrienne Shelly.

The 2007 Documentary Feature Competition Award was presented to “Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037,” directed by Benjamin Niles.

A Special Jury Prize was presented by the Documentary Feature jury to “Beyond Hatred,” directed by Olivier Meyrou.

The 2007 Independent Visions Competition Award, sponsored by Heineken, was presented to “Great World of Sound,” directed by Craig Zobel and “Pretty in the Face,” directed by Nate Meyer.

Sponsored by dk Vogue, special recognition goes to winners of our Audience Favorite Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary, Excellence in World Cinema, and Best Short Film. Each category carries a $1,000 cash prize presented to the filmmaker.

The 2007 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature to “Canvas,” directed by Joseph Greco.

The 2007 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature to “Circus Rosaire,” directed by Robyn Bliley.

The 2007 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best In World Cinema to “Away From Her,” directed by Sarah Polley.

The 2007 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film to “Death to the Tinman,” directed by Ray Tintoni.

Later that evening, at the gala Filmmakers’ Tribute Dinner held at the Longboat Key Club & Resort, Board President Neil McCurry, Festival Executive Director, Jody Kielbasa and Master of Ceremonies, Robert Osborne (who was in to moderate an In Conversation With…At The Historic Asolo Theatre with Norman Jewison, and which was taped live for broadcast on TCM’s Private Screening series), paid tribute to its Award Winners and Special Honorees, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Filmmaking to Director Norman Jewison (who was introduced by his “…And Justice For All” actor, Dominic Chianese), Excellence in Producing Award to IFC President Jonathan Sehring, Breakthrough Performer Award to Actress Michelle Trachtenberg (who appeared in the festival’s Closing Night film “Beautiful Ohio,” and the Heineken® Red Star Award presentation to debut director Chad Lowe for “Beautiful Ohio.”

Earlier in the Festival, at an event at The Lake Club Edward Norton was presented with the “2007 Humanitarian Award” and Brian Koppelman with the “Excellence in Screenwriting Award.” Steve Buscemi received the “World Cinema Award” at the outdoor street fair World Cinema Celebration. And at the Luncheon at the Banyan’s event the Regal Entertainment Group’s Career Achievement Award was presented to Academy Award® winner, Marcia Gay Harden and Joe Pantoliano, who co-starred together in the Festival’s Audience Award winner, “Canvas.”

Also, at the Awards presentation at Metro Coffee & Wine, The Youth Awards were presented by Outreach & Education Director Hans Wohlgefahrt.

This year’s Kids Jury consists of 18 aspiring film critics from New Gate School. Instructed on how to critique film by local reviewers, they preview the shorts films and provide theater introductions during the Festival. This year, the Kids Jury selected “I Want To Be A Pilot,” directed by Diego Quemada-Diez, for the youthFEST Short Film Award.

The recipient of the Gerd Petrik Scholarship for Best Film in the Young Filmmakers’ Showcase 2007 was a tie. $500 scholarship awards will be given to Vincent Dale of Pine View School and Datev Gallagher of New Gate School. Selected by the programmers of youthFEST, Dale’s film “American Generica” was chosen for technical filmmaking merit, while “Spoons” by Gallagher was chosen for originality of screenwriting. Other films in the YFS competition included: Zach Freeman for “Deli”, Alex Everingham for “Oasis”, Hali Gardella for “Bedroom Talk”, Ryan Masser for “It’s A Lovely War”, Sean Lewis for “Bradenton Punk Rock Scene” and Stephen Krotseng for “Sarasota: A Lost Art?” The Young Filmmakers’ Showcase features original short works by inspired young filmmakers from Sarasota and Manatee counties. This year the Sarasota Film Festival worked directly with local high schools, in order to highlight their outstanding media programs.

Young Filmmakers’ Showcase has expanded to include a groundbreaking new program in screenwriting that creates a cycle of film production in the youth community of Sarasota and Manatee counties. In the Youth Screenwriting Program, students from Phoenix Academy wrote screenplays in an effort to explore their personal stories in a final, filmable script. The screenplays will be produced as short films made by area youth and featured in the Young Filmmakers’ Showcase at the Festival next year. The scripts developed this year are: “Charlie and Jamie” by Christa Wengerd, “Hell to Ablaze” by Jannette Vargas, “Wassuupppp” by Kieran Delfino, “The Protector” by Joe Vorrasi, “Rumors Beyond Jealousy” by Elsie Aponte and “Forgiveness” by Denise Olmeda.

The Festival awards a scholarship to a promising student enrolled in a Florida-based college film programs. This year’s Dr. John Welch Scholarship is awarded to Erin Kitzinger from the University of Central Florida. Her short film “The Girl Who Couldn’t Dream” is in this year’s short film program. For her UCF thesis, she is directing a feature film, “Hope For A Thorn,” from a script that was the recipient of the UCF School of Film & Digital Media Grant for Special Achievement in Screenwriting in 2005. The film begins shooting this July in the Orlando area. She is currently fundraising for the film and will use the scholarship toward the completion of the project.

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