That's a Wrap! Palm Beach Closes 10th Annual Film Fest
It was a celebration of a decade worth of film as the Palm Beach International Film Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary. After a week of screenings, the jury votes were tallied to determine the winners for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Performance by an Actor/Actress, while audiences voted for their favorite in categories of features (including a separate Favorite Palm Beach Feature), documentaries and shorts. Winners were announced at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony.
The jury consisted of producers Jonathan D. Krane (Basic, Primary Colors, Face/Off) and Elliot P. Geisinger (Amityville Horror, Child's Play) - both new South Florida residents -- for features and Roger Durling (Executive Director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival) and John Hall (Director of Distribution, Universal Studios) for Documentaries and Shorts. The jury was particularly appreciative of the effort each filmmaker put into their projects and felt they should be commended for the creative energy that went into each film! The winning films were:
The Award for Best Feature Film went to John Daly's "The Aryan Couple" a WWII drama about a German/Jewish industrialist (Martin Landau) who, in order to ensure his family's safe passage out of Germany, is forced to hand over his business to the Nazis.
The Award for Best Director of a Feature Film went to Jeff Hare for his film "Checking Out," about an Old Shakespearean actor who invites his three children to his suicide party. When they quickly arrive and for the first time work together, prove to their father why life is worth living.
The two Awards were given to an actor and actress for Best Performances in a Feature Film went to Laura San Giacomo for her role as the perhaps-too-funny-for-her-own-good sitcom producer/daughter of Peter Falk's Morris Applebaum in Jeff Hare's "Checking Out" and Kenny Doughty, for his performance as the mysterious "perfect Aryan" valet in "The Aryan Couple".
A Special Jury Prize for Best Feature also went to "Human Touch," for its ability to depict the awakening of the human spirit.
The Award for Best Documentary Feature went to "39 Pounds of Love." Directed by Dani Menkin, this is the story of Ami, a man who while unable to move any part of his body, still manages to move each and everyone of us as he teaches us a part of life's intimate dance. The Jury all agreed that the documentary could very well be worthy of an Academy Award nomination!
The Award for Best Short Film went to "Binta and the Great Idea" directed by Javier Fesser about a 7-year-old girl who lives in a village in southern Senegal and is able to go to school, compared to her cousin who does not have the same good fortune.
A Special Jury Mention went to the short film "Things That Go Bump In The Night", directed by Adam Salky. That special night with your girlfriend can be awfully difficult when she lives at home with her parents! The jury was impressed by the filmmaker's usage of the short format in the concise telling of the story.
The Audience Choice Awards were announced by actress Sally Kellerman.
The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film went to "Night of the Dog." The World Premiere film was the result of the collaboration of six filmmakers - Jaremy Catalino, Peter Donovan, Michael Patrick Burke, Esthon Nelms, Ian Nelms, and Peter Atencio - who directed, produced, wrote and starred in the comedy about six friends and an epic night out!
The Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature went to "Keeper of the Kohn," directed by David Gaynes about the heart-warming story of a man living with autism.
The Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film went to "A Day in the Life of a Bathroom Key," directed by Jill Effron. The humorous short tells the story of an ordinary office key and its daily adventures.
Following the awards ceremony, director Jeff Hare, actor Judge Reinhold and producer Mark Lane introduced the closing night film "Checking Out." Following the film, festival attendees and filmmakers moved over to The Canteen for a private closing night celebration.