FESTIVAL BRIEFS: Hollywood Black Fest Winners; Comedy Fest Slate; Sedon Fest Lineup; NYC Film Fleadh Slate; Urban World Plans; Miami Winner; Radiohead Doc at onedotzero; Moxie Winners
Compiled by Eugene Hernandez
>> First Hollywood Black Film Fest Awards Winners
The first Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF), presented by Black Talent
News, was held this weekend on the USC campus and at the neighboring Flagship
Theaters in Los Angeles. Anthony Travis’ “Love Goggles” won the HBFF’s
Narrative Jury Award, while Sidra Smith’s “A Luv Tale” took the Audience
Stanley Nelson’s “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords” which recently
screened at Sundance, and won Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award, won the
HBFF’s documentary jury prize. The HBFF Storyteller Award went to Michelle
Williams for her screenplay, “Artistic Expression. “In the shorts competition,
Debbie Reynolds, “Letter To My Mother,” won the jury prize, while Cinque
Northern’s “The Apartment” won the student jury award.
Six feature films and 18 shorts screened at the 1999 HBFF along with a
selection of workshops and seminars. In a prepared statement, organizers
explained that the festival “was established to enhance the careers of
emerging and established filmmakers (directors and writers) from the U.S. and
Canadian Black Diaspora through public exhibition and competition of their
films, and to bring independent works by Black filmmakers to Southern
[For more information, visit the Festival website.
>> Van Lier’s “Chi Girl” Headed to Chicago
“Chi Girl,” the Slamdance Grand Jury prize winner from Heidi Van Lier
(daughter of the Chicago Bulls’ Norm Van Lier), is headed for a screening at
the 2nd annual Chicago Alt.film Fest this June, according to festival
>> Comedy Fest Announces Film Slate
The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival has unveiled the lineup of the film showcase at
its event (March 3 – 7) in Aspen, CO. Among the movies set to screen are Mike
Binder’s world premiere, “The Sex Monster,” David Steinberg’s “The Wrong Guy“
(which was co-written by Dave Foley and David Higgins), Roger Nygard’s
“Suckers,” Leigh Slawner’s “Arthouse,” Francesca Talenti’s “Snake Tales,” and
Nicole Bettauer’s “Zack and Reba.” Also of note at the event is a panel
discussion on the theme of Peter Biskind’s “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls,” with
Bernie Brillstein, Peter Guber, Thom Mount, Julia Phillips, and Arnold Rifkin.
Also screening, direct from their Sundance premieres are Doug Liman’s “Go,”
and James Merendino’s “SLC Punk.”
[For more information, visit the official website.
>> 5th Sedona Fest Set; Event to Include 2-day Focus on Sound
The Sedona Cultural Park’s 5th Sedona International Film Festival will run
March 5 – 7 in Arizona offering film premieres and a two-day industry
seminar. Among the festival debuts are Ken Carlson’s “Special Delivery,”
Ron Constentino’s “Fallen Arches,” and Allen Piper’s “Starving Artists.” Also
screening is Harish Saluja’s “The Journey.” Jerry Ciccoretti’s “Boy Meets
Girl,” will have its U.S. premiere according to festival organizers, alongside
screenings of a handful of international films including Fridrik Thor
Fridrikson’s “Devil’s Island.”
The event’s two-day panel is entitled, “Sound Thinking: Sounds for the Motion
Picture.” it will feature participation by Gloria Border (“Terminator 2“) of
Skywalker Sound, Gary Gerlich (“Speed“), Gregg Landaker (“Empire Strikes
Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark“), editor Carol Littleton, Mark Magnini (“The
Fifth Element“), Richard Portman (“The Deer Hunter“), and Frank Warner (“Close
Encounters of the Third Kind“).
[For more information, visit the official festival website.
>> Latin American “Freedom Film Festival” Premieres New Mexican Films
The 1999 Freedom Film Festival Latin America kicked off in Los Angeles last
night. The US premiere of Maria Sistach’s “El Cometa” from Mexico opened the
event at the Laemmle Monica Theater. Presented by the American Cinema
Foundation, the Festival has been created as a new “annual showcase of Latin
American films. Co-presenters of the event are the Mexican Film Institute and
the Consulate General of Mexico. Other U.S. premieres are Alejandro Gamboa’s
“Primera Noche,” and Carlos Garcia Agraz’ “La Paloma de Marcella.” The
Festival will also offer two films based on the work of Gabriel Garcia
Marquez: Ruy Guerra’s “Erendira,” and Jorge Ali Triana’s “Edipo Alcalde.” The
festival runs through Thursday.
[For more information, call 310/843-0136.]
>> New York Film Fleadh Firms Lineup
The lineup for the 1999 Irish International Film Festival in New York City is
set. As previously reported in indieWIRE, Conor McCourt’s “The McCourts of
New York” will open the event on March 11th, while the U.S. premiere of
Stephen Bradley’s “Sweety Barrett” will close the event on March 14th.
Having its world premiere at the Festival is Bobby Sheehan’s “Seed,” while
also Eoin Moore’s “Break Even” will have its U.S. premiere. Among the other
films screening are Liam McGrath’s “South Paw,” David Caffrey’s “Divorcing
Jack,” Sue Clayton’s “The Disappearance of Finbar,” and Aidan, Declan, and
Paul Quinn’s “This is My Father,” winner of the Best Feature Award at the 1998
Galway Film Fleadh.
[For more information, call 212/966-3030, x225]
>> Spikes Discusses Urban Tour and ’99 Festival; Distribution Company in the
In an interview broadcast live Monday night on the Pseudo Networks
program, Film Bytes, Urban World Film Festival founder Stacy Spikes discussed
the current touring festival and indicated initial plans for the ’99 event, as
well as his goal of creating a new distribution company.
Calling in from on the road at Xavier University in New Orleans, Spikes
indicated that the festival is currently on a twenty university tour that will
end in Los Angeles on March 24th. Among the films screening are Alison Swan’s
“Mixing Nia,” Darryl LeMont Wharton’s “Detention,” Joel Hopkins’s “Jorge,” and
Nelson George’s “To Be a Black Man.” As an extension of the success that the
Urban World group have had with the three-year old festival, and now the tour,
Spikes indicated that he intends to form a distribution company to handle the
release of urban entertainment. Calling it a “full distribution mechanism,”
Spikes said that he is aggressive about carving an online component for the
company that will someday be able to accommodate the distribution of movies
over the Internet or through the convergence of traditional television and
As for the 1999 Urban World Film Festival which is set for August in New York
City, Spikes explained that the event will embrace digitally-shot work by
showcasing the work of filmmakers working in the low-budget digital arena.
Also on tap for ’99 according to Spikes is a music component and the inclusion
of more films by Latino filmmakers.
[For more information, check out the Urban World site at:
>> “Train” Wins Miami Fest
Radu Mihaileanu’s “Train of Life” won the Ryder Audience Award at the 1999
Miami Film Festival. The film, which premiered at Sundance, is a
French/Romanian co-production. Founded sixteen years ago by Nat Chediak, the
Miami Festival is a produced by the Film Society of Miami in collaboration
with Florida International university. According to organizers, the 1999
Festival welcomed 41,000 attendees, a new record.
>> Radiohead Doc Set for British Digital Festival
Matt Hanson, programmer of onedotzero London’s “digital creativity festival,”
reports that the 3rd installment of the event (April 30 – May 9) will include
a screening of Grant Gee’s digtally shot Radiohead concert/tour film, “Meeting
People Is Easy.” Shot on the band’s OK Computer tour last year, the movie was
shot on mini-DV and transferred to 35mm.
Other longform work includes Hiroyuki Nakano’s “Samurai Fiction,” and a double
bill of the documentary “Sneakers,” and “Goldie: When Saturn Returnz,” and a
sneak preview of the anime feature, “Perfect Blue.” While the wavelength section
will offer work by Chris Cunningham, Mike Mills, Intro, Keiran Evans, Gus Gus,
and Spike Jonze.
The festival will be held at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art [ICA].
Final submissions are currently being accepted. Organizers indicate
that “the festival focuses on innovative and progressive, exploratory works
from the hottest digital arts and film talent in [England] and beyond.”
The event is programmed by Hanson and Shane RJ Walter.
[The Festival can be reached via their website
or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, the deadline is March 12, 1999.]
>> “Soundman” and “Last Stand” Take Top Moxie Awards
Steven Widi Ho’s “Soundman” won the award for Best Drama at the Moxie! Santa
Monica Film Festival, while Todd Brunelle and Sheila A. Laffrey’s “Last Stand“
won the Best Documentary prize. The Award for Best Foreign Film went to Bruce
McDonald’s “Elimination Dance,” while the Best Feature prize was awarded to
Gregory J. Lanesey’s “30, Single: Contemplating Suicide.” In the short
categories, Nick James won the prize for Best Contemporary Short, and Richard
Goldgewicht won the Best Short Award.