Avignon/New York Fest Awards $50,000 To French, U.S. Winners
by Wendy Mitchell
The Avignon/New York Film Festival wrapped on April 13 in New York, awarding $50,000 in products and services to directors who grabbed the fest's 21st century filmmaker awards. The winners were: Christophe Ruggia for "Les Diables" (The Devils), best French feature; Bob Odenkirk for "Melvin Goes to Dinner," best American feature; Philippe Orreindy for "J'attendrai le Suivant" (I'll Wait for the Next One), best French short; and Markus Griesshammer for "Coyote Beach," best American short.
Ruggia's "Diables," about young criminals on the loose, has been praised after showings in Miami, Toronto, and San Sebastian, among other festivals. "Melvin Goes to Dinner," directed by Odenkirk of "Mr. Show" fame, is about the conversation that evolves as friends share dinner.
Runner ups were Julien Rambaldi for "Scotch" (French short), Stephen Marro for "The Quality of Mercy" (U.S. short), Nicolas Cuche for "JoJo La Frite" (French feature), and Peter Callahan for "Last Ball" (U.S. feature).
Other prizes at the fest, which annually honors French and American indie films, were the Le Prix Valerie (honoring women in indie film) given to producer Sandra Schulberg. A special award for artistic accomplishment went to composer Sasha Gordon for her score of William Wellman's 1927 film "Wings," and the Kodak Vision Award for best cinematography when to DP Robert Chapell for "The Quality of Mercy."
The awards ceremony, hosted by Ben Gazzara and Christine Lahti, was held at New York University's Cantor Film Center. The fest screened 17 features and 26 shorts in total.