"Beckham" and "Greek Wedding" Win Prizes at U.S. Comedy Arts Festival
by Brian Brooks
The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival revealed the winners of its 2003 event with Gurinder Chadha's 2002 Toronto favorite "Bend It Like Beckham" winning the jury award for best feature. The film tells the story of the daughter of traditional Sikh parents who rebels by taking off to Germany with a football team. The prize for best director went to Simeon Soffer ("Fight to the Max") for "4th and Life."
In other prizes, Don Coscarelli's "Bubba Ho-Tep" won the awards for best screenplay (Coscarelli) and best actor for Bruce Campbell. The film gives a "true" account of what happened to Elvis Presley and his "actual" switch of identities. The best actress prize was shared by the trio of dragsters from the Sundance 2003 feature, "Girls Will Be Girls." Ms. Coco Peru (Clinton Leupp) and Eva Harris (Jack Plotnick) were present to receive the prize. Varla Jean Merman (Jeffrey Roberson), who also shared the award, was not present at the ceremony.
In the inaugural Comedy Film Honors category, Joel Zwick's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" won best independent comedy and Burr Steers took best first time director honores for "Igby Goes Down." The festival also presented prizes for live performance, giving the best stand-up award to Loni Love and best one person show to Demetri Martin.