Van Sant Takes Audience Prize in Athens, "The Last Big Thing" and "Girls Like Us" Awarded Jury Prizes

by Eugene Hernandez

The first Athens Film Festival concluded Friday night with an awards
ceremony at the historic Morton Theater. Festival Director Juanita Giles
and the event's jurors announced the winners prior to screening top
honorees for the local audience. "Ballad Of The Skeletons" directed by Gus
Van Sant ("To Die For", "Drugstore Cowboy"), and featuring the late Allen
Ginsberg, won the Audience Award, while Dan Zuckovic's "The Last Big Thing"
was given the Jury Prize for Best Feature, and Jane C. Wagner & Tina De
Feliciantonio's "Girls Like Us" received the Documentary Jury Award. The jury
prize for Best Short went to "Blixz Bargeld Stole My Cowboy Boots", an Open
City film directed by Leslie McCleave and starring Michael Imperioli.

The festival's screenwriting award was presented to local screenwriter
Jeremy Ayers for his screenplay, "Lone Star Moon". Ayers is best known as a
songwriter for the renowned Athens group, The B-52's.

The film festival jury was made up of five individuals: Film Threat's Chris
Gore, cinematographer Mark Raker, writer/musician/filmmaker Jeri Cain
Rossi, University of Georgia Film Professor Charles Eidsvik, and Michael
Jones of FILMMAKER Magazine and indieWIRE.

[indieWIRE was ON THE SCENE at the 1997 Athens Film Festival. A complete
wrap-up from the event will be published in tomorrow's issue.]