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Festival Dispatch

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    LA FILM FEST '06: "Ira," "Abby," and "Mario" Win in Audience Prizes; Fest Salutes "Sunshine" and "Qu

    Boasting an attendance of more than 80,000 this year, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival came to a close Sunday night at the Wadsworth Theater in West Los Angeles. On its final night, celeb presenter Christina Applegate announced two feature audience awards -- the fest-goers chose "Ira & Abby," written by (and co-starring) Jennifer Westfeldt and directed by Robert Cary, as the winner of the narrative audience award. The film, a true crowd-pleaser here in L.A. this year, marks Westfeldt's return to the festival following the successful launch of her first feature "Kissing Jessica Stein" here five years ago. The feature about modern r...

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    LA FILM FEST '06: Can Films Save The World? Talking "Chalk" and "Getting Down" In L.A.

    Asked to answer the title question during a Los Angeles Film Festival poolside chat earlier this week -- Can Films Save The World? -- "Paradise Now" director Hany Abu-Assad said flatly, "no." Leading off the discussion by dismissing its concept altogether, the filmmaker added, "I didn't make the fil...

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    Frameline30: Mature and Still Hot

    In some of life's occupations (and preoccupations), turning 30 is a point many would prefer to defer. Supermodels, acrobats, and San Francisco gay men among them. Yes, "maturity" is "nice" in theory -- but facial lines, thinning hair and a body-fat percentage that no longer stays low all by itself c...

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    LA FILM FEST '06: "Gretchen" and "Deliver Us From Evil" Win Big Award$ in L.A.

    Cash prizes totaling a whopping $100,000 were doled out to a pair of grateful filmmakers here at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Wednesday night. Steve Collins won the $50,000 cash Target Filmmaker Award for his first feature film, "Gretchen," while the Target Documentary Award, which also included...

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    LA FILM FEST '06: Words of Wisdom From Harrison Ford; "Beyond Conviction"; and Are Costumes Fashion?

    Hollywood was again in the spotlight at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival Monday night in Southern California. Big-time director George Lucas welcomed festival filmmakers to Skywalker Ranch last week for the pre-fest retreat, and on Monday Han Solo himself joined participants for the annual Filmmaker Reception. While actor Harrison Ford, one of this year's honorary co-chairs at the LA Film Fest, didn't seem to spend too much time meeting and greeting filmmakers at Monday's L.A. Film Fest party at the W Hotel in Westwood, he did take the stage to leave attendees with a few words of wisdom (most of which are included below). The much-appreciat...

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    LA FILM FESTIVAL '06: Westfeldt Back at LA Film Fest, With "Ira and Abby"; And Linklater Chats

    Five years after finding success at the Los Angeles Film Festival with "Kissing Jessica Stein," where the film won the audience award and was subsequently acquired by Fox Searchlight, writer and actress Jennifer Westfeldt returned to the fest with her latest film, "Ira and Abby." Westfeldt again wro...

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    LA FILM FESTIVAL '06: "Prada" Opening, Lucas Hosts Filmmakers, Gore on "Green Day" and More

    The Los Angeles Film Festival got off to a glamorous start Thursday night with the L.A. premiere of David Frankel's "The Devil Wears Prada" in the heart of the event's new neighborhood, Westwood Village. Though the Fox release is clearly Hollywood fare (with a cast that includes such boldfaced names...

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    Year Four at SilverDocs: Gore, Scorsese, Jarmusch, Premieres, and More

    It's no secret that documentarians are some of the most independent and hardworking filmmakers in the biz. In a film's credits, it's not unusual to see a movie written, directed, edited and shot by the same person. Documentaries are passion projects. Showcasing stories that could not be left untol...

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    Year Five of Showcasing the Best of Modern Asian Cinema, at NYAFF '06

    It seems like the hippest discussion topics for underground cinema fans these days are "Snakes on a Plane" and Asian Cinema, which means the fifth anniversary of the New York Asian Film Festival has arrived in perfect time. Hosted by a grassroots group called Subway Cinema, NYAFF has been way ahead of the game for years now, providing New York City with two weeks' worth of some of the best modern cinema that Asia has to offer. While other festivals are highlighting Asia in their midnight program with bland horror films like Korea's "Voice", Subway has been serving up one of the most diverse selections of Asian films in the country -- rivaled ...

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    Mansions, Politics and a Little Boogie, Newport Film Festival Spotlights the "Hot" Indies

    It's a rare and gratifying experience to watch a documentary and then shake hands with the film's subject. It's an even rarer and more gratifying experience to watch a documentary about a man who was wrongly accused of a crime, scapegoated by a negligent, racist judicial system, and imprisoned for t...

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