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Berliner and Egoyan Share Top Ft. Lauderdale Prizes

Berliner and Egoyan Share Top Ft. Lauderdale Prizes

Berliner and Egoyan Share Top Ft. Lauderdale Prizes

by Eugene Hernandez

Two regional premieres, Alan Berliner’s “Ma Vie En Rose” and Atom Egoyan’s
The Sweet Hereafter“, took the grand prize at the Fort Lauderdale Film
Festival which came to a close over the weekend. The awards were announced
during the festival’s Luminaries Gala, held in a beachside tent Friday
night. Beyond the jury prizes, the event served as the festival’s second
annual ceremony recognizing the lifetime achievement of a star-studded
group of honorees. The Robert Wise lifetime achievement directing honor was
awarded to filmmaker Arthur Hiller, a special lifetime achievement prize
for music was presented to noted composer Leonard Rosenman, Ben Gazarra was
given a lifetime award for acting, and Fairuza Balk was recognized as a
star of tomorrow.

Friday night’s crowd included a host of seemingly uninterested locals whose
chatter virtually drowned out those at the podium, outdoing even the
Hampton’s closing night audience with their inattentiveness and incurring
pointed responses from many of the honorees. “Quiet on the set!” chided
Robert Wise while introducing his hand-picked honoree Arthur Hiller. “Is
there an assistant director in the house?” quipped Hiller prior to
expressing his deep gratitude at being selected for his idol’s namesake
honor. In an equally heartfelt moment, renowned actress Gena Rowlands
presented the acting award to Gazarra eliciting a standing ovation from the

Recognizing the accomplishments of a group of indies, the festival singled
out a number of other individual achievements. Filmmakers Paul Tarantino
(“Courting Courtney“), Paul Chart (“American Perfekt“), Tom Rooney (“You Are Here“), Jonathan Kaufer (“Bad Manners“) and John Gallagher (“The Deli“) were
honored with Spirit of Independence Awards, while Nick Nolte, Jordan Kiziuk
(of festival people’s choice winner “The Island On Bird Street“), Penelope
Cruz (“El Amor Perjudica Seriamente La Salud“), and the ensemble cast from “Up On The Roof” were noted for acting performances.

Clearly a highlight for the audience was an acapella singing performance by
a trio of actors/singers from the popular “Up On The Roof”. Amy Robbins,
Clare Cathcart and Daniel Ryanbriefly entertained the crowd with a medley
of music. The trio were heldover for a longer stay in Florida following an
extremely successful screening earlier in the week — “Up On The Roof”‘s U.S.
premiere wowed locals drawing a warm standing ovation and leaving many
wondering why the crowd-pleaser still lacks domestic distribution. The
film, the last work from “Rank” (the legendary British film company), was
screened again this weekend at an added screening.

[Reports from the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival will be published in an
upcoming issue of indieWIRE

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