GLENDALE, Calif. (Apr. 2, 2010) — A family drama with a sobering climax involving a child intent on stopping her abusive father won Best Film Saturday at the Bible-verse-illustrating 168 Film Festival, collecting six awards, including Best Director, Screenplay-Drama and three out of the four acting categories: Best Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress, it was announced by Executive Director Paul E. Luebbers.
Six-year-old Best Actress winner Maggie Jones was not tall enough to see over the podium, but her acceptance speech went over big: “I would like to thank the director Jim and God; and my mommy.” During the show, emcee Ron Pearson had fun with the tyke onstage, re-enacting the film’s signature tea party scene.
Producer of the Atlanta-shot “The Party” Helen Urriola said, “Maggie’s really something special. She’s just a natural.”
In a year that saw “The Hurt Locker’s” Kathryn Bigelow become the first female ever to win the Oscar for Best Director, Urriola represents the second female best pic winner in 168’s eight years. Producer Deborah Brown won in 2006 with the story of a suicide averted by a visit from Jesus himself, “Cinque Minute” (Five Minutes).
Jones is the youngest actor ever to win a Jury Award, following the late Marieke Douridas’ Best Actress award at age 12 for “Free of Charge” (2006), “iCarly” star Nathan Kress’ Honorable Mention at age 10 for “Bag” (2007) and Darci Hill’s Best Supporting Actress at age seven for “Real Estate Superman” (2007).
Director Jim McKinney said, “We made sure during the casting and rehearsals, that Maggie could make the distinction between her character and herself. I told her, ‘You’ve seen your daddy do some pretty terrible things, and your character figures out a way to end mommy’s pain. At the last minute, you stop and listen to the voice telling you right from wrong.’ She knew what to do organically.”
Based on God’s promise in Jeremiah 1:6-8 to rescue a fearful child, the film also stars “Army Wives” regular and Best Actor Jeff Rose as her estranged and wife-battering dad. Up for eight awards in a field of 19 narrative films that included two contenders boasting 12 (“Skip Listening” by Christopher Shawn Shaw) and 13 nominations (“Forsaken” by David Kiang), “The Party” dominated the fest’s major categories, with awards going to (besides Urriola, McKinney and Rose) Scott Ippolito for Screenplay-Drama and Carrie Walrond, who plays the mother, for Supporting Actress.
Maggie has acted in three commercials, and, according to her mom Angela, she just booked a role on a Fox/Imagine pilot comedy called “Most Likely to Succeed.” The production centers on a group of friends who were popular growing up and are now adults, and is exec produced by Dave Walpert (“Scrubs”), David Nevins and Brian Grazer.
Rose, in his acceptance speech, said he was “in shock. The caliber of talent in this category makes this (award) so sweet.”
“The competition outside L.A. from places like Georgia, Texas and Ohio has really been impressive,” said 168 founder and president John David Ware. “This year’s festival saw so many tightly-bunched nominees, our jury had their hands full. Hats off to the artists.”
According to Grammy winning singer and 168 Film Festival presenter Rebecca St. James, “It’s exciting what’s happening here tonight. We are a part of a medium that changes the world for good or for bad and we need to be in the mix reclaiming this work of art called film.” St. James also stated her intent to continue pursuing acting and in the future, producing films.
Second-most-decorated film among this year’s “Hearing God”-themed entries “Just Cops,” from six-time 168 filmmaker Theo Love, took five technical categories, meanwhile, with wins for Best Cinematography (Drew Maw); Editing (Love); Sound Design (Love); Production Design (Love) and Makeup (Carol Ochoa, Beatrice Najera).
“Try Hard,” a farcical look at an archetypal Hollywood wannabe filmmaker, was the only other multiple-award-winner, with three for Best Comedy (Nick Ganas, David Gaw, Trip Gould, David Martinez), Screenplay-Comedy (Gaw, Ganas) and Saturday night’s Audience Award.
Nine remaining films took one award each, including “Through My Sister’s Eyes” (Best Scriptural Integration) Keith Wilcox, Aaron John Tao; “Moya” (Best Supporting Actor) Joshua M. Bott, “Got a Light” (Original Score) Joey Williams; “Out of the Fire” (Newcomer Award) Jeanette Reedy Solano, Lorenzo D. Durand; “Relentless Heart” (Evangelista Award for best gospel of Jesus presentation) Alberto Portillo; “Pesan Terkirim” (International Film) Onggo Susilo; “Desert Ark” (Unlimited Documentary) Sarah & Greg Williams; “Back” (Friday night’s Audience Award) David Rhee; and “Connectivity” (Best Behind the Scenes documentary) Pete Brown.
Top individual award winners, with three each, were “Just Cops” writer-director-producer Love (Editor, Sound Design, Production Design) and the “Try Hard” team of writer-director-producer David Gaw and writer-producer Nick Ganas (Best Comedy, Screenplay-Comedy, Saturday night’s Audience Award).
Solano said of her Newcomer Award, “I learned so much in the making of this film, probably more than a year’s worth of film school. This award is so encouraging.”
Former 168 board member and USC film school grad Derrick Warfel won the special “169 Award” given to those who go one step further in service to 168. The writer-director has mentored hundreds of filmmakers and is the author of a soup-to-nuts production manual focused on short films.
For the complete list of winners: click here: http://www.168project.com/news/244.cfm
The 168 Film Festival jury included Ralph Winter, producer (“X-MEN: Wolverine”); Brian Bird, writer/producer (“Touched by an Angel”); Gary Hall, Sr. VP 20th Cent. Fox Television Post Production; Luke Schelhaas, writer/producer (“Law and Order”); Greg Michael, 2nd unit director (“G.I. Joe,” “The Mummy Returns”); Leilani Downer, writer (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”); Peggy Patrick Medberry, Cinema and Media Arts instructor at Biola U. The “Scriptural Integration” jurors were Doug Fields, Pastor-Simply Youth Ministry; Adam Thomason, Pastor-The Village Church and Dale Green, Spiritual Life Director-Village Christian School.
The 168 Film Festival was made possible by Silver Sponsors AJA Video, EIKI Projectors, Roush Media, Regent University, Kino Flo and TubeMogul and partners Arri, Sony, Barber Tech Video Products Roland/Edirol, Boris Effects, Final Draft, Video Symphony and Charisma On Camera.
Presenters (with Rebecca St. James) included Howard Kazanjian, producer “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Ken Wales, producer “Amazing Grace,” Michael Lehmann Boddicker, Grammy winning composer, John Shepherd, producer “The Stoning of Soraya M,” Jerry Jameson, director “JAG,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” John Tinker, writer/producer “Judging Amy,” “The Practice,” Gary Hall, Sr. VP 20th Cent. Fox TV Post Production, Leilani Downer, writer “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Tracy Melchior, actress “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “CSI,” Sarah Drew, actress “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Glee” and “Mad Men” and Tenley Molzahn, reality actress “The Bachelor.”
Special thanks go to coordinator Karen Wescott, awards show producer Lisa Miosi, Becky Murdoch, John Hendrickson, Doug Hammond, stage manager Jeanette Shelton, tech director Darren Gould, announcer Melissa Disney (singing voice of “Snow White”), casting coordinator Susanna Velasquez, and volunteer coordinator Dion Ramos. Model/actor on the official poster is Robert Naughton, with photo by Christina Arena.
For more information on the 2010 edition of the 168 Film Festival, to speak with a 168-winning ?speed filmmaker or actor, or obtain B-roll footage and/or production stills of 168 filmmaking teams in action ?and clips from their films, contact Scotty Dugan at Dugan & Story PR at 435-901-1483, firstname.lastname@example.org; 168 Film Project at 818-557-8507, email@example.com, or visit www.168project.com.
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