Director-screenwriter Vanessa Parise's Kiss The Bride and James Coburn were among honorees as the tenth Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) closed amid a flurry of awards on Oct 19 and 20. Jury panel and audience awards were selected from 129 independent features, documentaries and short films screened from Oct 16-20. At a ceremony held at the Guild Hall in East Hampton on Oct 19 the centrepiece Golden Starfish Feature Award went to Vanessa Parise for Kiss The Bride, a drama about four sisters who attempt to stage a reconciliation at a wedding. The film stars Alyssa Milano, Sean Patrick Flannery, Talia Shire and Burt Young. The award is worth more than $180,000 in goods and in-kind services to be used towards Parise's next feature, which HIFF organisers claim it is the largest award of its kind in the US. The jury panel included In The Bedroom producer Graham Leader, cinematographer Ellen Kuras, and Marian Koltai-Levine, executive vice president of marketing and publicity for Fine Line Features.
The Golden Starfish Documentary Award worth $10,000 in cash and in-kind services went to Angela Christlieb and Stephen Kijak's Cinemania, which focuses on the lives of fanatical film-goers. The jury comprised Julie Anderson, director of documentary programming for HBO, documentarian Sandi Simcha DuBowski and Dina Merrill, actress and vice chairman of RKO Pictures.
The winner of the Golden Starfish Shorts Award and a $5,000 cash prize was Andrew Mudge with The Perfect Gooseys, about an elite East Coast academy for brilliant youth. Jury members were writer-director and NYU professor of film Antonio Monda, associate curator of film at the Guggenheim Maria-Christina Villaseñor and actor-director-writer Tom Noonan. The Dan and Ewa and Tammy Abraham Award for Films of Conflict and Resolution, which was launched three years ago to recognise films that focus on conflict in the world, went to Peter Wintonick and Katerina Cizek for Seeing Is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights And The News. The winners collected a $25,000 cash award for their documentary about the rising use of video recorders in recording news events. The award is run in association with the Appeal of the Nobel Peace Laureates Foundation and sponsored by Dan, Ewa and Tammy Abraham. Former President Bill Clinton paid tribute via video link to Dan Abraham for his commitment to rewarding quality film-making.
Lynn Hershman Leeson won the Alfred P Sloan Foundation Film Prize in Science and Technology Award for Teknolust, which stars Tilda Swinton as a bio-geneticist who replicates herself from samples of her own DNA. The inaugural Golden Starfish Award for Career Achievement in Acting went to James Coburn, whose award was collected on his behalf by Ryan Locke, who portrays the young Coburn character in American Gun.
The $5,000 Zicherman Family Foundation Award for Best Screenplay went to director-screenwriter Greg Pak's Robot Stories, a quirky look at the effects of technology on human emotion and starring Tamlyn Tomita, Sab Shimono and Wai Ching. The Kodak Award for Best Cinematography worth $6,000 in in-kind goods went to Teodoro Maniaci for Myra Paci's Searching For Paradise. The story focuses on a young girl's obsession with a film star and features Chris Noth, Susan May Pratt, Jeremy Davies, Laila Robbins, Josef Sommer and Mary Louise Wilson.
The inaugural Brizzolara Family Inspirational Film Award and a $5,000 prize went to Aviva Slesin for Secret Lives: Hidden Children And Their Rescuers During WWII. The story chronicles the efforts of individuals and families in rescuing Jewish children from the Holocaust. A special award was presented by New Line Cinema co-chairman and HIFF board member Michael Lynne to festival board chairman Stuart Match Suna for his ten years involvement with the event. Jeremiah Newton was also recognised for his work with the Student Filmmaker programmes.
In a string of audience awards handed out on Oct 20, the Audience Award for Best Feature went to Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa, about a Jewish man who flees the Nazis and takes his family to Kenya. The Audience Award for Best Documentary went to Steven Silver's The Last Just Man (Canada), a documentary about the UN's failed peacekeeping role in Rwanda and one man's attempt to prevent the genocide. The Audience Award for Best Short was presented to Allan Steele's The Syndicate, in which three Long Island friends decide to become international gangsters.