- Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009
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The surprise independent film hit of the season, "500 Days of Summer," is set in downtown Los Angeles with its two main characters exploring the architectural gems of the city's historic core. Also set in downtown Los Angeles, the 2009 Downtown Film Festival, Los Angeles offered 11 days (August 12-22) of adventurous programming spread throughout the area's architecturally significant and culturally diverse neighborhoods.
"There's no doubt that downtown Los Angeles has come into its own as a vibrant residential community, a world-class arts & entertainment district and the creative nexus for the city. Hollywood is recognizing this with films like '500 Days of Summer' and the film that our opened our festival last year, 'In Search of a Midnight Kiss,' in which downtown L.A. is seen in all of its architectural glory," said festival director Greg Ptacek. "I think the 2009 Downtown Film Fest provided the real-life equivalent to these films to our thousands of attendees as a means for exploring the nooks and crannies of downtown L.A. through the special creative energy that only a film festival can deliver to a city."
The festival concluded on Saturday with the West Coast Premiere of "Jackson 5 In Africa," a 1974 music documentary film featuring rare footage of Michael Jackson at 16 years old, along with his brothers during their first-ever visit to Africa. The screening was followed by the Closing Night Awards Ceremony during which director-writer David Russo's absurdist comedy, "The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle," took home the Best Feature prize while Scott Cummings' "Storm Tiger Mountain" captured Best Short Film. The complete list of winners follows.
Over the 11-day festival, more than 200 films were screened...feature and short, narrative and documentary, foreign and domestic, and Hollywood and independent. Highlights of the 2009 festival included:
[*]The West Coast premiere and Opening Night Film presentation of *Spike Lee's "Passing Strange The Movie,"* based on the Tony Âawarding-winning, autobiographical musical about downtown L.A. musician Stew.
[*]The Los Angeles premiere and Centerpiece Film presentation of *"Reach For Me," starring Seymour Cassel and Alfre Woodard* and directed by *LeVar Burton*. Prior to the screening, Cassel was presented with The Hollywood Reporter's Lifetime Achievement Award.
-- The first-ever music documentary f*ilm festival at The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live*, with appearances by such diverse musical artists at *Bill Withers*, *Poncho Sanchez*, *Jerry Casale of Devo*, and members of *Brooklyn Zu and Wu Tang Clan*.
-- A *Paul Newman tribute* featuring free-to-the-public outdoor screenings of two of the Hollywood icon's most celebrated films, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "Hud."
-- An African diaspora film series with a special guest appearance by *director Euzhan Palcy* in conjunction with the presentation of her feature documentary "Aime Cesaire: A Voice For History."
-- The American-Latino Film Series, featuring the Los Angeles premiere of "Vicious Circle," a feature film set in Los Angeles Latino punk/skateboard scene and starring *Paul Rodriguez, Jr.*
[*]Sustainable L.A., the festival's *all-day signature "green" program* that featured free-to-the-public guest lectures on urban ecology and screenings of environmental documentary short films from Current TV and Live Earth.
-- A film and seminar presentation about the increasing use of *3-D technology* by independent filmmakers.
-- Digital Arts L.A and City of Angles, two series that explored avant-garde video and film, including L.A.'s internationally recognized "micro-cinema" movement.
The 2009 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles was presented by arts>Brookfield Properties, AT&T Center Downtown Los Angeles, Geragos & Kabateck Enterprises, The GRAMMY Museum and Nuvay Web Services. The official restaurant of the 2009 festival was Rivera. The official hotel of the festival was Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown. PR For The Arts was the festival's official public relations counsel.
Festival sponsors included Computer Rental Equipment, Union Bank, Chivas Regal, Karl Strauss Beer, Northstar Moving, Famima, California Pizza Kitchen, Coca Cola, The Rowan, Fox Entertainment Group, Nuno Media Art Company, Indie Printing and Social Vibe.
The winners of the 2009 Downtown Film Festival L.A. are:
The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle - Directed by David Russo, Produced by Peggy Case
BEST FEATURE DIRECTOR:
Jeffrey J. Orgill - Boppin' at the Glue Factory
BEST FEATURE SCREENPLAY:
Mickey Blaine - Commit.
BEST FEATURE EDITING:
Gabriel Sunday/Jordan J. Miller - My Suicide
BEST FEATURE CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Chris Soos - Phantom Love
BEST SHORT FILM:
Storm Tiger Mountain - Directed by Scott Cummings
THE PROGRAMMING DIRECTOR AWARD:
The Snake Mountain Colada - Directed by Calvin Lee Reeder
BEST DOWNTOWN FILM:
Journey to the Line - Corey Brandenstein
BEST SHORT FILM DIRECTOR:
Karen Glienke - Wild Like Ego
BEST SHORT FILM COMEDY:
Lalo - Directed by Daniel Maldonado
BEST SHORT FILM EXPERIMENTAL:
Chi Sei? - Directed by Michael Frost
BEST SHORT FILM DOCUMENTARY:
Point of Entry - Directed by Zeus Quijano, Jr.
BEST SHORT FILM ANIMATION:
Stranger's Poem - Directed by Geer DuBois
BEST SHORT FILM ENVIRONMENTAL:
Sea of Change - Directed by Jamie Taucher
BEST SHORT FILM FOREIGN:
Un Cafe Pour L'Amerique - Directed by Jossy Mayor
BEST SHORT FILM LATINO-AMERICAN:
Lucia No Besa a Nadie - Directed by Emanuel Gironi
BEST SHORT FILM MUSIC VIDEO:
Tina Guo's Queen Bee - Directed by Rich Ragsdale
BEST SHORT FILM SCREENPLAY:
Rick Curnutt and Bubba Murray - Free Lunch;
BEST SHORT FILM CINEMATOGRAPHY:
J.T. Gurzi - Insult to Injury