2009 Nashville Film Festival Wraps with "Make-Out with Violence" and "Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies" Taking Top Prizes

In a festival that included appearances by William Shatner, Vincent D'Onofrio, Sheryl Crow, Hal Holbrook, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Lee Ann Womack, a two-theatre sellout of opening film "(500) Days Of Summer," and the World Premiere of "William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet," it was a homegrown film that took the top juried prize at the 2009 Nashville Film Festival, which wrapped Thursday, April 23, at the Regal Green Hills Cinema. A jury comprised of film critic Elvis Mitchell, FilmSpecific.com's Stacey Parks, and director Claudia Weill (Girlfriends) named "Make-out With Violence," the Deagol Brothers coming-of-age zombie drama shot in and around Nashville, as the winner of the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award for the best narrative feature.

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The cast and crew of Make-Out With Violence, winner of the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award for Best Narrative feature at the 2009 Nashville Film Festival. (Shelley Justiss/NaFF).

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet

Nashville, TN (PRWEB) April 24, 2009

In a festival that included appearances by William Shatner, Vincent D'Onofrio, Sheryl Crow, Hal Holbrook, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Lee Ann Womack, a two-theatre sellout of opening film "(500) Days Of Summer," and the World Premiere of "William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet," it was a homegrown film that took the top juried prize at the 2009 Nashville Film Festival, which wrapped Thursday, April 23 at the Regal Green Hills Cinema. A jury comprised of film critic Elvis Mitchell, FilmSpecific.com's Stacey Parks, and director Claudia Weill ("Girlfriends") named "Make-out With Violence," the Deagol Brothers coming-of-age zombie drama shot in and around Nashville, as the winner of the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award for the best narrative feature.

"Make-out With Violence" also nabbed the Tennessee Independent Spirit Award for a Feature Length Film and proveproved a triumph for the film's music composers, The Non-Commissioned Officers, who picked up the award for Best Music In A Feature Film.

The Best Feature Documentary, sponsored by the Documentary Channel, went to Yulene Olaizola's "Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimaces." Rafael Monserrate's dramatic family comedy "Poundcake" took home honorable mention for the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award. Honorable mention in the Feature Documentary category went to "Pressure Cooker," directed by Mark Becker and Jennifer Grausman.

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, sponsored by Curb Records, went to Scott Teem's direction and adaptation of "That Evening Sun," starring Hal Holbrook, Walton Goggins, Ray McKinnon and Carrie Preston. The Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary, sponsored by the Documentary Channel went to John Chester's profile of legendary rock photographer Robert Knight, "Rock Prophecies." The REEL Current Award, chosen by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner and former Vice President Al Gore for a film that provides extraordinary insight in a contemporary global issue, was given to "Garbage Dreams," Mai Iskander's profile of the Zabbaleen, Egypt's "garbage people."

"Clearly, in collaboration with the Documentary Channel, our documentary programming was a hit with the audience," said Brian Owens, NaFF artistic director. "Six documentaries scored at least a 4.75 out of 5."

"I've never had so many come up to the box office and gush about the film they just saw," added Ted Crockett, NaFF director of finance and development and manager on-site of the box office.

Attendance for the 2009 edition of the Festival increased to almost 23,000, from 22,000 last year. Film attendees enjoyed ample opportunities to catch films this year, with six screens dedicated to the Festival instead of four, and 40% more screenings. Most films were able to screen twice.

"We are thrilled, that not only in this economy have we maintained our attendance, but we've actually increased it by over a thousand," said Sallie Mayne, NaFF executive director. "From incredible barbershop quartets in the lobby to engaging panels addressing tough health issues, our 75 partnership were invaluable to our success this year. I'm grateful again to all the celebrities that joined us, for the support of the local media, our mayor, Karl Dean, and of course, the thousands of film lovers throughout middle Tennessee who joined us and the film makers who came with their films. So many of them told us how well they were treated and how much they love this festival."

Several special Jury prizes were also awarded, including the Special Jury Prize for Cinematography (Seamus Tierney, "The Narrows"); Special Jury Prize for Acting Ensemble (The Cast of Children Of Invention"); Special Jury Prize for Acting (Vincent D'Onofrio, "The Narrows"); Special Jury Prize for Experimental Narrative (Antonio Campos, "Afterschool"); and Special Jury Prize for Bravery in Storytelling (Kimberly Reed, "Prodigal Sons").

The Nashville Film Festival 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Hal Holbrook before the screening of his film "That Evening Sun" on Saturday night, April 19. He also accepted the Governor's Award on behalf of his wife Dixie Carter. The 2009 President's Impact Award, in the form of a Gibson guitar hand-painted by artist Mandy Lawson, was given to Shatner by NaFF board president Stacy Widelitz and Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz.

The Nashville Film Festival ended with a retrospective 40th anniversary screening of "Easy Rider" and a party at the Cannery Ballroom with performances by The Remains, The Long Players and The Non-Commissioned Officers.

Complete List of 2009 Nashville Film Festival Juried Awards

Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award: The Deagol Brothers,"Make-out with Violence"
Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award (Honorable Mention): Rafael Monserrate, "Poundcake"
Best Feature Documentary: Yulene Olaizola, "Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies"
Feature Documentary (Honorable Mention): Mark Becker, Jennifer Grausman, "Pressure Cooker"
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Scott Teems, "That Evening Sun"
Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary: John Chester, "Rock Prophecies"
Special Jury Prize for Cinematography: Seamus Tierney, "The Narrows"
Special Jury Prize for Acting Ensemble: The Cast of "Children of Invention"
Special Jury Prize for Acting: Vincent D'Onofrio, "The Narrows"
Special Jury Prize for Experimental Narrative: Antonio Campos, "Afterschool"
Special Jury Prize for Bravery in Storytelling: Kimberly Reed, "Prodigal Sons"
Best Short Documentary: Adam Petrofsky, " Witness-From the Balcony of Room 306"
Short Documentary (Honorable Mention): David Aronowitsch, "Slaves"
Best Music In A Feature Film: The Non-Commissioned Officers, "Make-out with Violence"
Impact of Music Award: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, "Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love"
Best Short Narrative: Denis Villeneuve, "Next Floor"
Short Narrative: (Honorable Mention): Sam Taylor Wood, "Love You More"
Golden Opportunity Award for Best College Student Short: Amy Gebhardt, " Walnut"
Golden Opportunity Award (Honorable Mention): Catriona McInnes, "I'm In Away From Here"
Best Animated Short: Don Hertzfeldt, "I Am So Proud of You"
Animated Short: (Honorable Mention): PES, " Western Spaghetti"
Best Experimental Short: Not announced at release time    
Tennessee Independent Spirit Award - Feature Length Film: The Deagol Brothers, "Make-out with Violence"
Tennessee Independent Spirit Award - Short Film: Stewart Copeland, "Jennifer"
Best Young Filmmaker: Arni Beinteinn Arnason, "Eye for an Eye"
Lonely Seal Releasing Feature Film Award: Not announced at release time.    
Rosetta Miller Perry Award for Best Black Filmmaker: Giancarlo Esposito, "Gospel Hill"
Best Hispanic Filmmaker Award (Sponsored by the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce): Victor Barcena, "Hands of Abel"
GLBT Film Award: Alison Reid, "The Baby Formula"
2009 President's Impact Award: William Shatner    
NPT Human Spirit Award: Joe Berlinger, "Crude"
The REEL Current Award: Mai Iskander, "Garbage Dreams"
Governor's Award: Dixie Carter    
Lifetime Achievement Award: Hal Holbrook    
Best Feature-Length Film Directed by a Woman: Yulene Olaizola, "Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies"
Coleman Sinking Creek Award: Les Blank    

About Nashville Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the South, NaFF also ranks among the most prestigious, continually garnering accolades and notice from a wide range of entertainment and trade publications, including the Associated Press, MovieMaker Magazine, Film Festival Today, IndieWire, Variety, Billboard, New York and Script Magazine. Between 2003 and 2007, NaFF's attendance numbers doubled, capped off with a staggering 26% increase in festival goers between 2006 and 2007. In 2008, more than 22,000 film lovers, entertainment professionals and industry insiders from all over the world made the trek to NaFF, enjoying 240 films from 44 countries, incisive industry panels, music showcases and spirited party mixers. Among the diverse group of celebrities who have attended NaFF in the past either as film presenters, award recipients or film fans are William H. Macy, Vincent D'Onofrio, Patricia Neal, Rob Thomas, Lawrence Bender, Ray McKinnon, Walton Goggins, Craig Brewer, Harmony Korine, Al Gore, Nicole Kidman, Kiefer Sutherland, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Patrick Swayze, Rick Schroder, John Waters, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, Harry Belafonte, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Moore, and D.A. Pennebaker.

Nashville Film Festival is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and receives funding from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The H. Franklin Brooks Philanthropic Fund, William N. Rollins Fund for the Arts of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, The Frist Foundation, The Memorial Foundation, Nashville Metro Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Ragsdale Family Foundation, Target Stores, Tennessee Arts Commission, and its generous patrons and sponsors.

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