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 turned out to be a homegrown film that took the top juried prize in the 2009 Nashville Film Festival, which wrapped Thursday, April 23 at the Regal Green Hills Cinema. A jury comprised of movie 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 play shot in the vicinity of Nashville, as the victor of the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award for the best story feature.
Rafael Monserrate’s remarkable family comedy “Poundcake” took home honorable mention for the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award.
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 Present Award, selected by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner and former Vice President Al Gore to get a movie that provides remarkable insight in a contemporary international issue, was granted to “Garbage Dreams,” Mai Iskander’s profile of the Zabbaleen, Egypt’s “trash folks.”
“Clearly, in collaboration with all 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 have never had so many come up to the box office and gush concerning the film they just saw,” added Ted Crockett, NaFF director of finance and development and supervisor on-site of the box office.
Presence for the 2009 edition of the Festival increased last year 22,000 to almost 23,000 movie attendees enjoying ample opportunities to catch films in 2013, with six screens focused on the Festival instead of four, and 40% more screenings.
“We’re thrilled, that not only in this economy have we kept our presence, but we’ve actually improved it by over a thousand,” said Sallie Mayne, NaFF executive director. “From unbelievable barbershop quartets in the lobby to participating panels addressing tough wellness problems, our 75 partnership were invaluable to our success this season. I’m grateful again to all the stars we were joined by that, for the film makers who came with their pictures as well as the support of the thousands of film fans throughout middle Tennessee who joined us, our mayor, Karl Dean, not to mention, the area media. So a lot of these told us how well they were handled and the way much they love this festival.”