And the AFFY goes to …

The Asheville Film Festival announced the winners of its AFFY awards on Saturday night in categories that ranged from short films and documentaries to student-made movies and features.

About 100 people sipped champagne and nibbled backlava at a dessert reception, then filed into Diana Wortham Theatre for the ceremony, which awarded plaques to runners-up and the blue-glass sculpted AFFY and $500 to winners. Without further ado:

Feature film
Winner: Bart Got A Room
Runner-Up: Sita Sings the Blues
Audience Award: The Flyboys

Winner: Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Runner-Up: Under Our Skin
Audience Award: American Outrage

Short film
Winner: Spielzeugland/Toyland
Runner-Up: More Control
Audience Award: Finders Keepers

Student film
Winner: The Vaudevillian
Runner-Up: Come Back Sweet Heart
Audience Award: Bean

Winner: Sebastian’s Voodoo
Runner-Up: My Uncle Arnie
Audience Award: Sebastian’s Voodoo

ETV Southern Lens Award
Why We Smoke

This year’s festival, dubbed “The Year of the Writer,” launched an inaugural screenplay competition that saw 24 scripts submitted for judging. The winner was Chasing Echoes by William Shriver.

The festival’s Career Achievement Award went to Brad Dourif, an accomplished actor who was nominated for an Academy Award in 1975 for his performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and is more recently recognized from his role in the HBO mini-series Deadwood. (He’s also voiced the character of the murderous doll in the Chucky horror movies.)

Dourif, on location filming The Kentucky Fried Horror Show, cancelled an appearance at the festival because of a work conflict. Writer and director Don Mancini, a friend of Dourif’s (and creator of the Chucky character) accepted the award on his behalf and said Dourif was honored by the recognition.

The festival gave its Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Pierson, a screenwriter and director who won an Oscar for his script for director Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon. Pierson recently finished a four-year term as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has twice served as president of the Writers Guild of America.

Pierson said he was dismayed by the state of the film industry today, in which movie studios are simply a line item in the budget of a big corporate owner. Pierson said the industry needs more writers and directors with “passion and commitment and wit,” as well as critics who respect art and civilization.

“It’s festivals like this where the passion and the art are recognized,” he said.

The festival, now in its sixth year, received 257 films submitted from around the world. Seventy-nine films were selected for inclusion. A panel of judges selected the winners. This year’s judges were: Matt Brunson, film critic for Creative Loafing; Ken Hanke, film critic for the Mountain Xpress; writer and director Tim Kirkman, known for his feature debut Loggerheads in 2005; Jack Sholder, a director and professor of Western Carolina University’s Department of Stage and Screen; and Charlotte Observer film critic Larry Toppman.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor



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3 thoughts on “And the AFFY goes to …

  1. AshevilleObserver

    Good article from Mr. Sandford, as usual. With only 100 people in attendance for the closing awards event of the festival, an overview of the festival’s audience this year would be helpful. How is the festival doing in this season of economic bad news?

  2. Ken Hanke

    With only 100 people in attendance for the closing awards event of the festival, an overview of the festival’s audience this year would be helpful. How is the festival doing in this season of economic bad news?

    The awards event has always been one of the less attended offerings — partly because it doesn’t come with a movie — so it’s not a good barometer. That said, my guess is that attendance was down — with the exception of the screening of Slumdog Millionaire, which was definitely the high point of the event, and a nice note to close on. How much of all this is due to the economy, I don’t know, but the Rejects guys told Justin that their attendance was down, too.

    On the plus side, all the filmmakers I talked to (none of whom won) had a great time and are going home with good words for the festival and for Asheville.

  3. Judge Mental

    This film festival is always fun, and I always get the ‘reel-deal’ package of 10 screenings. There was not NOT ONE screening
    [that I attended] that was sold out this year. Attendance seemed to be down from my perspective, but that still did not discourage my enjoyment at all. The film selections were strong all across the board.

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