Winners in each category — Feature, Short, Student, Documentary, and Animation — will be honored with a check for $500 and a beautiful AFFY award commemorating their achievement. Runners-up in each category and Audience Award winners will receive plaques. All 2006 Asheville Film Festival awards will be presented at the Spotlight Celebration Awards Ceremony and Reception on Saturday evening.

Audience Favorite

Audience members will receive a ballot and a pencil as they enter the theatre for each screening. Their votes will determine the winning Audience Favorites in each category.

ETV Southern Lens Award


New to this year’s awards ceremony, The ETV Southern Lens Award is awarded to the best Southern film at the festival. To be eligible for broadcast on the series, the film must be produced and/or directed by a Southern filmmaker, or be about a Southern subject.

Southern Lens is a weekly series dedicated to bringing ETV viewers the voices and culture of the South through the medium of independent films. ETV is South Carolina’s statewide public television network with 11 television stations, eight radio stations and a closed-circuit educational telecommunications system in more than 2,000 schools, colleges, businesses and government agencies.

The Daniel DeLaVergne Spirit Award presented by the Media Arts Project

Media Arts Project

This annual award was created in 2006 to honor Daniel DeLaVergne after his sudden, tragic death. The award serves to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work pushes the limits of our minds and hearts by artistically expressing true Spirit.

Blue Ridge Outdoors

These films unlock the vast potential of the human spirit, displaying courage, integrity and hope while taking entertainment to a unique level. The winner will receive $500. Special thanks to Blue Ridge Outdoors for supporting this award.

Spotlight on Daniel DeLaVergne

Daniel, who based his business in Asheville, was one of the world’s most successful extreme-sport filmmakers. He is most well known for his joint role in Lunch Video Magazine (LVM) and was an international leader in whitewater cinematography. Daniel brought art and technology to outdoor sports by enthusiastically developing content for pod-casting, video streaming and quarterly DVD magazines, as well as cutting edge outdoor documentary films.

As an athlete, Daniel excelled in whitewater kayaking, mountain biking and snowboarding. National Geographic Adventure magazine named DeLaVergne a “2005 Adventurer of the Year” for paddling the 50-mile run of the Stikine River in British Columbia with three other kayakers.

The Media Arts Project (MAP) is presenting and dedicating this spirit award in his name. Daniel’s loss weighs heavily on many members of our outdoor and film communities, on whom he was so influential.


Matt Brunson

Matt Brunson

Matt Brunson is the Film Editor and Movie Critic for Creative Loafing in Charlotte, N.C. He’s been with the alternative newsweekly since 1988, initially as a freelance film critic and then joining the paper full-time as a staff member in 1996. His articles have appeared in a handful of publications around the South, and he’s the recipient of several awards from both the North Carolina Press Association and the North Carolina Working Press. In addition to his film duties, Brunson also holds positions at Creative Loafing as Arts & Entertainment Editor and Special Sections Editor. He currently serves as Vice President of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA).

Kristin Hondros

Kistin Hondros

Kristin Hondros is a producer and filmmaker based in Chapel Hill, N.C. Her work as an independent producer and experimental filmmaker has screened in various national and international festivals. After receiving an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, she spent seven years working in independent-feature film and visual arts in New York City. She is on the selection committee for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and is currently producing stories about Open Source Technology as a digital-media producer and editor at Red Hat.

Tim Kirkman

Tim Kirkman

A North Carolina native, Tim Kirkman made his feature film debut in 1997 with the highly acclaimed documentary Dear Jesse. The film earned an Emmy Award Nomination after airing on the HBO/Cinemax Reel Life Series, and was nominated for the GLAAD Media Awards and the Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards. The Boston Society of Film Critics nominated it Best Documentary of the Year — alongside Michael Moore’s The Big One. His most recent film, Loggerheads, had its premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where it was an Official Selection in the Dramatic Competition. The film went on to win prizes at several film festivals across the United States, including the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest and Audience Awards at the Nashville and Florida film festivals. Starring Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Learned, Kip Pardue, Chris Sarandon and Robin Weigert, Loggerheads was released to theaters across the country by Strand Releasing in October 2005. Tim is currently writing a feature-film adaptation of three short stories by singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash and co-writing Lee Smith’s novel Family Linen, both of which he will direct. He is also writing a biopic of gay professional baseball player Billy Bean for Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (producers of Chicago) and Alan Poul (Six Feet Under).

Betsy Pickle

Betsy Pickle

Betsy Pickle has been the film critic at The Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee for 21 years. A Knoxville native, Pickle earned a bachelor’s in communications from the University of Tennessee, where she began her career as a critic at the student newspaper, The Daily Beacon. She became the film critic at the News Sentinel in May 1985. Since then, her reviews and film features have appeared in newspapers throughout the United States and Canada through the Scripps Howard News Service.

In 1992, Pickle and four colleagues founded the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Since then, SEFCA has grown to more than 40 members in nine states, and is one of the oldest regional film-critic groups in the country. In her two terms as president (2001-02, 2003-04), Pickle recruited some of the Southeast’s most respected film critics into the group.

She has been a guest programmer and a judge at the Nashville Film Festival several times, and was a juror on the panel that helped put Memphis-based writer-director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) on the radar with his first feature, The Poor and Hungry. She also served as a judge for four years during the five-year run of the Valleyfest Independent Film Festival. Pickle has served on the advisory council of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music Commission.

Jack Sholder

Jack Sholder

After writing and directing a number of award-winning short films while working as an editor in New York (he won an Emmy for his editing work on 3-2-1 Contact), Jack directed his first feature in 1982 for New Line Cinema, Alone In The Dark, with Martin Landau, Jack Palance and Donald Pleasance. He then wrote Where Are The Children, starring Jill Clayburgh, for Ray Stark and Columbia, and directed Nightmare On Elm Street II.

His next feature, The Hidden, won, among many other prizes, the Grand Prix at the Avoriaz Film Festival. Premiere Magazine called it “one of the ten most underrated films of the ’80s.” This was followed by Renegades, with Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips, for Universal and By Dawn’s Early Light for HBO with Rebecca de Mornay, Martin Landau, James Earl Jones, Rip Torn and Powers Boothe.

Jack has directed four movies for the Fox Network: 12:01 with Jonathan Silverman, Martin Landau and Helen Slater; Dark Reflection; Generation X, based on the Marvel comic book; and Runaway Car. He also directed Hands That See, with Courtney Cox, for Showtime. In 1998 he wrote and directed Evil Never Dies for Artisan Entertainment, and in 2000 completed Arachnid for Filmax (Barcelona) and Lion’s Gate.

In 2002, Jack directed Beeper, a thriller starring Harvey Keitel and Joey Lauren Adams, which was shot in India. And in 2003 he directed Twelve Days of Terror for Fox Television Studios, a fictionalized account of an infamous series of shark attacks that took place in New Jersey in 1916.

In addition, Jack has directed episodes of Vietnam War Stories, Gabriel’s Fire, Pensacola, Tales From The Crypt and Tremors, as well as the pilot for Richard Donner’s The Omen for NBC.

In 2004, Jack was appointed professor in the Communications Department at Western Carolina University where he is Director of the Motion Picture & Television Production program.

Ken Hanke

Ken Hanke

Mountain Xpress film critic Ken Hanke is a self-confessed monument to a life misspent watching movies. He traces his interest in film back to 1963 and the horror-picture publication Famous Monsters of Filmland (which is perhaps why he’s a little more sympathetic to horror movies than most reviewers).

It took nearly 20 years for a friend to talk him into actually writing about movies — resulting in the book Ken Russell’s Films (Scarecrow Press, 1984). He followed this with articles for Films in Review, Scarlet Street (for which he’s also an associate editor), Video Watchdog, Alternative Cinema, etc.

He’s also written the books Charlie Chan at the Movies (McFarland Publishing, 1989; reissued in paperback last year), A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series (Garland Publishing, 1991) and Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmmaker (Renaissance Books, 1999), along with contributing essays to such books as The Fearmakers (St. Martin’s Press, 1994), the deliciously titled The Sleaze Merchants (St. Martin’s Press, 1995), and a forthcoming book from the British Film Institute on European horror films.

In between reviewing about 200 movies a year — and dodging brickbats hurled by occasionally dissenting readers — he’s working on Hollywood’s Other Horrors: A Studio Tour and a full-scale biography of Ken Russell, Nymphomaniacs, Nuns and Messiahs.

Spotlight on Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly

Actress Jennifer Tilly will receive the Asheville Film Festival’s Career Achievement Award at the Spotlight Celebration Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 11 at Diana Wortham Theatre.

An actress who always attracts audiences’ attention, Jennifer Tilly is by turns funny, sexy, compassionate, and compelling — often all at once. Her breakthrough movie role tapped into all of those qualities as she portrayed failing singer Blanche “Monica” Moran in Steve Kloves’ The Fabulous Baker Boys, opposite Jeff and Beau Bridges.

A few years later, Jennifer earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal as the aspiring, but hopelessly untalented, actress Olive Neal in Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway.

She has become well known to film-goers for both major studio and independent films. In Tom Shadyac’s blockbuster Liar Liar, she kept pace with star Jim Carrey. Her steamy performance opposite Gina Gershon helped make the Wachowski Brothers’ Bound a breakout indie success at the Sundance Film Festival and then in theatrical release. The latter film also expanded Jennifer’s already significant gay and lesbian following.

Her many films over a two-decade span include High Spirits; The Doors; Made in America; The Getaway; Let It Ride; Relax, It’s Just Sex; The Crew; Dancing at the Blue Iguana; The Cat’s Meow; The Magnificent Ambersons; Hide and Seek; The Haunted Mansion; The Muse; St Ralph; Tideland and the infamous Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky.

Jennifer is also well known for her vocal work. She played Celia in Monster’s Inc, Grace in Home on the Range, and is a regular on the Fox series “Family Guy.”

Over the years, Jennifer has made memorable appearances on some of television’s best series, including Cheers, Moonlighting, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and Frasier. She had a recurring role on Hill Street Blues, and was a series regular on Shaping Up, and Key West and Out of Practice opposite Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing.

Jennifer has also continued to act on the stage. She won a Theater World Award for her performance in off-Broadway’s One Shoe Off, and appeared on Broadway in the 2001 revival of The Women (which was later taped for, and broadcast on, PBS).

A selection of some of Tilly’s best films will be screened during the festival.

Special Guest Don Mancini

Don Mancini will make a special appearance with Jennifer Tilly on Friday introducting Seed of Chucky, and will lead an educational workshop entitled “Masters of Horror” (see “Special Events” and “Educational Offerings” for more information).

Don Mancini created the Child’s Play franchise, the phenomenally successful series of horror movies featuring “Chucky,” the killer doll. Mancini wrote the screenplay for all five films in the series, and made his directional debut with the latest, 2004’s Seed of Chucky. Among his other credits is the Fitting Punishment episode of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. His screenplays in development include two adventure fantasies, Atlas and The Dog who Cried Wolf, for legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis.

Mancini was born in Boston, Mass., and grew up in Richmond, Va. After two years as an English major at Columbia University, he took a year off from school to work on the daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow. Resuming his education, he transferred to UCLA, where he was accepted in the school’s prestigious film program, and conceived the screenplay for the original Child’s Play in 1988. Currently, Mancini is developing a TV series, Kill Switch, which he created for Touchstone Television and ABC. He’s also working on a new feature-length horror film script, which he hopes to direct next year.


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