Asheville film festival wraps up

After drawing crowds downtown and selling out multiple shows, the fifth annual Asheville Film Festival came to a close on Sunday, Nov. 11. The festival honored veteran actress Tess Harper (Loggerheads, Crimes of the Heart) with a career-achievement award.

Celluloid heros: Awards-ceremony M.C. Matt Mittan mans the mic while Xpress movie critic and festival judge Ken Hanke fills the screen. Photo By Jonathan Welch

The “AFFY” award for best feature film, along with $500, went to Year of the Fish, a hand-painted rotoscoped version of an old Chinese Cinderella story set in today’s Chinatown. The competition was close, as two movies, the horror parody Blood Car and the comedy Randy and the Mob tied for the runner-up spot.

In other categories, War/Dance took the top spot in documentary, Cabbie in short films, When the World Goes Dark in animation and The Little Gorilla in student.

Also, the Daniel DeLaVergne Spirit Award, which goes to movies that highlight nature and a spirit of adventure went to the The Oil and Water Project and the ETV Southern Lens Award, for a movie exploring Southern culture, went to Moving Midway.

More information about any of these films and a complete list of the winners can be found online (at

A red-carpet fashion show Saturday night in front of the Fine Arts Theater featuring fashions by local designers Brooke R. Priddy and Paul Olzewski received an enthusiastic reception, with festivalgoers filling the sidewalk and snapping photos as the models left vehicles from West Asheville’s Lowrider Shop.

The show came in the middle of two blocks devoted to local filmmakers, a local works-in-progress block that showed viewers segments of films still being completed by local filmmakers, and a local showcase that highlighted several shorts from local filmmakers.

Downtown was also the scene of many filmmakers publicizing their movies before showtime. The makers of Art of Suicide, for example, set up an empty canvas on Lexington Avenue and invited passerby to add their own contributions.

The weekend had seen 19 movies sell out, including two showings of legendary director Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, as well as Simple Things, Blood Car, Wholetrain and Year of the Fish, among others.

At the opening of the festival, it was announced that the 2008 festival will be themed “The Year of the Writer.” The festival will hold a screenwriting competition and the career-achievement award will go to a screenwriter.


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