Hungarian film tops the list of outstanding movies shown at the annual Ashland event
By BILL VARBLE, April 10, 2006
"Fateless," a Hungarian film that follows a teenage boy through the Holocaust, was named best feature film at the Ashland Independent Film Festival Sunday night in an awards event at the old Ashland Armory. The picture’s screenplay was written by 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész.
"Street Fight," a film about a bare-knuckles race for the office of mayor of Newark, N.J., was named best documentary.
The aiff began Thursday with 80 independent films entered and runs through today with special screenings of winning entries.
"This is easily the strongest field we’ve had," aiff Executive Director Tom Olbrich said.
Most screenings take place at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland, with other events at the Armory and ScienceWorks in Ashland.
Attendance was up and Olbrich estimated 15,000 had viewed the films by the end of the festival.
"Fateless" also took the award for Best Ensemble Acting.
In the Best Documentary: Short Subject category there was a three-way tie between "Undressing My Mother," an Irish film by Ken Wardrop; "God Sleeps in Rwanda," an American film by Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman; and "The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club," an American film by Dan Krause.
In the Best Short division, "One Weekend A Month," a film about an American mother whose National Guard unit was mobilized, was the winner.
"Victoria Para Chino" was named Best Student Film. It’s a fictionalized account of a 2003 incident in which 75 illegal immigrants were found in an abandoned truck in Texas.
The Gerald Hirschfeld Award for Best Cinematography went to "Fateless" as well.
This year’s Artistic Achievement Award went to indie filmmaker Henry Jaglom, whose films include "Festival in Cannes," "Going Shopping," "Deja Vu," "Last Summer in the Hamptons."
The Varsity’s John C. Schweiger received a special winner’s statuette as Founding Benefactor and Advisor.
In addition to the awards given by the aiff itself, audiences voted on films and awarded the Rogue Creamery Audience Award for Feature Documentary to - "The Hand of God" — the personal story of a survivor of Roman Catholic clergy abuse. And then the John C. Schweiger Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature to "Neo Ned" — a comical and touching romance between a neo-Nazi and a black woman who thinks she’s Adolf Hitler. And the third audience award for Best Short Film was awarded to "West Bank Story" — a musical comedy set in the tumultuous Middle East.Beginning at 3:30 p.m. today, the winning films will be screened again. For a schedule, call 488-3823.