Apartment in Athens, Nazi Drama from Italy, is Big Winner of Newport Beach Film Fest Awards

Categories: Film
Wait, there's more: And the Other Newport Beach Film Festival Awards Go To . . .

Apartment in Athens was the big winner of jury awards at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival, which officials say was attended by about 52,000 patrons between April 27-May 3, about the same as last year. Weekly picks H2indO, General Education, Songs for Amy, Under African Skies, The War Around Us, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet and Behind the Orange Curtain also won honors. But, to show how little we know, so did our pans Broken Kingdom, Shanghai Calling, Hicks on Sticks, Peace, Love and Misunderstanding and The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez (although Ernest Borgnine did deserve the acting prize for that last one).

A tense Italian drama about a family's home in Nazi-occupied Greece being commandeered by a menacing German officer, Apartment in Athens won the jury awards for best feature film, best actor (Gerasimos Skiadaresis), best cinematographer (Vladan Radovic) and best screenplay (by director Ruggero Dipaola and Heldrun Schleef).

The Day I Saw Your Heart, a French drama about a man in his 60s having a baby with his young new wife--and the fallout that produces among his grown children--won jury awards for best actress (Melanie Laurent) and best director (Jennifer Devoldere). 

Michigan's Ayman Mohyeldin, who now works for NBC News, was Al Jazeera's rooftop reporter during the shelling of Gaza.
The War Around Us, Abdullah Omeish's amazing look at two very different reporters for Al Jazeera being the only western television correspondents on the ground covering Israel's shelling of Gaza City in 2008, was the jury's pick for best feature documentary.

Best short doc went to Lisa Cole's Lioness, which chronicles the danger from sexual assault tween girls face in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The best short animated film was Christopher Kezelos' The Maker, a U.K./U.S./Aussie production about a strange creature racing against time to make an important and beautiful creation. The best narrative short in the jury's opinion was Sebastian Marka's Interview, which is out of Germany and is about a sit down between a journalist and serial killer.

The jury, which selected from more than 450 films out of 50 countries, consisted of: Robert Rosen, professor and dean emeritus of the UCLA School of Theater; award-winning director Patricia Cardoso; Academy Award, Golden Globe and British Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptist; Santa Ana-bred filmmaker Drake Doremus of Like Crazy fame; USC cinematic arts professor and widely published author Norman Hollyn; Academy Award nominee and Oscar winning producer Michael Phillips; and the head of UCLA's cinematography track William McDonald.

As folks left theaters screening festival films, they handed ballots to volunteers. And that led to these 2012 audience awards:

Thumbnail image for H2indO-waves.jpg
Brent Deal's H2indO
Best feature: Not That Funny from the U.S.

Best foreign feature: Between Us (Aqui Entre Nos) from Mexico.

Best documentary (tie): High Ground and Brooklyn Castle, both from the U.S.

Best action sports feature: H2indO from the U.S. (San Clemente to be precise).

Best short film: Love at First Sight from the U.K.

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