America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama in Dallas Film Fest winner
BY SEAN O’CONNELL
Ryan Piers Williams’ “The Dry Land,” a Sundance Film Festival favorite, took home the top prize at the Dallas International Film Festival Friday evening, earning a $25,000 cash prize for the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature. In addition, Lucy Walker’s “Waste Land” received a $25,000 cash prize for the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Documentary Feature.
“Dry Land” stars America Ferrera and Wilmer Valderrama were on hand during the fest. Their film follows a U.S. soldier as he returns home from Iraq to Texas and tries to assimilate back into society.
The Documentary competition jury also gave a Special Jury Prize to Michael Pertnoy’s and Michael Kleiman’s “The Last Survivor” and a Special Mention for Editing (for Claire Didier’s work on the film) to Mark Landsman’s “Thunder Soul.”
DALLAS Star Award recipient John Lee Hancock (THE BLIND SIDE) made the presentation of the Target Filmmaker Awards during an evening that also included the presentations of the DALLAS Star Awards to Academy Award nominated director Frank Darabont (“The Green Mile”) and cinematographer Wally Pfister (“The Dark Knight”), as well as the Texas Avery Animation Award to Pete Docter (Pixar’s “Up”).
Hancock’s award was presented by “Prison Break” producer Garry Brown, Darabont received his award from longtime Dallas area film critic Philip Wuntsch, and Pfister’s DALLAS Star Award has handed to him by longtime friend and Dallas Film Society Chairman Michael Cain. Docter was introduced by REEL FX Entertainment’s Animation Director Bryan Engram.
Matt Harlock’s and Paul Thomas’ AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY was the recipient of MPS Studios’ Texas Filmmaker Award and $20,000 in cash, goods and services. Robert Byington’s HARMONY AND ME received a Special Jury Prize. The presentation was made by MPS Studios’ Meredith Stephens with Bill Hicks’ niece Rachel Hicks on hand to accept the award.
Amy Grappell’s QUADRANGLE won the award for Best Short. Special Jury Prizes went to David Call’s B.U.S.T., Chris Teague’s MONKEYWRENCH and Kelly Sears’ VOICE ON THE LINE. Daniel Elliot’s JADE received a Special Mention for Acting for Aisling Loftus’ performance in the film. The award for Best Student Short went to Beth Spitalny’s PROCESSION. Shorts jurors Jon Korn and Kaz Radwanski presented the awards. Reel FX ENTERTAINMENT XXChief Operating Officer Kyle Clark presented the award for Best Animated Short to Cordell Barker’s RUNAWAY.
Will Cannon’s BROTHERHOOD won the Audience Award for Best Narrative, while Mark Landsman’s THUNDER SOUL won for Best Documentary and T.G. HERRINGTON’s MR. OKRA won the Audience Award for Best Short. DALLAS IFF Artistic Director James Faust and Senior Programmer Sarah Harris presented the awards.
The winners of the jury prizes for Best Short, Best Student Short and the Audience Awards each receive production and scheduling software from Entertainment Partners.
DALLAS IFF Artistic Director James Faust said, “We enjoyed a thrilling film festival with amazingly talented filmmakers and so many exceptional films that our audiences in more than a few cases happily found seats in the aisles so they wouldn’t miss out on any of it. And the competitions were just as spirited. It’s a lot of fun giving a film fest jury a challenge to choose one great film over several other great films.”
A FULL LIST OF THE DALLAS IFF JURY AWARDS:
TARGET NARRATIVE FEATURE: THE DRY LAND
DIR: Ryan Piers Williams (USA)
Cast: America Ferrera, Ryan O’Nan, Wilmer Valderrama, Jason Ritter, Ethan Suplee, Melissa Leo
TARGET DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: WASTE LAND
DIR: Lucy Walker (Brazil/UK)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: THE LAST SURVIVOR
DIR: Michael Pertnoy, Michael Kleiman (USA)
SPECIAL MENTION, EDITING: THUNDER SOUL (for Claire Didier)
DIR: Mark Landsman (USA)
MPS STUDIOS TEXAS FILMMAKER AWARD: AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY
DIR: Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas (UK)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: HARMONY AND ME
DIR: Robert Byington (USA)
ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS FILMMAKER AWARD: CLIMATE REFUGEES
DIR: Michael Nash (USA)
DIR: Amy Grappell (USA)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: B.U.S.T.
DIR: DAVID CALL (USA)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: MONKEYWRENCH
DIR: Chris Teague (USA)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: VOICE ON THE LINE
DIR: Kelly Sears (USA)
SPECIAL MENTION, ACTING: JADE (for Aisling Loftus)
DIR: Daniel Elliot (UK)
STUDENT SHORT: PROCESSION
DIR: Beth Spitalny (USA)
SPECIAL MENTION: YOUNG LOVE
DIR: Ariel Kleiman (Australia)
ANIMATED SHORT: RUNAWAY
DIR: Cordell Barker (Canada)
DIR: Will Canon (USA)
Cast: Jon Foster, Trevor Morgan, Lou Taylor Pucci
DOCUMENTARY: THUNDER SOUL
DIR: Mark Landsman (USA)
SHORT: MR. OKRA
DIR: T.G. Herrington (USA)
TXU FAST FORWARD VIDEO CONTEST WINNERS:
$7500 prize winner – LIGHTS OFF
DIRS: Alex Nelson, Drew Mowrey, Zach Zador (Garland High School)
$2500 prize winner – THE EFFECT OF ONE
DIR: Michael Nowak (Richardson High School)
$1500 prize winner – ENER G’Z
DIRS: Ladon Ghannadpour, Brandon Cantrell (Garland High School)
2010 DALLAS IFF JURY MEMBERS:
NARRATIVE FEATURE JURY includes:
Christian Gaines is the director of Film Festival Strategy, Data Syndication, and Business Development for IMDB.
Rob Nelson is a film critic and contributing writer for such publications and outlets as Daily Variety and Indie Wire.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE JURY includes:
Britta Erickson is the Festival Director for the Starz Denver Film Festival. She also produced the documentary CONVENTION.
Paul Saltzman directed and produced last year’s Target Documentary Filmmaker Award winner PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI.
Heidi Van Lier
Heidi Van Lier is a progremmer for the Slamdance Film Festival. She also directed CHI GIRL and is the author of The Indie Film Rule Book.
MPS STUDIOS TEXAS COMPETITION JURY includes:
David Lowery wrote, directed and produced last year’s MPS Studios Texas Competition winner ST. NICK.
Orian Williams produced CONTROL and SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE.
Chris Holland is the Director of Festival Operations, IFP.
ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS COMPETITION JURY includes:
Anna Clark is the author of Green, American Style. She is also the President of Earth People.
Dr. Troy Stuckey
Dr. Troy Stuckey is the Research Associate Professor of Earth Science, SMU.
Kristen Sudelia is the Eco Advocate for Hotel Palomar.
SHORT COMPETITION JURY includes:
Jon Korn is a Shorts Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.
Kaz Radwanski directed last year’s Shorts Grand Jury Prize winner, PRINCESS MARGARET BLVD.
STUDENT COMPETITION JURY includes:
Khary Jones directed last year’s Student Shorts Competition Grand Jury Prize winner, HUG.
David Whillock is the Dean of College of Communication, TCU and Professor of Television and Digital Media, TCU.
Overall, the 2010 DALLAS International Film Festival showcased 62 features and 98 shorts for a total of 160 films from 25 countries.