The 2012 Third Annual New Hope Film Festival culminated during its invitation-only award ceremony on Sunday, July 15th at New Hope Arts Center. Practically every seat was filled with filmmakers, community members and various media reporters eager to discover which of the 81 films representing 13 countries would win an award.
Thom Mulligan, Executive Director of Submissions, began the ceremony.
“I’m an actor and a filmmaker, so I know how hard it is to make a movie…It takes an incredible amount of work, fortitude, determination and perseverance, and just by doing that, you’re already winners. Everyone here is a winner.
“Dream your dream, work your dream and live your dream,” he added before introducing Chairman and Founder of the Film Festival, Doug Whipple.
“It makes us so proud to have the opportunity to present your films to the world,” said Doug.
He spoke about the Danny Award, cast in solid bronze that was specially designed by a Bucks County artist for the winner of the day’s Best Juried Picture.
“I want to emphasize that it doesn’t matter whether or not you get an award today,” Doug added. “What matters is that after the festival is over, you continue to get out there, work hard and continue to believe in your dreams because you can get your film into distribution regardless of whether or not you win an award here.”
Doug introduced Mayor Larry Keller, also President of New Hope Arts.
Said Mayor Keller, “We’re so happy we can provide you with a venue where you can present your films.”
He also announced that New Hope Arts is hoping to renovate New Hope Arts Center by putting in thermal windows and central air conditioning, so that next year this location will provide an even better atmosphere to screen films.
Next, Thom returned to the stage to announce the Audience Choice Awards.
The Best Short Film was “Bump;” Best Documentary was “Dancing on a Volcano;” Best Mid-Atlantic Film was “Broken on All Sides;” Best Student Film was “For Goodness Shakes!;” and Best Feature Film was “Dalai Mongol.”
Although not all filmmakers could be there to accept their awards, Director Tyler Mertens accepted his award for, “For Goodness Shakes!”
“This is awesome, considering we shot this film in two days with zero budget,” he said, thanking the Film Festival directors.
Director Levi Chen accepted his award for “Dalai Mongol.” During the award ceremony, Levi, an award-winning musician from Los Angeles, performed some of his music featured in his film.
Following Levi’s performance, Thom presented the 2012 Juried Award Winners, including: “Squeaky Business” for Best Animated Short Film; “The Grove” for the GLTB (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Spirit Award; “Strumpet” for Retro Sensation Award; “The Pact” for the Bufonesco (Best Comedy) Award; “Let Us Talk” for the Cultural Spirit (recognizes contributions to social/cultural issues) Award; “Running Through: The Jordan Culbreath Story” for the New Hope (the celebration of triumph over adversity) Award; “Hath No Man” for Best Student Film; Empire: “The Whitewater Story” for Artistic Spirit (artistic quality and bravery in the face of substantial obstacles) Award; “Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story” for the Indie Spirit (honoring remarkable talent on a shoestring budget) Award; “No Head” for Best Music Video Award; “Cluck” for Best Short Film; and “Only a Number” for Best Documentary.
Steven Besserman, director of “Only a Number,” accepting his award, said, “My mom, who was the complete inspiration of this film, passed away in January. She allowed me to bring her story to the world.”
“Only a Number” is the true story of Steven’s mother, a Holocaust survivor with dementia.
Said Bill Haley, director of “Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story,” “I want to thank the folks at the New Hope Film Festival for making us feel so welcome as participating filmmakers.”
Gabriella Loutfi accepted her award for Best Music Video.
“It’s a pleasure to create this new category. I was the only participant,” she laughed. “Hopefully this will encourage more filmmakers to make music videos.”
Director Daniel Doran accepted his award for “Empire: The Whitewater Story.”
And finally, it was time for the biggest award of the day, the Danny Award. Mayor Keller announced that the winner of this award for Best Picture was “Brush” by Australian Director Shiyan Zheng. Doug Whipple accepted this award on Shiyan’s behalf.
“Brush” is the story of a struggling young painter who decides to give up his art to pursue a normal, safe life with his fiancé. But selfish actions soon threaten their relationship in this sophisticated and deeply psychological love story.
The New Hope Film Festival is already accepting submissions for next year.
For more information visit www.newhopefilmfestival.com.