The 15TH Anniversary of the Gen Art Film Festival presented by Acura wrapped an exciting week that kicked off with the New York premiere of Sundance Audience Award winner “happythankyoumoreplease” and concluded last night with a ceremony announcing the winners of the Acura Grand Jury Awards, Wonderwall.com’s Stargazer Award and the Festival’s Audience Awards.
Following the closing night premiere of “Mercy,” the award winners were announced at BLVD. Gen Art Senior Vice President of Film Jeffrey Abramson, Gen Art Associate Director Aaron Levine and Jurors Shea Whigham and Eugene Hernandez announced the Festival winners.
The Acura Grand Jury Award for Best Feature went to Tatiana Von Furstenberg and Francesca Gregorini’s “Tanner Hall” with both directors on hand to receive their award last night, and the Acura Grand Jury Award for Best Short went to Vance Malone’s “The Poodle Trainer.” Prizes of $10,000 and $5,000 were presented by Acura to the Feature and Short winners respectively. Josh Radnor’s “happythankyoumoreplease” and Jeff Sousa’s “The Hirosaki Players” took home the Festival’s coveted Audience Awards.
Additionally, Wonderwall.com’s “Stargazer Award” recognized Rooney Mara (“Tanner Hall”) as the most talented emerging actor with “starstuff” from this year’s festival, selected by an esteemed group of festival alumni actors: Paul Schneider, Shea Whigham and Billy Burke. She will be featured in a special gallery on Wonderwall.com this week. The role was Rooney Mara’s first lead role, but she has since gone on to appear in indie films including “Youth in Revolt” and “Dare” both which opened theatrically early this year and late last year respectively, and she will be seen as a lead in the upcoming remake of the classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street” which opens nationally on April 30th. Rooney was on hand to accept the award last night.
During the past week, the Gen Art Film Festival presented by Acura showcased the New York premieres of seven features and seven shorts from emerging filmmakers, each followed by seven parties at New York City’s hottest venues, including SL, Juliet Supper Club, and Avenue. The cutting-edge festival allowed film buffs to experience a premiere like a true insider with interactive elements allowing filmmakers, media and the audience to share in the excitement.
“Happythankyoumoreplease” written and directed by Josh Radnor and featuring Radnor, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Pablo Schreiber, Tony Hale and Richard Jenkins opened the festival on April 7th at the historic Ziegfeld Theatre. The remaining films included “Mercy,” “Tanner Hall,” “Waiting for Forever,” “The Wild Hunt,” “Teenage Paparazzo,” and “Elektra Luxx” which all premiered to capacity crowds at the completely redesigned, state-of-the-art Visual Arts Theater in Chelsea.
Celebrities in attendance throughout the week included Adrian Grenier, Josh Radnor, Rachel Bilson, Malin Akerman, Alexis Bledel, Blythe Danner, Diane Von Furstenberg, Carla Gugino, Tom Everett Scott, Kate Mara, Tom Sturridge, Anthony Mackie, Rooney Mara, Zoe Kazan among many others.
“To celebrate our 15th year we sought to program films that would really excite our audience and by all measures we succeeded in doing such” said Jeffrey Abramson. “Our audience award reactions were exceptionally high and enthusiastic and the # of passholders and repeat attendees significantly increased”
“To kick off Spring 2010 with a sold-out 15 Anniversary Film Festival that brought together the highest profile and critically acclaimed set of independent films that we have showcased in our history, that also had such filmmaker and talent support at the festival, was truly inspiring” said Gen Art CEO and co-Founder Ian Gerard. “And to have our festival partner Acura there with us for an eighth year – was the icing on the cake.”
Once the run of the festival was determined, the films were submitted to the official festival jury, comprised of the following:
Feature Jury: Ben Barenholz (Producer), Charles Thorp (NY Entertainment Journalist), Eugene Hernandez (indieWIRE), Kacey Hagler (Fox Searchlight), Meira Bluastein (Woodstock Film Festival)
Short Jury: David Fear (Time Out NY), David Miller (Director, My Suicide), Marc Webb (Alumnus Director, 500 Days of Summer), Robin Bronk (The Creative Coalition), Tom Everett Scott (Actor/ Alumnus Director, “Glock”)
Stargazer Jury (all alumni Gen Art actors): Billy Burke, Paul Schnieder, Shea Whigham
Filmmaker DavidJR created videos encapsulating each night’s premiere and they can be viewed at http://www.genart.org/filmfestival/video.
In addition to Acura, the festival was made possible through the sponsor support of Amazon, Andaz Hotels, Cannon, Chase, Crunch, Don Julio Tequila, General Snus, Honest Tea, Kodak, New York Magazine, Ovation TV, and Stella Artois.
For more information, upcoming events and pictures and video please visit Gen Art’s website at www.genart.org.