Executive Director of the re-launched 2014 Hollywood Film Festival, announced the Jury, CineCause Spotlight and other special Honors at a ceremony poolside at the historical Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

Jury Prizes for Best Documentary Feature went to Joe Piscatella #Chicago Girl, the story of an American teenage girl from Chicago’s suburbs who helps coordinate the Syrian revolution, but as the violence rages, her social network must choose the best way to fight a dictator: Facebook or AK-47s.  Based on the Oscar-winning short film “Curfew,” Shawn Christensen’s Before I Disappear won the Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature and tells the story of Richie, who, at the lowest point of his life, gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his eleven-year old niece, Sophia, for a few hours.  Brendan Calder’s Learning to Float took the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short and Fourteen Seeds, co-directed by Edwin Adlam Herod and Drue Pennella took Best Narrative Short

Cincecause Spotlight filmmakers who successfully demonstrated the power of film to create change were recognized as well.  In the Documentary category, Michael Barnett’s Becoming Bulletproof, which follows the filmmaking process as a diverse group of actors living with disabilities set out to make their first Western was recognized; and in the Narrative category, Andy Landen’s Sequoia, the story of a 23-year-old cancer victim whose plan to take her own life in Sequoia National Park is disrupted by a young man she meets on her way to the park was given recognition.

Legendary actor Harry Belafonte, who divided his time between Hollywood superstar and global activist, was given the first CineCause ChangeMaker Icon honor earlier this year and his daughter, Gina Belafonte, spoke on his behalf at the celebration. 

Both Tugg and Yekra contributed unique packages for their distribution platforms, to all of the winning Feature films.  Panasonic provided 42” flat screen TVs to all of the winners.  Playa Viva, a regenerative resort in Mexico, contributed a 4-night stay to one of the winners, and ShortsHD provided a distribution for the award-winning short films.

The revamped Hollywood Film Festival ran October 16-19th and, with its new focus, connects audiences to causes behind social-issue films. The festival far-exceeded expectations and support of the new direction was shown with an increased box office by over 45 percent from last year.  “The concept of anchoring the Festival with social impact films, while integrating cause-based presentations was very well received,” says Executive Director Jon Fitzgerald.  “The response was overwhelmingly positive and shows that audiences are wanting to see socially relevant films and help create global changes.  The timing is right.”

Fitzgerald, co-founder of Slamdance and former Director of the AFI, SBIFF and Abu Dhabi festivals, plans to grow HFF to a top tier festival without the help of typical glitz and glamour and is committed to showing the “other side” of Hollywood by celebrating the creative artists, activists and industry leaders who support causes around the world.  The Hollywood Film Festival and Fitzgerald’s philanthropic CineCause, connects audiences to causes behind social-issue films. 

Visit - http://www.hollywoodfilmfestival.com/ for more information.