- Monday, Apr. 20, 2015
WorldFest-Houston, the third longest-running International Film Festival in North America, and the Oldest Independent Film Festival in the world, celebrated the conclusion of its 10-day run of film, fun and fanfare in its 48th annual independent film showcase with a 9% increase in box-office despite the torrential downpours! WorldFest opened this year’s edition with record turnouts for Leaves of the Tree directed by Ante Novakovic and written and produced by Houstonian David Healey. Sean Young was in attendance to receive her WorldFest Career Achievement Award. Closing night honors went to Jay Silverman (who took Best Director Kudo’s) for his compelling Girl on the Edge plus Shawn Welling’s AXI composite of Award winning Web Episodes culminating with his exquisitely shot, If I Could Talk.
Other festival highlights included the buzz-creating, Martial Arts Kid by three time festival alumni, Michael Baumgarten; Sweethearts of the Gridiron, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Kilgore Rangerettes with director Chip Hale attending; the family friendly, The Amazing Wizard of Paws by Brian Michael Stoller, long time festival winner; The Lost Key, by Venezuelan director Ricardo Adler and Rabbi Manis Friedman. In from the West Coast were filmmakers of Sharing the Rough, an amazing documentary tracing the journey of the East African gemstones by director Orin Mazzoni. Other special films were Ekstra from the Philippines by long time festival winner, Jeffrey Jeturian in for the festivities, Wildlike, by director Frank Hall Green and M Cream from India with director Agneya Singh attending as well. Cindy Baer also in for her new film, Odd Brodsky, Laura Burton for A Sort of Homecoming, Luis Antonio Pereira in from Brazil for his Chess Game (Jogo de Xadrez), Michael Bergmann for his Influence and Katryn Ottarsdottir and Hugin Eiden from the Faroe Islands for their compelling film, Ludo.
WorldFest celebrated its Tenth Annual Panorama Italia in collaboration with Valeria Rumori, Director of The Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, CA. (IIC) and the Italian Consul Elena Sgarbi in Houston as well as The Italian Film Festival in St. Louis, featuring See You Tomorrow with producer Giuseppe Pedersoli attending as well as Do You Remember Me? by Rolando Ravello, The Referee by Paolo Zucca, Crushed Lives, Sex or Kids by Alessandro Colizzi and The Rule of Lead by festival alumni, Giacomo Arrigoni. Closing weekend, April 18 & 19th , included matinee screenings of award-winning Short subjects, a Grand Awards Gala on Saturday night and Closing Day festivities~ a V.I.P Tour of NASA/Rocket Park and The 28th WorldFest/Consular Regatta & Barbecue hosted by The Houston Yacht Club. All events are always open to the public.
WorldFest, founded as an International Film Society in August 1961, became the third competitive international film festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York. WorldFest evolved into a competitive International Film Festival in April 1968 and has a long list of “discovered” film greats such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Leslie Linka Glatter, Randal Kleiser, Ang Lee, Robert Rodriguez, the Coen Brothers, John Lee Hancock and many others from their beginning efforts for film submissions early in their careers. Multi award-winning producer/director, Hunter Todd, founded this special film festival to honor all categories of film and video production continuing his long dedication to “Discovery,” spotlighting emerging independent filmmakers who are to be “the Spielbergs & Ang Lees of tomorrow.”
WorldFest’s mission is to recognize and honor outstanding creative excellence in film & video, validate brilliant abilities and promote future filmmaking in Texas as well as enhance cultural tourism for Houston and environs. The 10-day festival ran to a strong finish with several sold-out screenings. WorldFest highlighted independently produced cinema from all over the globe with over 32 nations represented and has initiated a new focus called “Emerging Perspectives” an outreach for cinema from remote and undiscovered sectors of the globe. Over 550 filmmakers were on hand at this year’s festivities.
All film premieres screened at the Flagship AMC Studio 30 Theatres, a 10 year WorldFest-Houston Cinema partner. Other major VIP Partner/Sponsors include Arcodoro Ristorante, Boxer Property, AMC Independent, The Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), Doubletree by Hilton, Greenway Plaza, The City of Houston, Avis/Budget Car Rental, NASA/Rocket Park, HBY, Fitness Center, and The Houston Yacht Club. Lopez Negrete is the International Award-Winning ad agency of record for the film festival.
The WorldFest Remi Awards Gala opened with Houston’s St. Thomas Episcopal School award-winning Scottish bagpipers, Emily Smith & Jimmy Lyttle piping in festival Founding Director, Hunter Todd, followed by the enthusiastic filmmakers amidst a bevy of Pastorini Bosby award presenters. Dance entertainment was courtesy of Nelly Fraga’s Ambassador Mexican Folkloric Dancers, St. Thomas Episcopal School Scottish dancers, Elizabeth Smith and Isobel Lyttle and a grand finale by Shawn Welling’s Planet Funk Academy’s lead dancers.
On April 16, 17, and 18th , WorldFest conducted nine Film Industry Master/Class Seminars, Nick Nicholson’s ‘Film Critic’s View’, Casting & SAG/AFTRA Script to Screen with Donna McKenna, Music & Story with Dave Miller & Jim Westlin, a special NASA Film Program with NASA Producer/Director John Streeter, DCP Protocol by Damir Catic, Drones in Film Productions with Shawn Welling, Indie Crowd Funding by Christopher Parker, Screenplays with Casey Kelly and concluding with An Indie Directors Forum moderated by multi-time WorldFest award winner, Canadian director David Winning.
The WorldFest 2015 Grand Remi Awards went to:
► BEST THEATRICAL FEATURE ~ Design 7 Love ~ Chen Hung-I, Red Society Films, Taipei, Taiwan.
► BEST FILM & VIDEO ~ Mapping The Blue, Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Landover, MD, USA.
► BEST TV & CABLE PRODUCTION ~ Civil War: The Untold Story, Chris Wheeler, Great Divide Pictures, Denver, Colorado.
► BEST SCRIPT ~ The Plaintiff, David Bartlett & Clifford Zalay, Los Angeles, CA.
► BEST TV COMMERCIAL ~ The Reader ~ Bells Scotch, Greg Gray, Velocity Films, King James Ad Agency, South Africa.
► BEST NEW MEDIA ~ Earth Touch News, Earth Touch Productions, South Africa.
► BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM & VIDEO ~ The Looking Planet, Eric Law Anderson, Sherman Oaks, CA, USA.
► BEST SHORT SUBJECT, The OceanMaker, Lucas & Christina Martel, Austin, Texas, USA.
► BEST STUDENT FILM, Dreamers, Joseph Dwyer, Somerville, MA, USA
► BEST MUSIC VIDEO ~ Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off,” Scott Borchetta, Director, Big Machine, Nashville, TN, USA
WorldFest Best Actor Remi Awards went to: Best Actress, Priscila Fantin for Chess Game, Jogo de Xadrez, Luis Antonio Pereira, director ~ Brazil; Best Actor to Eric Roberts, Leaves of the Tree, Ante Novakovic, director ~ USA/Sicily; Best Supporting Actress to Rachel Zeiger-Haag, Influence, Michael Bergmann, director ~ USA and Best Supporting Actor to Charles Malik Whitfield, Steps of Faith, M. Legend Brown, director ~ USA. WorldFest initiated a new Talent recognition category with its Best Rising Stars: Laura Marano, A Sort of Homecoming, USA and Jake Vargas, Between the Eyes, Asintado, Philippines being this year’s winners.
The Russian-American Business Magazine/Publications sponsored The Best Foreign film award which went to Ekstra directed by WorldFest alumni, Jeffrey Jeturian in to receive his honors. The Best Houston Production Remi Award went to If I Could Talk, by Houstonian Shawn Welling. The Best Texas Production Remi Award went to Master Hoa’s Requiem, Scott Edwards, Austin, Texas, USA.
All other award results from this year’s WorldFest competition & Awards Gala are posted on our website at www.worldfest.org. There were more than 4,300 category entries in all film and video competitions, and less than 12% of submitted entries placed for WorldFest Remi awards. During the 10-day festival, over 550 filmmakers from more than 30 nations around the world were in attendance to personally accept their various awards from this year’s WorldFest’s competition of thousands of submitted category entries.
Dates for WorldFest-Houston 49th are April 8-17th, 2016. Please check our website at - www.worldfest.org - for the full winners’ list or call 713-965-9955 for more information.
“Call for Entries” for next year’s event will be E-mailed out in mid August. Entries officially open August 1st, 2015. Main deadline is December 15, 2015. Download official entry forms from our website starting Aug. 1st.