20th Philadelphia Film Festival is a Wrap!

Written by Media on . Posted in Press

The milestone Anniversary year featured 147 films including 122 narratives and documentaries hailing from 34 countries. Among the genres and categories covered were New French, Spanish Language, Sports in Motion, World Narratives, American Independents, Greater Filmadelphia – a series which showcased films with a local connection – and many more.

 (PHILADELPHIA, PA) November 4, 2011 – The 20th Philadelphia Film Festival (PFF) concluded its 15-day Anniversary celebration with Jury Prize award ceremony and Gala screening of Alexander Payne’s The Descendants on Saturday, October 29 at the Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theater. Payne’s international festival favorite served as a bookend to the October 20 – November 3 event, which opened with Sundance Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) Winner Like Crazy, featuring an appearance and post-screening Q&A session with Director Drake Doremus and Lead Actress Felicity Jones. Closing festivities were followed by 5 more days of guests and screenings to wrap up a Festival with a rich 20-year history of showcasing films from around the world.

Jury Award winners include:

Best Narrative Feature

Grand Jury Prize – Policeman; Director Nadav Lapid

Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision – OK, Enough, Goodbye; Directors Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia


Best Documentary 

Grand Jury Prize – Where Soliders Come From; Director Heather Courtney


Greater Filmadelphia Award for Best Local Film

Grand Jury Prize – Race to the Bottom of the Earth; Director Michele Loschiavo and Nancy Glass

Honorable Mention – Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears; Director Mike Todd


Best Short Film

Grand Jury Prize – Water Lillies in Bloom; Director Emil Stang Lund

Honorable Mention – We’re Leaving; Zachary Treitz

Special Jury Prize for Writing – Pioneer; Director David Lowrey


Additional Awards include:

 Archie Award for Best First-time Director

Michael; Director Markus Scleinzer

 Audience Award, presented by Amtrak

Staging Hope; Director Bil Yoelin

 The Festival included a wide variety of sold-out screenings, including such highly anticipated films as Shame, Medineras, Streets, A Dangerous Method, Thin Ice, Melancholia,The Kid With A Bike, Pina, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Perfect Sense, and Habemus Papam.  Other highlights of the Festival included a variety of very special guests joining in the 20th Anniversary celebration. This year, the Festival was proud to welcome Kevin Clash and America’s most beloved puppet, Elmo; subjects of the documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.

Philadelphia director Jonathan Demme was in attendance for his new documentary I’m Carolyn Parker: the Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful, proceeded by a retrospective 20th Anniversary screening of Silence of the Lambs later in the festival, as were writer/director Peter Berg and author Buzz Bissenger, who presented a special screening of Friday Night Lights, followed by an engaging 30-minute conversation afterwards.  Guests with a local connection also included boxer Chuck Wepner of The Real Rocky and producers Melissa Fitzgerald and Katy Fox of Staging Hope.  All in all, the Festival again hosted more than 100 filmmakers and industry professionals, many of whom hosted engaging post-screening Q&A sessions or participated on energetic and informative panel discussions.

The 20th Philadelphia Film Festival was made possible thanks to generous support by dozens of area sponsors. The Festival would like to thank all our sponsors including:

Official Sponsors:  Philadelphia Weekly, Sigma Sound Studios, Southwest Airlines, University of Pennsylvania, WHYY, Xfinity by Comcast

Premiere Sponsors: Comcast Sportsnet, Dive Visual, Firstrust

Patron Sponsors: Amtrak, Barefoot Wine, The Condo Shop, Dock Street Brewing Company, Electric Factory, International  House Philadelphia,  Jim’s Steaks, Landmark Theaters, Panasonic Solutions Company, Prince Music Theater, R2L, Rave Motion Pictures, Steen Outdoor Advertising, Titan360, UBS, University City District

Partcipating Sponsors: 102.9 WMGK, 95.7 BenFM, SAG Indie, Narragansett, TGIC Importers, Castillo de Monseran, Tax Credit Funding LLC, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Philadelphia Distilling, Magic Hat Brewing Company, TD Bank, Drexel Univeristy’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Hyatt Regency Philadelphia, FlixFling, Cozen O’Conner, Movie Magic, CertainTeed

 Community Sponsors: Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Knight Foundation, Moore Brothers Wine Company, Tastykake, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Broadzilla Party Association, Harcum College, The Art Institute of Philadelphia,  Greenfield Youth Film Festival, Bai5, City Tap House, Yards Brewing Company, Q Bbq & Tequila, CBS Outdoor, Pirate’s Booty, Quay Vodka, Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation, Art in the Age, Innovative Catering Concepts, Pure Design, Janney Montgomery Scott, PYT Philly, Zeo Rental/Retail, Bumble Bar, Harvest Grill

 Industry Sponsors: Allied-THA, The Nouveau Image

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