The final day of the 168 Film Festival continued to see a packed theater as the final 45 films were premiered, many of them nominees for the awards distributed at the 168 Film Festival Awards show that same evening.
Some filmmakers were also there to do final PR for their movies. Arthur Delgado, director of the powerful documentary MAKE, produced clever lanyards with the films poster on the front, and the 168 Film Project logo on the back. MAKE is about Stephen "Cue" Jean-Marie's work as pastor of a church on the street called "The Row" in Skid Row Los Angeles. Arthur said he was "compelled to do this story. Cue is charismatic, and the power of his work needed to be told." Cue was humbled to be a part of the whole thing. "I was just grateful that the story is being told, that we have more awareness of what's happening in Downtown Los Angeles. Lot of people know, but we want to create more awareness. Because sometimes, it's out of sight, out of mind."
MAKE won the prize for Best Documentary, which will help raise the awareness of Skid Row’s church without walls even more.
Talisha Henderson, Repercussion's writer and director was there with her dad, representing in t-shirts with the film’s logline and credits. "With Repercussion, I wanted to show Atonement in today's world," Talisha explained. "That a lot of times we make decisions, but we don't think about the consequences that it has on innocent people surrounding us. And so Repercussion is a film about a family who has to deal with the ultimate sin of infidelity, so that was something I wanted to share with everyone, and hopefully they can walk away knowing that sometimes you have to "'Think Twice, Act Once.'"
Producer/Director Paula Wood O'Neal and the stars of her film Heritage came dressed to the nines for the awards show. Lynda Stein, one of Heritage's actresses, and a producer in her own right, travels back and forth from her home in Orlando, Fla. to Los Angeles to continue to be a part of this festival. "A couple of years ago, I did two years of films where I produced and wrote, and I was in them. Then I took a break, and I worked on a couple of films so that I could learn. I wanted to know if what I thought about producing was right, so I worked on a couple of film sets."
Lynda decided she needed the lesser stressor of acting this time around. "Acting is stress free compared to what the producers do. So I went back and did that. But God keeps calling me back to it."
Many of the Saturday screenings were noteworthy, and won awards that evening for their artistry and expertise. Here are the top 7 screenings of the final day:
Six Days on a Raft
Fathers & Sons
After the death of his father, a son comes to terms with the abuse he suffered and discovers his own transformation, as well as the one his father underwent before his death. Director Justin Machnik crafts a riveting drama with few words, but powerful images and a message that resonates.
Based on true events, a young girl is tormented at school, and in her act of desperation, shares a lesson on forgiveness. Directed by April Garwood, this docudrama was nominated for Best Screenplay.
A rite of passage story involving an African boy, an American tourist, and a goat takes hilarious turns with memorable consequences. John DeVries directed this innovative story, and Matt Raubenheimer, Daniel Morcos, John DeVries, and Howard James Fyvie won the Best Comedy screenplay award. Well deserved.
Arthur Delgado's film won for Best Documentary, and this prize was also well deserved. Stephen "Cue" Jean-Marie and the church without walls in Skid Row deserves a wider, more in-depth telling.
Fin Del Año
This quiet, lovely tale about a father's love and commitment to his family, coupled with his commitment to redeem a horse relegated to death weaved the theme of Atonement in a clever and precise way. The film was beautifully rendered, believable, and relevant.
An Iraq war veteran is haunted by a family killed during a firefight, and seeks out its only living member to find absolution and peace. Director Korstiaan Vandiver's film was up for many awards, including Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor and Best Dramatic Screenplay. The film won for Best Actor (Nate Parker), Best Supporting Actress (Saye Yabendeh), and Best Sound Design (Andrew Scott Duncan).
The 2013 Best Film big prize went to reMoved, the story of a girl’s journey through extreme hardships in the foster care system. Produced by Nathanael Matanick and Christina Matanick, and directed by Nathanael Matanick, reMoved received 13 nominations, and took home awards for Editor, Makeup and Hair, along with Best Film. Stay connected to the 168 Film Project and Echolight Studio's websites to watch the progress of this film’s move toward becoming a feature.