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Courtney Love, Hal Sparks help present International Press Academy Awards

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Courtney Love made a surprise appearance in a room full of actors at the International Press Academy on Sunday night, saying that she's back in Los Angeles and ready to start over.

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"It's great to be in a room full of actors, it's been a long time," Love said at the Intercontinental Hotel in Culver City, Calif. "I'm back, moving to Los Angeles, and I'm hoping to do some more things."

She admitted being a troubled personality in Hollywood, and the man she was presenting an award to, Mike Medavoy, actually paid the high insurance premium out of his own pocket for her so she could do her role in "The People vs. Larry Flynt," which earned her lots of acting kudos.

"He paid that out of his own pocket and helped me through a hard time, and did the same for Robert Downey Jr.," she said about the Academy-nominated actor who also struggled with drug problems.

Medavoy, a studio chief involved with more than 300 movies, from "Terminator" to "Rocky," from "Sleepless in Seattle" to "Silence of the Lambs," said he was honored be given the prestigious Pickford Award named after Mary Pickford who was a pioneer in independent film.

"Today, the only place for any degree of freedom is on the Internet," Medavoy said. "And I'm glad to be here with my family and my friend, Courtney Love."

Privately, on the way out, the actress/singer said, "It's good to be back, I'm going to be good this time around."

Comedian Hal Sparks led the ceremonies and said that if movies and TV shows were a reflection of modern America it would mean "we're all a bunch of grifting meth-heads with conflicts." He pointed out that it was tough to refer to any individual performance as "best" when they were so diverse, as Sandra Bullock performing most of the time with herself in a cube in "Gravity" while Cate Blanchett goes through the range of her emotions in "Blue Jasmine."

Cuban-born, Venezuela-raised Maria Conchita Alonso took her stand at the podium to let people know about troubles going on in Venezuela and how little in the mainstream press is being written about it. "I had two glasses of champagne, so I will talk about it," she said.

Sparks, who is a frequent progressive activist and appears occasionally on the Stephanie Miller radio show said he would pull strings to help get the story out.

Garrett Brown, who created the steadicam and camera stablizer, was honored with the Tesla Award for innovation and given the honor by Vivian Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick's daughter (because they worked together on "The Shining").

"It has been great teaching the new generation of proteges how to use the camera and see how they are using it," Brown said.

Actor Dabney Coleman received a standing ovation before presenting the Independent Producer of the Year award to Cabrielle Tana, daughter of the restauranteur Dan Tana, who was in the audience. She helped get the true story of the movie "Philomena" made with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

Ryan Coogler won the Honorary Auteur award for his break-through film "Fruitville Station" and Breakthrough Performance awards were given to Michael B. Jordan for "Fruitville Station" and Sophie Nelisse for "The Book Thief."

Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture was given to the cast of "Nebraska" and Best Ensemble for TV went to "Orange is the New Black."

Check back for the complete list of winners and more photos from the show.

(Mike Szymanski is the vice president of the International Press Academy, see: www.pressacademy.com)

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