Ashland Independent Film Festival Hosts an Oscar Winner!
– by Lee Greene
As practically everyone is aware, Sunday, February 22, 2015 was the night of the Academy Award ceremony and broadcast from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre where this year’s Oscar winners were announced. Locally, the event was celebrated in a big way by the Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) which filled the Historic Ashland Armory with a black tie audience for an Oscar Gala, observing the Academy Award broadcast on two giant screens while dining on a gourmet meal from Smithfields Restaurant and Bar, accompanied by a selection of fine wines and beverages, and Noble coffee with dessert.
The Gala was certainly a winner for the attendees. The broadcast was easily seen on the giant screens in all seats in the sold out Armory and certainly well heard over the Armory’s sound system. The food was scrumptious (see the full menu), featuring a main course of beef, or squash and mushroom, Wellington (of course, you know that a Wellington preparation means that the food is wrapped in a puff pastry and baked.)
During commercials and breaks, the crowd was entertained by AIFF’s emcee, the affable Jerry Kenefick, as well as appearances by AIFF Acting Executive Director Cathy Dombi, and former Executive Director Anne Ashby.
The event was also a winner for AIFF, which took advantage of the opportunity presented by a room full of film buffs, to sell memberships and solicit donations to the film festival. Emcee Jerry Kenefick worked the room, enthusiastically circulating wherever needed to collect envelopes with donations and membership fees.
AIFF also used the occasion to introduce its private label wine, AIFF 2012 Syrah, made by wine-maker Eric Weisinger from South Stage Cellars grapes. Samples of the wine were freely provided, and attendees had the opportunity to buy it by the glass or the bottle to enjoy with dinner, or by the bottle or the case for consumption elsewhere later.
In case you missed the Oscar broadcast at home, the big winners were Birdman (Best Picture), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Best Director, Birdman), Julianne Moore (Best Actress, Still Alice), Eddie Redmayne (Best Actor, The Theory of Everything), Patricia Arquette (Best Supporting Actress, Boyhood), J. K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor, Whiplash), Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (Best Original Screenplay, Birdman), Graham Moore (Best Adapted Screenplay, The Imitation Game), Ida (Best Foreign Language Film – Poland), The Phone Call (Best Short Film), CitizenFour (Best Documentary), Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (Best Documentary Short), Big Hero 6 (Best Animated Film), Feast (Best Animated Short), Emmanuel Lubezki (Best Cinematography, Birdman), Tom Cross (Best Film Editing, Whiplash), Milena Canonero (Best Costume Design, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock (Best Production Design, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Alexandre Desplat (Best Musical Score, The Grand Budapest Hotel), “Glory” (Best Original Song, Selma), Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman (Best Sound Editing, American Sniper), Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley (Best Sound Mixing, Whiplash) and Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher (Best Visual Effects, Interstellar).
The Armory audience seemed pleased and satisfied with the award winners announced in the broadcast. The AIFF leadership, though, was really more focused on the upcoming Ashland film festival, scheduled for April 9-13, 2015. In the words of AIFF Acting Executive Director Cathy Dombi: “We have a very exciting line-up of films, it’s a very diverse group of films. We’re going to have documentaries, narrative features, shorts. We have some great family programming. We have a few surprises with some very special guests and some interesting presentations. So we can’t wait until April. We really hope everyone will take advantage of coming to see at least one, if not several, films.”
To top it off, AIFF also really is going to host an Oscar winner in its April 2015 festival (the title of this article is a double entendre – a pun by any other name). One of the films being shown at the festival this April is Best Documentary Short Oscar winner, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. All told 13 of this year’s Oscar nominated films are scheduled to be shown at the April AIFF festival.
AIFF is presenting a free Festival Preview Night, open to the public, on March 10, 2015 at 7 pm at SOU Music Recital Hall at which they’ll introduce the schedule for this year’s AIFF Festival, show clips from the films, and release the Pocket Guide to the Festival. The Festival website, at www.ashlandfilm.org, will go live the following day, March 11, for ticket sales for AIFF members, with tickets becoming available to the general public beginning at 10 am, March 22, 2015.
This review was originally published by the Jacksonville Review on February 23, 2015 at http://jacksonvillereview.com/ashland-independent-film-festival-hosts-oscar-winner/