Donnybrook Awards: Starz Denver Film Festival
Donnybrook judged the films at 2009′s Starz Denver Film Festival on criteria assigned by the Pope himself. So weighty and important are these awards, that we had to steal the world’s largest trophy (pictured above) and graffiti our name on it in order to have a trophy large enough. Without further ado, I present you with the winners:
Has Had Movies in The Denver Film Fest for More Years than I Have Been Alive Award: Gary Keys
‘Festival regular’ is an understatement. Gary Keys, director of 42nd Street River to River, was first in the Denver film fest in 1980 with the film Memories of Duke. - Brother Travismo Sarducci
The Most Festival-esque Film at the Festival: I’m Not Your Friend
This film had it all for festival programmers: subtitles, raw footage, inter-crossing storyline, seedy characters, nudity, an ambiguous ending, and it probably will never show in Denver again after the festival. This is what film festivals are all about: bringing films like this to the public. – Fritz Godard
Least Surprising Film: Up in the Air
Starz employees had to bite their tongues about one of the biggest films at the fest since it had secret screening status, but the audience members who figured out the clues were in for a treat. Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air cast George Clooney as a smooth, sharp-dressing businessman sent around the country to fire people. If there is anyone I’d want to notify me of my termination from this esteemed writing academy, it would have to be George Clooney. This role is an underhand lob after he’s been on PED for six cycles. It’s no surprise he crushes it. The film is as good as you might have guessed it was, and therefor earns this year’s DWA Least Surprising Film Award. – Fritz Godard
Starving Artist Award: The Duke of the Bachata
This award is given to the most interesting look at the only two things that go together better than alcohol and nicotine: art and poverty.
The film follows upcoming Bachata musician Joan Soriano as he deals with shady music deals in the Dominican Republic, up to the time when he gets to go on his first American tour. But Adam Taub’s documentary isn’t just a pull up your bootstraps documentary; he looks deeper as Soriano deals with all of the added baggage of success. – Fritz Godard
Most Successful Device to Distinguish Identical Twins Award: Touching Home
Twin brothers Logan and Noah Miller are the self-taught writers and producers behind Touching Home, a family drama about twin brothers who dream of nothing more than making the major leagues, but are sent home to care for their homeless alcoholic father before they can follow their dreams. Luckily for the audience, these two realized nobody would be able to tell them apart on screen, so one of the brothers needed some dental work in the first scene of the film and the rest of the time was missing one of his Twilight teeth. Noah and Logan or Logan and Noah, I’m proud to present you with the 2009 Most Successful Device to Distinguish Identical Twins Apart Award. – Fritz Godard
The Dusty: Miracle Fish
This award is given to the film that, er, must have made the theater just a bit dusty.
This short from Australia is about a poor boy on his eighth birthday. He has no friends, gets mocked by schoolmates, and his best birthday gift is Miracle Fish that cost fractions of a penny. That’s a tough setup, but my eyes were fine until the final act of compassion this boy shows. Someone must have been clapping blackboard erasers or brought some pollen into the theater at the film’s climax, cause my eyes were pooling up. – Fritz Godard
Can You Hear Me Laughing in France Award: Please, Please Me
For the film that could double for a tourism advertisement
This film follows two estranged lovers around the city of Seoul trying to repay the final debt in a not so successful relationship. This film follows the characters down the back roads of Seoul really providing a candid look at the city. While a everyone once in awhile a familiar KFC pops up, this film feels like a lowkey vacation to Seoul to see a friend whose lived there for years. Then add on top of that a sweet little love story and you’ve got one of my favorite films at the festival. Korea has the most exciting film industry in the world right now. – Fritz Godard
Tatum O’Neal Award: Who’s Afraid of the Wolf?
At the age of 10, Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for the film Paper Moon (1973). This award goes to not just the youngest actor, but a young actor that gave one hell of a performance.
6 year old Dorota Dedkova gave an amazing performance in Who’s Afraid of the Wolf? as a girl using fairy tales and her imagination to make sense of the issues her parents are having. Runner up: the two-year-old in The Little One. I’m not sure how the director did it: the child in this film, about a kid who is found by a carnival troupe on the outskirts of Rome, was amazing (especially for a two-year old). She was walking around saying nonsense words, stomping in puddles wearing giant boots, crying because she doesn’t want to leave her new home, and sleeping on command. – Brother Travismo Sarducci