Philadelphia hosts film festival

By Christy Ross
April 24, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

The 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival kicked off on Thursday, April 3. The two week event started off with a documentary film by director Stephen Walker. The film starts with a choir of several retired men and women from New England preparing for their upcoming tour “Alive and Well.” The film, which is named “Young@Heart,” was not only inspirational but filled with humor and many different musical styles.

The festival offered guests to view several different films throughout the course of each day. A single, general public ticket could be purchased for $10. The festival encouraged guests to purchase their tickets beforehand in case a show they were planning on seeing sold out, which many of them did.

One film, “First Person,” received four out of four stars at the festival. The film sold out at every showing. The documentary directed by Benjamin Herold followed six Philadelphia students as they struggled to secure their college futures. The film takes a look into these college applicants’ lives who attend high schools with a 50 percent or worse drop out rate.

Other events were also held throughout the week. The Festival of Independents was held on Saturday, April 5 and showcased the talent of Philadelphia’s very own filmmakers. On Sunday, April 6 guests were invited to a Philadelphia Critics’ roundtable. The critics offered valuable information to guests about which films they thought were best to see.

The festival did not only show movies; it awarded three men for their outstanding impact on the film industry. Frank Henelotter was granted with the 2008 Phantasmagoria Award. The award is given to an independent filmmaker who brings the audience original stories with laughs, evil creatures and a rebellious flair.

Shane West also received the 2008 Rising Star award. The award recognizes the actor’s accomplishments as well as what he has yet to offer in the upcoming year. Actor, comedian, author and producer John Leguizamo was also awarded the 2008 Artistic Achievement Award.

The festival ended its two-week celebration on Tuesday, April 15. The festival closed with a prevailing imagery of artist, poet, musician, activist and mother Patti Smith. The imagery was called “Dream of Life.” The imagery takes a look inside the life of love, loss and rebirth. After the show, guests closed out the festival with music, dancing and dinner.

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Christy Ross

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