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DIFF: The Winners and a Little Star Power

by Stephen Becker 21 Apr 2012 6:47 PM

On Friday night, the Dallas film community got all dressed up to celebrate the winners at this year’s Dallas International Film Festival and to spend a few hours with some movie legends.


On Friday night, the Dallas film community got all dressed up to celebrate the winners at this year’s Dallas International Film Festival and to spend a few hours with some movie legends.

Gary Cogil emceed the event, held at the Palomar Hotel, but the real star of the show may have been RoboBaby. RoboCop himself, Peter Weller, was in attendance since the festival planned to mark the 25th anniversary of his Dallas-shot blockbuster on Saturday. And seated alongside him was his bouncing baby boy, who was frequently hoisted into the air each time RoboCop senior or junior was mentioned.

Aside from that, the night really was about the heartfelt, often funny speeches made at the podium by the winners as well as this year’s recipients of the Dallas Star Award and Texas Avery Animation Award. Gabourey Sidibe’s touching recognition of the student filmmakers in the audience was a big highlight, and class personified.

Rather than go blow-by-blow through the night, here’s some of the best quotes from the podium, followed by the full list of winners:

“It’s surreal. Growing up watching movies and now I’m sitting at a table with RoboCop’s baby. Dreams do come true.”

– Justin Tipping, receiving the audience award for directing Nani.

“He just had to do one dumb drawing a day.”

– Texas Avery Animation Award recipient Glen Keane, talking about the difference between creating 24 frames per second and the job his father, Bil Keane, had as creator of The Family Circus syndicated newspaper cartoon. In a side note, DIFF Senior Programmer Sarah Harris was positively beaming following the dinner as she showed off her program that Keane autographed and embellished.

“We want you to step out of the shadows and get the help that you need.”

– Ya’Ke Smith, director of the Panavision Filmmaker Award for Wolf, in dedicating his victory to both the victims and predators involved in sexual abuse. Smith talked to Art&Seek at length about how he dealt with that subject in Wolf.

“When I started this film, I had $300 and a bag of groceries from food stamps. At least I know I’m not crazy.”

– Bryan D. Hopkins, winner of the Environmental Visions Grand Jury Prize for Dirty Energy.

“Since 2009, I’ve only seen it like three times, and I feel really sad now … so thanks!”

– Dallas Shining Star Award recipient Gabourey Sidibe, after watching a tribute to her featuring a handful of clips from her Oscar-nominated performance in Precious.

“I look at this speech as a costume designer, as if I were designing a dress for a beautiful actress. I want to keep it long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep it interesting.”

Dallas Star Award recipient Bernie Pollack. Before his speech, Pollack received video tributes from Robert Redford and Harrison Ford, two of the actors he’s dressed in multiple movies during his career.

“I was surprised by meeting my husband at a film festival. So never say no to a film festival.”

– Dallas Star Award recipient Laura Linney, recalling how she met her husband, Marc Schauer, at the Telluride Film Festival.

“My table said, ‘Are you gonna cry if you win?’ I said, ‘No way I’m gonna cry – I’m a tough girl!'”

– Kristina Nikolova, tears streaming down her face, while accepting the Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature for Faith, Love and Whiskey.

Narrative Feature: FAITH, LOVE AND WHISKEY
Dir: Kristina Nikolova
Special Mention, Breakout Performance: LUV, Michael Rainey Jr.
Special Mention, Acting: TEDDY BEAR, Kim Kold

Documentary Feature: TCHOUPITOULAS
Dirs: Bill Ross, Turner Ross

PANAVISION Texas Filmmaker Award: WOLF
Dir: Ya’Ke Smith

Special Mention: KID-THING
Dir: David Zellner

Silver Heart Award: THE INVISIBLE WAR
Dir: Kirby Dick

Environmental Visons Grand Jury Prize: DIRTY ENERGY
Dir: Bryan D. Hopkins

Grand Jury Prize Short: AARON BURR, PART 2
Dir: Dana O’Keefe
Special Mention Short: THE LOVE COMPETITION
Dir:  Brent Hoff

Grand Jury Prize for Student Short: NANI
Dir: Justin Tipping
Special Mention Student ShortUnique Storytelling: GRANDMOTHERS
Dir:  Afarin Eghbal

Grand Jury Prize, Animated Short: A MORNING STROLL
Dir: Grant Orchard

DIR: Kang Je Kyu
Cast:  Jang Dong-gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bing-bing, Kim In-kwon, Do Ji-han, Han Seung-hyun

DIR: Bess Kargman

DIR: Justin Tipping

$7,500 prize winner – NO BLACKOUT
DIR: Abelardo Gonzalez
$5,000 prize winner – A SPARK
DIR: Christian Vasquez
$2,500 prize winner – THE ENERGY POLICE
DIR: Carolina Trevino

$7,500 prize winner – ZAP!
DIR: Dillon White
$5,000 prize winner – DOMI CILE
DIR: Edgar Cortes
$2,500 prize winner – MAN POWER
DIR: Wojciech Stypko