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View other events for the week of 10/25/2004
Mt. Shasta Fest Award Winners
Date Monday October 25
Time 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Location Details
Mt. Shasta, CA
Event Type Screening
Organizer/AuthorPete
Mt. Shasta International Film Festival
Mt. Shasta, CA 96067
http://www.shastafilmfest.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A SPECTACULAR DEBUT
The Inaugural Mount Shasta International Film Festival was a Real Crowd Pleaser

Mt. Shasta, CA – The Inaugural Mount Shasta International Film Festival wrapped on October 10th, concluding a three-day event that unspooled 20 American and foreign independent films from eight countries.

"Finding Home," produced by Victoria Paige Meyerink and directed by Lawrence David Foldes, garnered the Best Feature Film Award. A major hit film on this year’s festival circuit, the multi-award winning film tells "the story of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life and love as she unravels the mysteries of her family’s turbulent past."

"Daughters of Everest," which chronicles the first expedition of Sherpa women to climb Mount Everest," won the Best Documentary Film Award. The film was produced and directed by Sapana Sakya and Ramyata Limbu. Prior to the festival, Ms. Sakya said she had always wanted to visit Mount Shasta. "Mount Shasta is sort of the Everest of the region, and everyone wants to either climb the mountain or see it for themselves."

Both films were shown at two sold-out screenings. The festival was a major coup for this small alpine community (population 3500), which did not have a movie theater until two years ago. Mt. Shasta, nestled in the foothills of snow-capped-Mount Shasta, is 4.5 hours north of San Francisco and one hour south of Ashland, Oregon.

Approximately 2000 tickets were sold during the festival. Festival Founder/Director Jeffrey Winters was both excited and humbled to see people smiling and engaged in lively discussion as they exited the films. "People complimented us on the exceptional quality and diversity of our films," he said. "Many people bought a ticket for one movie and then returned to the box office for other films. Some attendees saw four films a day and many of the films were sold out."

Winters said the theatre was packed with a record 1,100 people on the evening of October 10th, as three festival films and three commercial films were showing at the same time. Movie buffs from Redding, Chico, Medford, Oregon, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area attended the festival.

The festival’s organization and quality of films delighted the invited filmmakers. "I am impressed with this town and the work that has gone into putting on this festival," Foldes said. "I have attended many first festivals, and this has to be one of the best…What I’m sensing here is a festival that can go on for years. It’s Sundance without the attitude."

Ms. Sakya, who attended the festival with her husband and 15-month-old baby girl, said "not only were the (festival) organizers incredibly warm and accommodating; I thought the line up of films was truly international."

Filmmaker Brian Ging screened "American Yearbook" his first feature film, which presents a candid, frank and disturbing look at bullying in schools. During an emotion-charged question and answer period following the film, which was attended by Mount Shasta area educators, Ging implored the audience to talk to kids about the issue of bullying in their schools.

Ging was also impressed with the festival. Commenting on a film festival website following the event he said, "…The volunteers and supporters of the festival were amazingly filmmaker friendly. I have not yet felt such a feeling of personal support as I did there.

"…I’m always a little skeptical of first year fests and whether they are worth it, but Mt. Shasta was such a great experience, and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to enjoy a mountain town without dealing with the Sundance, Telluride or Aspen crowds," he said.

A spectacular opening night gala party was held at Rare Images Gallery in Mt. Shasta. The venue buzzed with excitement as invited filmmakers mingled with fans while sipping wine and ale, sampling a delicious array of food donated by local merchants and discussing their current and future projects. Several partygoers commented that the evening had the same air of electricity as events held in cities like Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.

Festival attendees were particularly receptive to the genuine warmth and friendly nature of the invited filmmakers. During a question and answer period, Foldes and Myerink entertained and informed the audience with intriguing behind-the-scene stories of how "Finding Home" was made. "They treated us as equals," commented one filmgoer. "Listening to them was like take a filmmaking class in your living room."

Audience "Best of the Fest" picks were: "Finding Home," "Daughters of Everest," "Snow Walker" (a Canadian film helmed by Charles Martin Smith), about a young pilot and Inuit woman’s fight for survival in the Alaskan wilderness; "The Butterfly " (a French film directed by Philippe Muyl), which creates a poignant fable using the mythical butterfly as a path on the search for beauty; and "Zus & Zo" (directed by Dutch filmmaker Paula Van Der Oest), a wacky comedy about three sisters trying to save their family inheritance from their supposedly gay brother.

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Added to the calendar on Sunday Oct 24th, 2004 1:58 PM
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