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The Bad Penny

“The Bad Penny,” a feature-length drama directed by Todd Bellanca, starring Tom Arnold and Bai Ling, received the Golden Palm Award at the 11th Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF) closing Gala Awards ceremony.  The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film went to “The Chicago 8,” from writer/director Pinchas Perry, starring Danny Masterson, Gary Cole and Orlando Jones.  The Jury Award for Best Feature Film went to “Polish Bar” from director Ben Berkowitz.  “Polish Bar” star Judd Hirsch also won the prize for Best Actor.  “Espera un Milagro,” a documentary from Spanish director Gemma Ventura also won two prizes for Best Director and Best Foreign Film.

The 4th annual Beverly Hills Film Festival Legends Award was presented to Oscar-winning movie star Jon Voight (“Coming Home,” “Deliverence,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “Catch 22,” ”Mission Impossible,” “National Treasure”).  Voight was presented the award by friend and producer Avi Arad, founder of Marvel Studios (“Silver Surfer,” “Iron Man,” “Spiderman”).

Voight presented the 2011 Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Award honoring icon of French cinema, Jean Vigo (1905-1934), to his daughter and film critic Luce Vigo, who flew in from Paris for the event.

The other winners at the 2011 BHFF include:

The Golden Palm Award (best film in all categories) went to “The Bad Penny,” directed by Todd Bellanca.    

Best Actor went to Judd Hirsch for his role in “Polish Bar.”

Best Actress went to Saye Yabandeh for “5th and Alameda.”  

Best Producer went to Brett Henenberg, John Nargiso, Quinn Saunders and John Lutz for “Cherry.”

Best Director went to Spanish filmmaker Gemma Ventura for the documentary, “Espera un Milagro.”  

Best Foreign Film went to the Spanish film shot in India, “Espera un Milagro” from director Gemma Ventura.

Best Screenplay went to Eric B. Hughes and Elizabeth Regen of “The Fallen Faithful.”

Best Animation went to the short “Blame Cupid Stupid,” directed by Michael Patrick O’Hara.

Best Cinematography went to “Pillow” from filmmakers Miles B. Miller and Joshua H. Miller.

Best Editing went to the drama/thriller “5th and Alameda,” directed by Richard Friedman.

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
Best Short Film went to “The Love Song of Iskra Prufrock” from writer/director Lucy Gaffy.
Best Documentary went to “HN – Hermann Nitsch,” written and directed by Daniela Ambrosoli.
Best Feature Film went to “The Chicago 8″ from filmmaker Pinchas Perry.

SPECIAL JURY AWARDS
Best Feature Film went to “Polish Bar,” directed by Ben Berkowitz.
Best Documentary went to “Bhopali” from director Van Maximilian Carlson.
Best Short Film went to “Bang” by filmmaker Holle Singer.  

GOLDEN PALM SCREENPLAY COMPETITION
The Golden Palm Screenplay Competition Award went to Michael Mares for “God’s Architect.” The first runner up award went to Nicky Julius for “Erin, Owen, and the Mythfits.”  The second runner up award went to “Lenin,” written by Patrick Flenniken.

The 11th International Beverly Hills Film Festival ran from April 6 through 10, 2011.

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