The Scarapist

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18 Mar 0 Comment

The Scarapist and the VDKUF Award

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I was sitting at my computer late Sunday on February 21, the last night of Berlinale, the international film festival and market in Berlin, Germany. I was combing through the online news, when I came across mention of Berlinale, European Film Market, “The Scarapist” and “Spicuzza.” I clicked on the article from Cinema Italiano, which was, of course, written in Italian. There was a photo of Luciano Silighini Garagnani, director of the short film “Seline.” Gianfranco Rosi won the Golden Bear for “Fuocoammare.” Luciano’s film won a German critics’ award. I read further. How kind, I thought, to mention “The Scarapist.” The journalist must have seen the film at the European Film Market, or EFM, and liked it– wait! “il premio,” okay, we’re not premiering, hello, does this say, award? Best film, best picture? What?

Now, my Italian is not perfect. I had to be sure. I consulted my cinematographer Massimiliano Trevis, who is shooting our upcoming feature thriller, “Night Rain.” Massi is from Palermo, Sicily, where my relatives also live. Massi encouraged me to make ‘The Scarapist” without delay. He will know, I thought. He did. He confirmed, “I believe you got an award in Berlin.” I emailed “The Scarapist” consulting producer Shari “The Texas Tornado” Hamrick. “Yes, we won BEST PICTURE my dear xoxoxox,” she responded. And then, I wept. I wept with joy. I fell to my knees. Gratitude abound.

I spent the next week searching online. At first, I thought that the Verein Deutcher Kritiker und Filmemacher, an association of German critics and filmmakers– thank you Google translate!– was the Verband der deutschen Filmkritik. I sent them a heartfelt thank you. But, as it turned out, they were not the organization I was looking for.

I emailed Tilmann Vierzig at Berlinale EFM, who was very helpful with information for “The Scarapist” screening. I asked if he could provide me with details. When he didn’t respond within the usual 24-hour time frame, I thought, “Well, goodness, everyone must be scrambling after the festival and market, with little or no time to address anything except their immediate responsibilities.” So I contacted Luciano, who was wonderful. I employed some of my best Italian. “dear friend” began his email reply. He connected me with Terry Mauger of the Verein Deutcher Kritiker und Filmemacher, or VDKUF. I emailed Terry at the offices of the VDKUF on Potsdamer Strasse. Terry wrote me that he does not “sprechen Englisch,” and congratulated me on “The Scarapist.”

But wait! I wanted to know more! Danke schoen for the grande dame, my publicist, Monica Matulich. Monica’s partner is from Germany, so she sent an inquiry with the help of his Deutsche! Through this process, which was made better by everyone involved– I keep picturing a relay!– we obtained the following press information, which I will post in English, here:

The Verein Deutscher Kritiker und Filmemacher, an association of German critics and filmmakers headed by Mr. Thomas Avner, has decided to award at the EFM Berlinale 2016 the best actors and filmmakers for their respective works. The awards were presented on February 17, 2016, in Berlin, on the occasion of the seat at the event Berlinale.

There were more than 720 films presented in the EFM Berlinale 2016, one of the most important worldwide, prestigious film events.

The Verein Deutscher Kritiker und Filmemacher bestows the VDKUF AWARD, presenting the 2016 six prizes listed below:

Best Picture: “The Scarapist” by Synthian Sharp, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (USA)

Best Actor: Thomas Blanchard (Cédric in “Prejudice”, France, Belgium, Luxembourg).

Best Actress: Michelle Rodriguez (Frank Kitchen/Tomboy in “Tomboy: a Revenger’s Tale”, USA)

Best Animated Film: “Robinson Crusoe” by Ben Staessen (France, Belgium)

Best Short Film: “Seline” by Luciano Silighini Garagnani (USA, Italy)

Best Documentary: “P.S. Jerusalem” by Danae Elon (Canada)

The Verein Deutscher Kritiker und Filmemacher, founded in 2006, brings together German and international technicians, directors, experts and fans. The association organizes annual events and activities for all worldwide film festivals. This year, we celebrate our tenth anniversary, the occasion of which a VDKUF AWARD for Lifetime Achievement is bequeathed to the Oscar-winning actor and director George Clooney for his great career. Mr. Clooney will appear at Berlinale 2016, accompanied by his wife, Amal Clooney.

Talk about in good company! Many congratulations to all of the winners!

And speaking of good company, we welcome a new member of our team, distribution consultant extraordinaire, Deborah Gilels. Special nod to Leslie LaPage of LA Femme Film Festival for connecting us, and for giving “The Scarapist” a spectacular world premiere. And to Luckett Media, our social media mavens, “The Scarapist” publicist Kim Dixon and Dominion3. All of the cast and crew, too.

What have I learned, and what has been reinforced? I wish I could have attended the ceremony, and am happy that Luciano and the cast of “Seline” did. I’m grateful to the VDKUF for this honor. I think Monica said it best: be prepared. She’s quite right, artists and indie filmmakers. You never know when someone special will notice you. The internet is a great resource, but the real vests with each other. It’s incarnational. So know you are not alone, and always, always, respect and appreciate your team. Go team, go! A critics’ award at a festival is not the same as a festival award. It’s not founded on economy, region or politics. It’s an award based solely on artistic merit. That’s what I’ve worked for and dreamed of.

The VDKUF Award for “The Scarapist” is a Best Picture for everyone who has worked on, and loved, this movie. Twenty years of my life, my labor, support of my friends and family, plus every tender I’ve ever known, and the best part is still all of you. What a glorious recognition.

What a beautiful journey. Molto, molto grazie.

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