On Sunday night, May 12, 2013, at the 13th Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF) closing Gala Awards Ceremony, “Wampler’s Ascent,” a feature-length documentary directed by Elizabeth Wampler, received the Golden Palm Award. The film features Steve Wampler, a man with severe cerebral palsy that ascends the biggest rock face in the world, El Capitan in Yosemite National Park: 20,000 pull-ups, 5 nights, 6 days on the sheer face of the mountain with the use of only one limb. The new Beverly Hills Film Festival Japan CEO, Hiroki Ohwada from Tokyo was in attendance to present the Best Foreign Film award to “Rouge Sang (The Storm Within).” The event was held at the The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, located at 300 South Doheny, and featured over 300 distinguished guests.
Another highlight of the evening was the 2013 Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Award — named after legendary filmmakers Sergei Paradjanov and Mikhail Vartanov — which honored late Oscar-winning screenwriter William Saroyan (1908-1981). Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight presented the award to Saroyan’s granddaughter, Cream Saroyan.
BHFF founder and president Nino Simone, said, “It is an honor to host so many incredibly talented independent filmmakers and screenwriters at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. We are proud that we have been able to give acknowledgement for their work for the past thirteen years, while creating a bridge for up-and-coming filmmakers to the Hollywood establishment.”
The 2013 BHFF Jury included Steven Paul (Crystal Sky, CEO & President), producer/sales rep Cassian Elwes; agent Matt DelPiano (CAA); casting director Fern Champion; producer Michael Hertzberg (“Blazing Saddles,” “Entrapment”), casting director Kim Matuka (Schuller Entertainment Group), producer Alan Mruvka and producer Scott Karol (“Tekken”).
About William Saroyan
Considered one of the greatest writer’s of the 20th century, William Saroyan won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Time of Your Life” (1939) and the Oscar for “The Human Comedy” (1943). American icons have praised Saroyan’s work, including the likes of Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut and Tennessee Williams. Stephen Fry has said of Saroyan: “He is one of the most underrated writers of the century. He takes his place naturally alongside Hemingway, Steinbeck and Faulkner.” Past Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Awards that have been presented to underrated artists include the legendary screenwriter Mardik Martin, who penned Martin Scorsese’s classics “Mean Streets” (1973) and “Raging Bull” (1980), as well as French film genius Jean Vigo (1905-1934) who has credited with inspiring directors from Fellini to Scorsese.
2013 Beverly Hills Film Festival Awards
2013 BHFF award recipients were awarded with custom-made crystal and marble trophies. Out of 50 competition films, a complete list of the 2013 winners follows:
The Golden Palm Award (best film in all categories) went to “Wampler’s Ascent,” directed by Elizabeth Wampler.
Best Director went to Hadzi-Aleksandar Djuovic for “Love Comes After."
Best Producer went to Hersh W. Chadha and Gauri Chadha for “Gawah.”
Best Actor went to Brad Dourif for “Santa Monica.”
Best Actress went to Isabel Guerard for “Rouge Sang (The Storm Within).”
Best Screenplay went to Matt K. Firpo for “Child’s Play.”
Best Foreign Film went to “Rouge Sang (The Storm Within).”
Best Animation went to "Vengeance + Vengeance" from filmmaker Mark Chavez.
Best Cinematography went to Phil Holland for "Illusion.”
Best Editing went to “Darkness," from filmmaker Levi A. Taylor.
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
Best Short Film went to “Spine" from writer/director Sophie Miller.
Best Documentary went to "Death by China 2.0” from writer/director Peter Navarro.
Best Feature Film went to “The Yellow Kid" from writer/director Tetsuya Mariko
SPECIAL JURY AWARDS
Best Feature Film went to “Lost on Purpose" from writers/directors Ian Nelms and Eshom Nelms.
Best Documentary went to “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception," directed by Steven Emerson and Rachel A. Milton.
Best Short Film went to “Abstraction" from writer/director Daniel Gomes.
Steven Paul and Jon Voight also gave special recognition to editor Bobby Ferretti for “The Will of Victory
(A Doc Opera).”
GOLDEN PALM SCREENPLAY COMPETITION
The Golden Palm Screenplay Competition Award went to David Schroeder for “This Modern Man is Beat.” The first runner-up award went to Jason Fenton for "Infinity." The second runner-up award went to “Tec A’man,” written by Crosby Selander.
The annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival was founded in 2001 by award-winning independent filmmaker Nino Simone. The 13th annual event, taking place from May 8 – 12, 2013, is dedicated to showcasing and promoting non-studio films to the entertainment industry. Designed to bridge the world of premiere independent cinema with the renowned community of Beverly Hills, the festival hosts world-class screenings, networking events and industry seminars. Sponsors include TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Level 3 Hollywood, Hugo & Debra Naturals, Hill Street Watch Company, We Share Media and Beverly Hills Luxury Motors.