Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival Review - Opening Night Awards Gala and Reception

The Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival was founded in Paris France in 1991 by filmmakers/explorers Jean-Christophe Jeauffre and Frederic Dieudonne and is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. The Los Angeles Premier of the festival was launched in 2006 and quickly became a major Industry Event. Last years Honorees included George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and animal behaviorist Jane Goodall.

The Shrine Auditorium was once again buzzing with Celebrities, Environmentalists and Paparazzi for the opening night of the 2007 Festival.
The evening began with a walk down the environmentally friendly “Green Carpet. Inside, there was a pre-award show Press Conference with Media Mogul Ted Turner promoting the Captain Planet Foundation, which has funded over 160 environmental projects since 2006.

The Opening Night honored Ted Turner, Patrick Stewart, Tony Curtis, Buzz Aldrin, Tippy Hedrin and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Veteran actor Malcolm McDowell served as the Festivals Host (for his second straight year), and kept the show moving with grace and wit. In addition to honoring the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and the spirit of adventure, the festival is also committed to Environmentalism. It’s continuing message to “Save Our Planet” resounds with every aspect of the Festival.

Other honorees throughout the festival included comic book icon Stan Lee, actor William Shatner, author Ray Bradbury, director Ridley Scott and the creators and cast of the hit television show Heroes. Festival highlights included a special screening of the restored “Final Cut” version of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic “Blade Runner”.

In addition to the Main Event in the Shrine’s 6300 seat auditorium, there was an interactive walk through Art and Space museum with displays promoting NASA’s 50th Anniversary of space travel. Exhibits showcased in the 54,000 sq. ft. Expo Center, included replicas of a Mars Lunar Lander, the Cassini Satellite, which is currently orbiting Mars and an astronaut s EVA (Extra Vehicular Atmosphere) suit.

The Opening Night reception took place at the incredible new downtown venue “The Edison”. Upon entering, the sound of a 6 piece jazz orchestra filled the air. We were treated to an assortment of gourmet appetizers including oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktails, sautéed chicken skewers, calamari, mini cheeseburger “sliders” and free flowing champagne and cocktails. The 400 capacity restaurant/club is styled after the “underground” speakeasies of the 1920’s.

The building that houses this extraordinary nightclub was originally built in 1908 and housed the electrical generators that powered the neighboring area of Los Angeles. The original generators and Boiler Room are still visible within the club, which recently opened in February of this year.  It is fitting that the Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival utilize this facility for their reception since it looks as though it came right out of a Jules Verne novel. If Captain Nemo had designed a nightclub, this is what it would look like.

Jean-Michel Cousteau (pictured with me at the reception) received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jean-Michel is the son of world renowned Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and continues his fathers work to help save our planets oceans. Also present was famed science fiction author Ray Bradbury who gave an eloquent and heart-warming speech toward the end of the evening.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (pictured here with Patrick Stewart looking on), reminisced about his voyages and the future of the NASA Space Program.

For more information on the Festival and how to help “Save Our Planet”, go to the website at www.JVAFF.org.

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