2008 Beverly Hills Film Festival - founded in 2001 by award-winning independent filmmaker Nino Simone

Brett Ratner presents Phil Stern with 1st Annual Living Legends Award at the 8th Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF) closing Gala Awards ceremony. The first annual BHFF Living Legends Award was presented to legendary photojournalist and Hollywood photographer Phil Stern by producer/director Brett Ratner (director of “Rush Hour” franchise).

The event, which was held on Sunday night, April 13, 2008, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, was attended by over 200 independent filmmakers, as well as city notables and industry VIPs.

The pulp crime drama “ Bad Guys,” directed by Rick Jacobson captured three awards, including the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film, Best Producer and Best Actor.  “ Hole in the Paper Sky” from Bill Purple and starring Jessica Biel (also a producer), won the Audience Award for Best Short Film and Best Screenplay.  The Golden Palm Award (best film in all categories) went to “ Woman," directed by Ziad Hamzeh.

Best Actress went to Andrea Melton for “Time, " which she co-directed, and Best Actor went to Sherman Augustus for his role in “Bad Guys."

The five-day festival—featuring premieres, parties and panels—kicked-off  Wednesday, April 9th with an Opening Night red carpet event at the Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills, featuring World Premieres of  “Bad Guys” and 'Ondamax Films’ “Thunder Man: The Don Aronow Story,” directed by Andrew Wainrib and narrated by Andy Garcia

Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman came out to support the West Coast Premiere of producer Polly Walter’s “Cat Dragged In,” directed by Nils Tim, and “Hole in the Paper Sky” also had its West Coast Premiere.  Sponsors included GQ magazine, Mercedes-Benz and Proximity by Axe.

Best actor Sherman Augustus for "Bad Guys" and best actress Andrea Melton for "Time," which she co-directed

Ratner recounted one of the first times he met the famed photographer.  Stern showed up to Ratner’s “Rush Hour” set while Jackie Chan was dangling from a building.  The four shots that Stern took on that day are among some of Ratner’s most prized possessions.

UK Socialite Kirsten Lea with actor Joe Anderson ("The Ruins," "Across the Universe")

Ratner said, “When I saw Phil Stern walking towards my set with a camera around his neck, it was like seeing Picasso coming to the set with a paintbrush.”

KCBS-TV's Christina McLarty interviewing Living Legends recipient Phil Stern

Ratner also commented on Stern’s mission to promote the hazards of smoking, as most of his own peers died from its effects, and Stern himself is suffering from emphysema.  Stern walked the red carpet on Opening Night for the first time in his 88 years, accompanied by past BHFF award-winning filmmaker Hector Cruz Sandoval (“Kordavision”).  The filmmakers are currently in production on a documentary about Stern’s life titled, “Hollywood Big Shot.”

Danny Masterson of "That 70s Show" and "The Art of Travel (BHFF official selection) and festival founder Nino Simone

Stern said, “My own life seems like fiction.”  He was also honored with a special proclamation from the City of Los Angeles, presented by L.A. Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who praised Stern for his body of work and for capturing history as a combat photographer.  LaBonge also presented a proclamation to festival founder Nino Simone for his inspired vision of the Beverly Hills Film Festival.
The cover of last week’s People magazine featured a color photo of Charlton Heston that Stern says he took half a century ago.

The annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival was founded in 2001 by award-winning independent filmmaker Nino Simone.  The event 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 GQ Magazine, Mercedes-Benz, Proximity by AXE, Imperia Vodka, Heineken, Digital Evolution, Mosaic Hotel, The Crescent Hotel and Rande Gerbers’s Stone Rose Lounge.


2008 Beverly Hills Film Festival Awards

The Golden Palm Award
(best film in all categories) went to “Woman” (World Premiere), directed by Ziad Hamzeh.

Best Actress went to Andrea Melton for “Time” (World Premiere), which she co-directed with Don Lawrence.

Best Actor went to Sherman Augustus for his role in “Bad Guys,” directed by Rick Jacobson.

Best Director went to Justin Lerner for “ The Replacement Child.

Best Producer went to Frederico Lapenda for “Bad Guys.”

Best Foreign Film went to the Brazlian feature, “Drained” from writer/director Heitor Dhalia.

Best Cinematography went to the short “Terres Noires,” by director Clement Gharin.

Best Editing went to “Persona” from writer/director Pac Arias.

Best Animation went to the CG short “PK-Granny” from director/producer Jo Meuris.

Best Screenplay went to writers Howard Kingkade and Bill Purple for the short film “Hole in the Paper Sky,” starring and produced by Jessica Biel.

The first annual ACE Award (Advancement of Creative Expression) was presented by Digital Evolution to the founders of MySpace.com.


Best Short Film
went to “Hole in the Paper Sky,” directed by Bill Purple, and starring and produced by Jessica Biel.

Best Documentary went to “Red Hot Chili Peppers: A Dutch Connection” (World Premiere), directed by Bram van Splunteren.

Best Feature Film went to “Bad Guys,” directed Rick Jacobson.


Best Feature Film went to  “Shake Hands with the Devil” (LA Premiere), by director Roger Spottiswoode.

Best Documentary went to “Thunder Man: The Don Aronow Story” (World Premiere), from director Andrew Wainrib.

Best Short Film went to “The Replacement Child,” from writer/director Justin Lerner.


The Golden Palm Screenplay Competition Award went to Natashia Sanders for “The Spinning Wheel.”  First runner-up is James Oliveros White for “Butterbean” and second runner-up is Eduardo Barraza for “Arcangel."

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