As our Saturday night screening of Paradise Recovered came to an end at the 2011 deadCENTER Film Festival, we were a bit surprised by how insistent the volunteers were that we get over to the awards ceremony that was about to start. Could this mean we were going to win some kind of award? We tried to put it out of our minds as we hurried to get there, believing always that it’s better to keep your expectations low that you might be pleasantly surprised.
As they began to hand out awards, our hopes piqued again. Maybe we won this one? Maybe that one? No. Okay. As the number of awards dwindled, so did our hopes. Until there was only one trophy left on the podium. Surely we didn’t win the grand prize? And then they said it, “The winner of the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature sponsored by Devon Energy is… Paradise Recovered!”
Holy crap. Seriously. We were thrilled. We were more than thrilled. We were shocked.
What made it even more amazing and unbelieveable was that the jury for the 2011 deadCENTER Film Festival was made up of some filmmakers we really respect. The jury was headed up by Nick Casevettes, director of She’s So Lovely, John Q and The Notebook among other films. Also on the jury was Oklahoma filmmaker Sterlin Harjo who Directed the hit indie film, Barking Water, which played at Sundance and is now in distribution. Other jurors included Costume Designer Lynette Meyer (Lakeview Terrace, Nurse Betty), and Oklahoma documentary filmmaker Brad Beasley (Okie Noodling). Pretty great jury, right?
All in all, the 2011 deadCENTER Film Festival was one of our favorite fests so far. And that was before we won the Grand Jury award. deadCENTER is run by a great group of people who put on a festival that is fun, accessible, organized, well attended and full of terrific films. The Comedy Shorts program was my favorite screening, but a close close second was the amazing documentary Jens Pulver: DRIVEN. And there were other great films that I didn’t have time to see like the amazingly funny S&M Lawncare by my new friends at Singletree Productions.
Congratulations to the other award winners and to all the filmmakers who took part in deadCENTER this year. And a huge thanks to deadCENTER staff members Lance McDaniel, Kim Haywood, Kevin Ely, Ian Peterson and to all the volunteers that made the 2011 deadCENTER Film Festival possible and amazing. I can’t wait for deadCENTER 2012!