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Charlotte's Oscar Winners

Plus, details about this year's Full Frame Fest


Is there anything more dull than the Academy when it gets into its "sweep" mentality? The Last Emperor, The English Patient, Titanic. . . regardless of what one thinks of these films, a complete domination of the ceremony usually means a lackluster night in front of the TV. And between The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King going 11-for-11 (what, were no other movies released in 2003?) and the acting front-runners winning in all categories, this was one disappointing Oscar telecast.

Still, such an obvious evening helped out the Oscar prognosticators. In the main categories, I went 7-for-8 and would have been perfect had I not relegated supporting actor favorite Tim Robbins to my second slot behind Djimon Hounsou (I figured there had to be an upset hiding somewhere; I figured wrong).

As for CL's own Oscar competition, co-sponsored by AMC Theatres (who provided prize passes good at the Carolina Pavilion and Concord Mills theaters), 46 readers ended up going 10-for-10 in filling out the multiple-choice ballot, and a random drawing determined the winners. Karen Surprise won First Place, Diane Warner scored in Second Place, and Matt Hough landed in Third Place. Congrats to the winners, and let's all hope next year's Oscar telecast provides a bit more drama and excitement.

The best way to examine this year's Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is to perhaps break it down by numbers: 700 (number of movies initially screened by festival organizers); 97 (the total number of films actually being shown); 67 (number of films in competition); 51 (number of works making their premieres, either stateside, globally or somewhere in between); 21 (the number of first-time filmmakers). And the most important number? One, as in the fact that this is the largest and most respected festival of its type anywhere in the United States.Held (as always) in Durham, this year's event will take place April 1-4. Elaine Stritch at Liberty, a look at the actress's one-woman Broadway show, will open the festival, while other highlights will include an evening with Harry Shearer (A Mighty Wind, The Simpsons), the 2004 Career Award presentation to Marcel Ophuls (who will be in attendance), and films shown under this year's theme of "Hybrid," movies that walk the line between fact and fiction. Among the works being presented in this last category are Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, Agnes Varda's The Gleaners and I, and Andy Warhol Screen Tests.

And that's just scratching the surface. Author and Full Frame board member Walter Mosley will present a new award he created, "Exposing the Seeds of War" (given to a filmmaker whose movie best examines global conflicts and the lives of the people most affected), and there will be a "sidebar" series devoted to pieces about Southern politicians, including Ken Burns' Huey Long and David Grubin's LBJ.

For complete details, go online to, or call 919-687-4100.

The Full Frame event isn't the only regional festival being held in the near future. For starters, there's the RiverRun International Film Festival, which will be held in Winston-Salem April 22-25. The most prominent of the movies that will be screened over the four-day period is Two Soldiers, which earned the Oscar last week for Best Live Action Short. The film, based on a William Faulkner short story, was filmed entirely in the Piedmont Triad area, and director Aaron Schneider (the guy whose rambling speech at the Oscars was cut short by the swelling orchestra music) and co-producer Andrew J. Sacks will be in attendance. The festival will also feature seminars, workshops and networking opportunities. For more information, go online to, or call 336-724-1502.

Another upcoming Carolina fest is the Colored Pictures Short Film Festival, which will take place July 10-11 in Durham. Submissions are still being accepted for this event, which focuses on movies made by filmmakers of color. Deadline for entries is May 15. For complete details, go online to, or e-mail

Finally, for those up for a lengthy road trip, there's the 2004 South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival, which will unspool March 12-20 in Austin, TX. One of the largest and most respected film events in the country, the fest will include screenings of over 170 movies, numerous film conference panels, and a lecture by director John Landis. Among the films being showcased are Lars von Trier's eagerly awaited Dogville, starring Nicole Kidman, Code 46, a futuristic love story with newly crowned Oscar winner Tim Robbins and Oscar nominee Samantha Morton, and the world premiere of Bush's Brain, a documentary on Karl Rove. For more information, go online to, or call 512-467-7979.

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