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Crowning The King

Fantasy yarn earns SEFCA honors


The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA), comprised of 45 critics living in nine states (including North Carolina, with three members here in Charlotte), last week named The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King the Best Picture of 2003 in its 12th annual voting. Runners-up for the organization's top prize were Clint Eastwood's Mystic River and Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation.

All three contenders managed to win two awards apiece. In addition to Best Picture, the Tolkien adaptation also earned Best Director honors for Peter Jackson. Mystic River copped awards for Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Brian Helgeland, adapting Dennis Lehane's novel), while Lost In Translation earned honors for Best Actor (Bill Murray) and Best Original Screenplay (Coppola).

In the other acting categories, 21 Grams' Naomi Watts won Best Actress, while Renee Zellweger took the Best Supporting Actress prize for Cold Mountain. Rounding out the list of winners were Brazil's City of God for Best Foreign-Language Film and Capturing the Friedmans for Best Documentary.

Fathers, lock up your indie films: Unknown Hinson has been set loose on Sundance! Charlotte's own redneck vampire singer will perform at this year's Sundance Film Festival, sharing the stage with none other than Tim Robbins. Robbins, billing himself as Gob Roberts, will perform songs from his film Bob Roberts. The show gets underway the night of Sunday, January 18; the festival itself will run from January 15-25.First, Billy Bob Thornton (whose rave about Unknown's musical prowess was widely quoted this past year); now, Tim Robbins. Given these Tinseltown connections, will Hinson soon be stalking starlets on Hollywood Boulevard?

Down the street from Sundance, the annual Slamdance Film Festival will also be going on, unspooling its offerings January 17-24. And like Sundance, a Charlottean will be a part of it -- in this case, it's local filmmaker Curtis Gaston, whose 12-minute piece The Flag Day Parade is one of the 21 titles being screened in the short film competition (there are also separate categories for feature films and documentaries). Gaston's film, which will be screened on the nights of Tuesday, January 20, and Thursday, January 22, centers on a Kings Mountain resident who stages his own mini-parade.

The Light Factory is currently seeking entries for its Project Lovelight Filmmaking Competition. Films must be five minutes in length and must center around the theme of "love" (according to the official rules, it can be about "human love, animal love, unrequited love, love of beer, shoes or other inanimate objects, love for architecture, etc."). Entry fee is $200 per team, and teams may consist of 2-5 people, ages 16 and up. Entry deadline is January 13, and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held February 7 at 8pm at Mythos.The ceremony will be part of a Project Lovelight Film Weekend, which will also include a screening of Shakespeare In Love with its Oscar-winning co-scripter Marc Norman in attendance, and a seminar on how to pitch ideas to Hollywood. For dates, prices and other info on all these events, go online to

A locally produced mockumentary titled Proving the Proof will be screened at 7:30pm Friday, January 16, in Sykes Learning Center at Queens University. A group of area teens have taken a dry documentary called The Proof and spiced it up with their own innovative ideas. Tickets to the screening cost $5; seating is limited. For more information, call 704-606-3808.

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