Organizer gives film festival a thumbs-up

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John Palmieri executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and Bill Sokolic, founder and chairman of the Downbeach Film Festival, watch as Robert Downey Sr. cuts the ribbon on the fifth annual Atlantic City Cinefest Friday, Oct. 12 at Showboat Atlantic City.

ATLANTIC CITY – Robert Downey Sr. opened a celebration of cinema here by cutting the ribbon – in this case, a film strip – Friday, Oct. 12.

Downey kicked off the fifth annual Atlantic City Cinefest presented by the Downbeach Film Festival with a screening of his 1969 dark satire, “Putney Swope,” to a crowd of fans Friday at the Orleans Ballroom in Showboat Atlantic City. 

Throughout the weekend Downey was joined by Jersey-born actor Peter Dobson and HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” creator, writer and executive producer Terence Winter.

“It went by in a flash. After 11 months of give and take, planning, and like that it’s over,” said Bill Sokolic of Ventnor, festival founder, chairman and president. “With few exceptions it was a very successful weekend. People were raving about it.”
Sokolic gave kudos to Showboat, the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Caesars Entertainment and Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa for providing accommodations throughout the weekend.

“Without question it was better than the four previous years. I attribute that to the guests we had. For Terry Winter, the auditorium was sold out for the ‘Boardwalk Empire’ screening,” Sokolic said.

He said the highlight of the festival was the filmmakers panel with Winter and Dobson, who were joined by Stefanie Ryan, Tamar Halpern, Gila Zalon and Chris Caldovio, moderated by Ned Eckhardt.

“It was a very lively exchange; it could have gone on for hours,” Sokolic said.

The other was an exchange he had with Downey.

“To have Robert Downey Sr. say at the end of the night ‘I had a really good time; I think I’ll come back’ was great,” Sokolic said.

He said there are countless volunteers who help make the festival possible. Among them, two received the Founder’s Award at the end of the festival: Jill Barlow and Heather Colache.

“This festival would not happen without them. They are responsible for all our printing needs, posters, rack cards, program books, everything that is crucial for the publicity of this festival to running it during the festival,” the founder said. “I can’t say enough about them.”

Sokolic said he got tied up with the submissions of the films and the reviewers, so he didn’t have much time to enjoy the shows, but he said others definitely did.

“It was just a terrific festival. You could judge that just by the smiles on people’s faces,” Sokolic said.  

He said hopefully the festival will bring bigger and better things next year, when the festival returns Oct. 18-20. 

Downbeach Film Festival founder and Chairman Bill Sokolic opens the fifth annual Atlantic City Cinefest with Robert Downey Sr., left, Friday, Oct. 12 at the Orleans Ballroom in Showboat Atlantic City.   Robert Downey Sr. greets patrons Friday, Oct. 12 as they enter the Orleans Ballroom for a screening of his 1969 film “Putney Swope.”   Robert Downey Sr., second from left, meets with Don Berman, Downbeach Film Festival founder Bill Sokolic and board member Barbara Berman, all of Ventnor.


Awards given Sunday, Oct. 14 at Showboat Atlantic City. 

Rowan Award

Socially Awkward

Best Student Film

Angelo

Best South Jersey Feature

Azrael

Best South Jersey Short

The Guys

Best Use of Atlantic City

Murder Eleven

Best New Jersey Feature

The Meat Puppet

Best New Jersey Short

Pandora's Box

Best New Jersey Documentary

Bottled Up: The Legend of Boost!

Best Ensemble cast over 30 minutes

8:46

Best Ensemble cast under 30 minutes

Expulsion

Best Supporting Actor, Short Comedy under 15 minutes

Jorge Luna, Angelo

Best Supporting Actor, Short Comedy over 15 minutes

Charles Rosenay, Kvetch

Best Supporting Actress, Short Comedy 15 minutes and under

Elissa Goldstein, The Replacement

Best Supporting Actress, Short Comedy over 15 minutes

Kate Berman, Kvetch

Best Supporting Actor, Short Drama, 20 minutes or under

Jimmy Brooks, Curveball

Best Supporting Actress, Short Drama 20 minutes or under

Rebecca Lee Lerman, Curveball

Best Supporting Actor, Short Drama over 20 minutes

Christopher Mann, Journey of Herman Stone

Best Supporting Actress, Short Drama over 20 minutes

Bethany Aline, Destined

Best Actor, Short Drama 20 minutes or under

Idris Simon, I Am Man

Best Actor, Short Drama over 20 minutes

Bob Spillman, White Mule

Best Actor, Short Comedy 15 minutes and under

Joe Diomede, Sharp Love, Sharp Kittens

Best Actor, Short Comedy over 15 minutes

Lazarre Simckes, Kvetch

Best Actress, Short Drama 20 minutes or under

Frances Fisher, Pandora's Box

Best Actress, Short Drama over 20 minutes

Sarah Robson, Between the Forest and the Field

Best Actress, Short Comedy under 15 minutes

Sara Barnett, Dark Corner

Best Actress, Short Comedy 15 minutes or over

Rachel McKeon, I Don't Know, Alaska!

Best Director, Short Drama 20 minutes or under

Thomas G. Waites, Pandora's Box

Best Director, Short Drama over 20 minutes

Ben Mehlman, Between the Forest and the Field

Best Director, Short Comedy under 15 minutes

Jana Mattioli, The Replacement

Best Director, Short Comedy under 15 minutes

Bob Pusateri , Dark Corner

Best Director, Short Comedy 15 minutes or over

Austin Kase, Kvetch

Best Short Drama, 20 minutes or less

Curveball

Best Short Drama, over 20 minutes

White Mule

Best Short Comedy, under 15 minutes

Death, Taxes and Apple Juice

Best Short Comedy, 15 minutes or more

Kvetch

Best Supporting Actor, Feature Comedy

Joe Pantoliano, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Best Supporting Actor, Feature Drama

Jeremy Sless, Ticket to Hell

Best Supporting Actress, Feature Comedy

Jessica Clark, A Perfect Ending

Best Supporting Actress, Feature Drama

Geri Reischl, The Meat Puppet

Best Actor, Feature Drama

Chadwick Boseman, The Kill Hole

Best Actor, Feature Drama

Keith Collins, The Meat Puppet

Best Actress, Feature Drama

Julienne Irons, Murder Eleven

Best Actor, Feature Comedy

Maxwell Beer, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Best Actress, Feature Comedy

Barbara Niven, A Perfect Ending

Best Ultra-Short

Marbles

Writer Award, Feature

Jim Klock, Murder Eleven

Writer Award, Short 20 minutes or less

Gila Zalon, Pandora's Box

Writer Award, Short over 20 minutes

Skye Dennis, The Journey of Herman Stone

Best Director, Docudrama

Tony Picciotti, The Guys

Best Director, Documentary Short

Nicole and Dean Greco, Bottled Up: The Legend of Boost!

Best Director, Documentary Feature

Travis Burroughs - Party Chasers

Best Director, Horror Short

Joel Brook, Jack Skyyler, Alex Zinzopoulos - Infested Ship

Best Director, Horror Feature

Keith Vaile, Azrael

Best Director, Feature Drama

Joe Valenti, The Meat Puppet

Best Director, Feature Comedy

Tamar Halpern, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Best Docudrama

8:46

Best Documentary, Short

Line of Departure

Best Documentary, Feature

Gamers

Best Horror Short

Infested Ship

Best Horror Feature

The Meat Puppet

Best Feature, Drama

The Kill Hole

Best Feature, Comedy

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Founder’s Award

Jill Barlow

Founder’s Award

Heather Colache


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