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"Game" and "Signals" Take Top Honors At Inaugural San Diego World Film Festival
by Michael Wechsler and Richard Keefe
The first San Diego World Film Festival wrapped on June 11th after ten days of screening over 80 independent, studio and foreign films. As befitted a festival with an Honorary Advisory Board that included both independent director John Sayles and Sony Pictures CEO John Calley, the Festival was an eclectic blend of indie films and special advance screenings of studio product (such as "The Truman Show"). According to Festival Director Jo Moulton, "We wanted to come up with a festival format that was unique, that recognized talent of all types and brought them together, without distinguishing between the A and B list. At our awards gala, we had one table with student directors, low-budget feature directors and the legendary John Frankenheimer all sitting together."

Winning the Audience Award for Best Independent Feature was Chris ver Wiel's lyrical life/death allegory, "The Waiting Game." Chris Eyre's "Smoke Signals" took top jury honors, receiving awards for Best Actor, Screenplay, Director and American Independent Feature. Tony Gatlif's "Gadjo Dilo" won for Best Foreign Film while a special jury award was given to Phillipe De Broca's "En Garde" as well as Andres Heinz's "Origin of the Species." Corky Quackenbush's "Reinfather" won for Best Short while Rick Wilkinson's "A Short Wait Between Trains" and Patrick Yu's "A Spider's Thread" tied for Best Student Film. Val Keller's "Winged" won the audience award for Best Student Film while David Deblinger's "The Callback" won the audience award for best short.