The Nashville Film Festival has announced the winners of its jury awards after an opening weekend that included a two-theater sellout of "500 Days of Summer," a sellout of William Shatner's "Gonzo Ballet," and appearances by Shatner, Sheryl Crow, Hal Holbrook and many other celebritites.

"We normally wait until the end of the Festival to announce awards, but because we know the jury winners, we thought it best to present the awards to the film makers while they were still here and during their screenings, so audience members could join in congratulating them," said NaFF Executive Director Sallie Mayne.

The festival runs until Thursday, April 23, with several additional screenings, including several of the award winning films.

The Deagols Brothers' "Make-out With Violence," shot in around Nashville, has won three awards, including the major Narrative Feature award, the Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award. It has also won the Best Music In A Feature Film, given to The Non-Commissioned Officers, and the Tennessee Independent Spirit Award for a Feature Length Film. 

The Best Feature Documentary went to Yulene Olaizola's "Shakespear and Victor Hugo's Intimacies." Several special Jury prizes have also been announced, including the Special Jury Prize for Cinematography (Seamus Tierney, "The Narrows"); Special Jury Prize for Acting Ensemble (The Cast of "Children of Invention"); Special Jury Prize for Acting (Vincent D'Onofrio, "The Narrows"); Special Jury Prize for Experimental Narrative (Antonio Campos, "Afterschool"); and Special Jury Prize for Bravery in Storytelling (Kimberly Reed, "Prodigal Sons").

The Nashville Film Festival 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Hal Holbrook before the screening of his film "That Evening Sun" on Saturday night, April 19. He also accepted the Governor's Award on behalf of his wife Dixie Carter. The 2009 President's Impact Award, in the form a Gibson guitar hand-painted by artist Mandy Lawson, was given to Shatner by NaFF board president Stacy Widelitz and Gibson CEO Henry Juskiewicz. The REEL Current Award, chosen by Al Gore for a film that provides extraordinary insight in a contemporary global issue, was given to Mai Iskander, for "Garbage Dreams."


The Nashville Film Festival is being held at Regal Green Hills Cinemas and ends with a retrospective 40th anniversary screening of "Easy Rider" and a party at the Cannery Ballroom.

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This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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