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Tuesday, November 4, 2008


November 4, 2008 - New York, NY –CMJ Film Festival, the cinema division of the annual CMJ Music Marathon, marked its 15th year by hosting its first Cinemini Short Film Contest last week during the festival. The festival has grown to become a leading event among tastemaker movie fans, hosting over a decade of premieres and advance screenings.

In search of the freshest new voices, the CMJ Film Festival launched the inaugural CMJ Cinemini Short Film Contest. Narrowing the field of entries down to six short narrative and six documentary films, the Cinemini’s competition awarded two grand prizes in each category. The winners received a prize package with essentials for their next shoot from partners Avid, JVC, Media Services, Manhattan Edit Workshop, and Tekserve.

I Met The Walrus, written and directed by Josh Raskin, won for short narrative film. The film is an animated illustration of a 14-year-old's interview with John Lennon in 1969. “I'd like to thank CMJ for this massive honor. I'd also like to thank John Lennon,” commented Raskin.

In Bed With A Mosquito, winner for documentary, was directed by Sarah Frank. The film is an intimate portrait of activism and aging in New York City focusing on the life of Betty Brassell, a 78-year-old anti-war activist living in Manhattan's Lower East Side. “It was a total joy making this film with Betty, and I was thrilled that she could finally see it on a big screen,” stated Frank. “Being a part of the CMJ festival in the heart of the city … was truly an honor.”

Legendary film producer David Picker (The Jerk, The Crucible, A Hard Day’s Night) chaired the narrative jury alongside Emmy winning documentarian Mark Marabella (FBI Files, Grounded on 9/11) who chaired the documentary jury.

They were joined by Producer Lydia Dean Pilcher (Darjeeling Limited); feature film producer Brian Peter Falk (The Loomis Gang, Embassy Row Pictures); Vice President, Non Fiction and Alternative Programming for A&E Elaine Frontain Bryant; documentary and feature film Executive Producer John Schwally (Frontline, Dateline NBC, Nature); Executive in Charge of Production for BBC Shirley Escott; and international documentary producer Tanja Medding (Sally Gross: the pleasure of stillness, The Gates).

“I am extremely proud of the winners selected for this year's CineMini Short Film Contest,” said CMJ Film Festival Director, Rachel Klein“It was a very difficult decision for the jury as we had six tremendous documentary and six amazing narrative finalists. The general feel of excitement in the room during the screenings and impressive winning films made for a fantastic launch to the CMJ CineMini Short Films Contest.”

This year’s CMJ Film Festival also included several New York City premieres such as Kevin Smith’s new film, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Johnny Cash: Live at Folsom Prison, American Swing, and the US premiere of AC/DC: No Bull. The film festival also featured independent films What About Me?, Pressure Cooker, and Israeli film For My Father.

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