15 May, 2007 (Monte-Carlo, Monaco) – The First International Emerging Talent Film Festival wrapped up on Tuesday night, 15 May, at Monte-Carlo’s Grimaldi Forum, with a Special Advance screening of Paul Freedman’s film on the travesty in Darfur, SAND AND SORROW, narrated by George Clooney, and the presentation of the Festival’s Juried Competition Wing Awards.

The Festival’s Gala Closing Night Party followed the screening and awards presentation, held in the beautiful rooftop space, Karément, set atop the Grimaldi Forum with breathtaking views of Monte Carlo.

The Wing Awards were introduced by the Festival’s Producer, Mitch Levine, and IETFF’s Founders, Max Ryerson, Noriko Bonafede and Marco Orsini. They were hosted by Oscar-nominated Actress and IETFF Jury President Jennifer Tilly, and presented by Hidetoshi Nakata, one of the world’s greatest football (soccer) player’s, Charlotte Bobcats NBA star, Emeka Okafor (both of whom were in town to support the Festival as well as their joint mutual causes of saving the children of Africa and the world), Bird Runningwater from the Sundance Film Festival and Jury members, director Leon Ichaso (“El Cantante,” “Piñero”) and producer Ikuro Takana (“Battle Royale”). The Festival’s Inspiration Award was presented by Matthias Bruan, Senior Vice President for North America for Audi AG, the IETFF’s Closing Night Sponsor.

With a trophy depicting wings of flight, designed by World renowned artist/hat-designer David Shilling, the Wing Awards Juried Competition is the true symbol of the festival’s aspirations. In their first year, The Wing Awards were bestowed upon the Festival’s winners in the following categories: Best Cinematography • Best Directorial Effort (feature) • Best Directorial Effort (short) • Best Film (feature) • Best Film (short) • Best Actor • Best Actress.

2007 IETFF WING AWARD for Best Feature Film was presented to: SATANÁS, Directed by Andres Bais (Columbia/Mexico).

2007 IETFF WING AWARD for Best Short Film was presented to: CRICKET HEAD, Directed by Grant Greenberg (USA/South Africa).

2007 IETFF WING AWARD for Best Directorial Effort (Feature) was presented to: TAI-SIK KIM for DRIVING WITH MY WIFE’S LOVER (Korea).

2007 IETFF WING AWARD for Best Directorial Effort (Short) was presented to: LILY COATES for THE CAT AND CLAUDIA (Australia).

2007 IETFF WING AWARD for Best Actress was presented to: CATHY CURTIN for CRICKET HEAD (USA/South Africa).

2007 IETFF WING AWARD FOR Best Actor was a tie, and was presented to DAMIAN ALCAZAR for SATANÁS (Columbia/Mexico) and KWANG-JUNG PARK for DRIVING WITH MY WIFE’S LOVER (Korea).

2007 IETFF WING AWARD for Best Cinematography was presented to: SUN-BON JANG for DRIVING WITH MY WIFE’S LOVER (Korea).

The IETFF is adding a special tribute along with its jury awards which speaks directly to the power of film – as not only something which can engage us with compelling stories – but which can also serve as a gateway to understanding new experiences and points of view. The organization believes it is important for those in the artistic and entertainment communities to actively engage in the world and its social and political challenges. It is in this spirit that IETFF is establishing its Inspiration Award to recognize the achievements of an individual whose exemplary work in film has brought to the screen stories that enable audiences to experience life through a lens different from our own – and that exemplify the transformative power of cinema to promulgate change.

2007 IETFF Inspiration Award was presented to: SAND AND SORROW Director, Paul Freedman.

Embracing innovative and environment friendly technologies, all the screenings during the IETFF were digitally provided by its official partner, UFO Europe. All movies and short films were digitally mastered and encrypted to play through the UFO servers and the custom made Digital Projection Cinema projectors, thus offering the audience High Definition Digital Cinema screenings. UFO Europe is rolling out its satellite driven network throughout Europe in selected theaters.

The First International Emerging Talent Film Festival kicked off in Monaco on Sunday, 13 May 2007, and ran through 15 May. Held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte-Carlo, the Festival presented 22 films from emerging filmmakers from 20 countries in its Official Competition. All features are by first time directors and none have distribution. Amongst the eleven features, there were three world premieres, three European premieres and two French premieres. Highlights of the Festival included its Global Film Program, Official Competition and the Global Film Expression Program.

In collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Festival was a "Green” event. Through the use of the Festival’s forums and programs, filmmakers, studio executives, distributors, government leaders, and audiences will be educated on ecologically sound life practices and on environmentally responsible film production techniques. Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist for the NRDC was on hand to lead a conversation on “Safeguarding the Earth: What We Can Do.”

The Festival began on Sunday with films all day culminating with the Opening Night presentation of the European Premiere of Thom Fitzgerald’s three paneled look at the world’s AIDS crises, 3 NEEDLES, with Director Fitzgerald in town. Earlier in the day the IETFF presented the World Premiere of Douglas Horn’s comedy ENTRY LEVEL with stars Missi Pyle and Taylor Negron attending. There was a terrific panel, “Everything You Wanted To Know About Films But Were Afraid To Ask,” with panelists such as Debbie Zimmerman (Women Make Films), Effie Brown (Producer), Bird Runningwater (Sundance Programmer), Tracey Bing (Film Executive), Sydney Levine (Film Finders/Without A Box), Tricia Van Klaveren (Producer), Effie Brown (Producer), and Kathleen McInnis (Educator and Palm Springs Festival programmer). The day capped off with a rollicking party overlooking the Harbor at the Fashion TV Bar.

An amazing and heart-wrenching experience opened the second day of the event. Invisible Children is a 55-minute film shot by three USC grads on a visit to Uganda. It has sparked a worldwide movement. The mission of Invisible Children is to improve the quality of life for war-affected children in Uganda. One of the trio of young filmmakers, Bobby Bailey, flew in from San Diego and spent an unbelievable time talking with hundreds of children & teachers from the International School of Monaco, as well as the many tear-streaked audience members, about the children of war-torn Uganda, their survival, the future, and how the children of the world can help each other. The rest of Monday found the Festival continuing smoothly with films, panels – including all the IETFF Filmmakers in a roundtable discussion on “How I Made A Movie And Found Myself In Monte Carlo.” Later the entire group of Filmmakers were feted to a five-course meal on the beach, followed by a casual bash at the Black Diamond nightclub.

The Festival’s Closing Day dawned with a breakfast for the Dignitaries and Diplomats in town for the Global Film Expression program. Beginning the first year in Ethiopia, the Global Film Expression will provide both opportunity and education to those who lack the resources for cinematic expression. Focusing on impoverished and oppressed regions of the world, the IETFF (in collaboration with other partners and NGO’s) will dispatch filmmakers and educators to conduct hands-on outreach. At each annual IETFF in May, films produced as a result of the Global Film Expression will be screened and then made available to audiences worldwide. Among the attendees were the Ambassador of Ethiopia, Tadelech Haile-Mikael; Metaferia Befekadu, Ethiopian economic counselor; Afolabi Adesanya, Director of the Nigerian Film Commission; Slobodan Despotovski, Vice-Minister of Culture of Macedonia; Boris Josifoski, Secretary General of Macedonia and Dejan Iliev, Director of Macedonian Film Association.

Films were running all day long, with panels on “Financing Films in the Global Marketplace” and, in addition to the advance screening of SAND AND SORROW, a panel on “Crisis in Darfur – Cinema Responds.” Panelists included director Paul Freedman, best-selling author John Prendergast (who co-penned “Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond” with actor Don Cheadle), and Ragnhild Ek of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR).

Following the presentation of the WING AWARDS, a unique international campaign was launched to raise funds for Darfur. The 'Blood on Our Hands' art campaign will work with ten of the world's leading artists over the coming months, to collect handprints – imprinted on the artists’ paintings – from those who are now taking action to end this terrible tragedy: artists, politicians, actors, royals, human rights activists. The 'Blood on Our Hands' art pieces will show in an exhibition later in 2007 and then be auctioned. The aim is to raise over $1.5 million through the campaign. Hidetoshi Nakata, Emeka Okafor, Paul Freedman, John Prendergast all came onstage to place their red-paint hand prints onto a painting that is being created by leading British contemporary artist Sacha Jafri of a haunting image of an empty expanse of nothing but the burned out huts of the hundreds of thousands of villagers who have either been ousted from their homes or murdered. The campaign now moves to Cannes where it continues with the celebrities and dignitaries attending that other Cote D’Azur festival.

Following the Awards and the “Blood on Our Hands” event, the Closing Night audience was treated to, and incredibly moved by, the special screening of SAND AND SORROW. Then everyone filed up to the rooftop garden restaurant, Karément, at the Grimaldi Forum for a festive and fun Closing Night Gala.

The mission of the annual INTERNATIONAL EMERGING TALENT FILM FESTIVAL is to discover and promote promising cinema talent, to encourage dialogue between filmmakers, to promote cultural diversity and international understanding and to engage the art of cinema. The IETFF is particularly interested in discovering filmmaking talent from developing and underdeveloped regions of the globe. The IETFF difference – distinguishing it from other events – is its mandate: to connect new and talented up-and-coming filmmakers with individuals from the entertainment community.