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CineFest offers interactive events

Anybody even mildly interested in cinema and the art of movie-making should consider attending Philadelphia CineFest. This annual film festival, organized by the TLA Entertainment Group, will feature roughly 250 films being shown at various venues in the Philadelphia area. Starting March 26, CineFest, “a true cinematic orgy for ravenous Film-Lovers” will run through April 6.

While Hollywood may trump Philadelphia as the more cinematic city, the City of Brotherly Love plays host to this annual event which has grown into one of the premiere film festivals on the East Coast.

Showcasing films from more than 50 countries, this year’s CineFest will feature films from almost every genre conceivable. These films are separated into categories that include African-American themes, American independents, French cinema, films of the Muslim world and documentaries to name a few. Also, many filmmakers with local ties will be on hand showing their work.

CineFest is not all about glitz and glamour, as films are submitted by everyone from Hollywood heavyweights to obscure filmmakers trying to make a name for themselves. The “Centerpiece” screenings of CineFest include The Answer Man starring Jeff Daniels, Hunger, The Hurt Locker, Moon and The Rock Prophecies.

One screening that is guaranteed to garner much attention locally is The Perfect Season. Directed by Dan Stephenson, this documentary chronicles the Phillies’ run to the 2008 World Series championship and is narrated by closer Brad Lidge.

The film screenings will take place at seven different venues throughout the Philadelphia area, including The Bridge, Cinema De Lux, The Ritz East, The Ritz 5, The Prince, International House, Bryn Mawr Film Institute and WHYY Studios.

With the film reels rolling, CineFest will provide other interactive film-related programs as well. The opening night consisted of a screening of 500 Days of Summer, and was followed by a party at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

There will also be two filmmaker panel sessions, which will mainly focus on Philadelphia documentaries and film-making aesthetics. Panelists will include prominent filmmakers within the respective genres, and they will answer questions providing insight on the film-making process.

The “Set in Philadelphia” events are free and open to the public. Within this event, visitors may attend workshops on how to write compelling dialogue for screenplays. “Philly Pitch” will offer several lucky filmmakers the chance to pitch a movie to panel of industry insiders. The screenwriting competition also takes place within the “Set in Philadelphia” events. There will be three grand prizes awarded for screenplays. The first prize of $10,000 is for overall best screenplay, second prize is $2,500 and goes to the best screenplay written by a greater Philadelphian, the final prize of $1,000 named for Irene I Parisi is given to the best screenplay written by someone 25 years or younger.

Also, the CineFest will honor several individuals for their artistic achievement. Alfre Woodard will receive the Fade to Black Quest award for her achievement in dramatic roles that addresses significant issues. Jeff Daniels will receive the Artistic Achievement award for his 30 years of overall greatness in the movie industry. Lastly, the Quay brothers will be honored with the Vision Award for their achievement in animation and short films. Their ceremony will go in conjunction with a special exhibition called Dormitorium, Film “Decours.” This exhibition will showcase 11 original film sets from some of the Quay brothers’ puppet animation films. This will be the first time the Decours are shown in the United States.

So if you are an avid filmgoer, the CineFest will be nothing less than stimulating and entertaining. With its vast array of films and interactive programs the Cinefest will offer the ultimate filmmaking experience. For more information visit

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