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BMA Winners Announced at 2009 Midwest Independent Film Festival

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CHICAGO – The 2009 Best of the Midwest Awards were given out on Tuesday night, part of a huge celebratory event at the Rockit Bar and Grill in downtown Chicago, capping another successful year at the Midwest Independent Film Festival.

Festival Director Mike McNamara was the Master of Ceremonies, giving out nine awards for the best of the 2009 season. The Midwest Independent Film Festival convenes EVERY first Tuesday of the month throughout the year, and showcases films directly associated with the Midwest area.

Best Feature Winner ‘The Merry Gentleman.’ Left to Right – Producers Steven A. Jones and Paul Duggan, Exec Producer Tom Bastounes, Midwest Indie Festival Director Mike McNamara at the BMAs in Chicago, December 1st, 2009.
Best Feature Winner ‘The Merry Gentleman.’ Left to Right – Producers Steven A. Jones and Paul Duggan, Exec Producer Tom Bastounes, Midwest Indie Festival Director Mike McNamara at the BMAs in Chicago, December 1st, 2009.
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for HollywoodChicago.com

Local Chicago legends Richard Roeper and Erich “Mancow” Muller hilariously roasted each other as part of the presentations, special guests included Armand Assante, John McNaughton (director of “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”) and up for a director’s award, actress Lori Petty of “A League of Their Own.”

Winning Best Feature Film was “The Merry Gentleman,” a based-in-Chicago character study directed by Michael Keaton.

The 2009 Best of the Midwest Award Winners are as followed….

Best Music Video
Presenter: Mancow Muller, Radio Personality
WInner: Mustache Ride, directed by Michael Starcevich for Men of Movember

COMMENT: A brilliant music video trip about Men with ‘Staches, done in conjunction with the Men of Movember, a Prostrate Cancer awareness movement.

Best Short Film
Presenter: Betsy Steinberg, Director, Illinois Film Office
Winner: An Evening with Emery Long, directed by Brad DeMarea

COMMENT: Two significant shorts programs were part of the Midwest Indie in ‘09. Short films are getting much more attention in the age of the internet.

Director Michael Starcevich Accepts the Best Music Video BMA
Director Michael Starcevich Accepts the Best Music Video BMA
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for HollywoodChicago.com

Best Editing
Presenter: Mitch Apley, Executive Producer, Resolution Digital Studios
Winner: Sharon Zurek, Hannah Free

COMMENT: Hannah Free was a passionate, personal film that was one of the highlights of the ‘09 features.

Best Actress
Presenter: Kim Williams, Casting Director, O’Connor Casting
Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, The Poker House

COMMENT: Jennifer Lawrence was the centerpiece character who explored all the difficult and frenetic circumstances in Lori Petty’s The Poker House.
Best Cinematography
Presenter: Peter Gilbert, DP/Producer, Hoop Dreams
Winner: Pete Biagi, Sugar

COMMENT: Sugar is simply a beautifully shot short film (and very funny), showing off some of the great cityscape assets of Chicago.

Best Actor
Presenter: Christian Stolte, Actor, Law Abiding Citizen
Winner: Tom Bastounes, The Merry Gentleman

COMMENT: Tom Bastounes was simply marvelous as the subtle, conflicted police officer in the Michael Keaton directed The Merry Gentleman.

Best Screenplay
Presenter: Hank Sartin, Chief Film Critic, Time Out Chicago
Winner: Ron Lazzeretti, The Merry Gentleman 

COMMENT: It starts with the script and Lazzeretti’s was powerful and moving.

Best Director
Presenter: John McNaughton, Director, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Lori Petty, The Poker House

COMMENT: Lori Petty, a familiar performer in such films as “Tank Girl” and “A League of Their Own,” makes her directorial debut in The Poker House, and her passion for the effort takes home the award.

Best Feature
Presenter: Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
The Merry Gentleman, directed by Michael Keaton

COMMENT: The Merry Gentleman is a challenging and transcendent independent film, showing off some great Chicago locations and the acting/directing talent of the essential Michael Keaton. A proud top winner for the Midwest Independent Film Festival.

The Midwest Independent Film Festival kicks off again on the first Tuesday of February (02/02/10). Click here for details about the festival and how you can participate in what Chicago Magazine called “the place to be and be seen for veteran pros and up-and-comers.”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2009 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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