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Gala gives crafts, town their due

Industry reps selects above-the-line H'wood honorees

Unlike its more competitive and political brethren, the Hollywood Movie Awards is a simple celebration of filmmaking.

Tonight’s seventh annual awards gala at the Beverly Hilton caps the five-day Hollywood Film Festival with a roster of celebrity presenters handing out honors for the event’s top entries, fan-voted honors and 16 lifetime achievement kudos that honor all the filmmaking disciplines.

Producer Paula Wagner, chairwoman and partner in Cruise/Wagner Films, serves on this year’s advisory committee.

A panel of industry reps selects the above-the-line honorees, while the respective craft guilds choose which of their members to honor.

“While our members are recognized in the guild’s awards and other awards ceremonies, the Hollywood Awards are another place that give visibility to our craft,” says Scott Roth, exec director of the Art Directors Guild.

“There are a lot of talented people who have never won an Oscar or other award but deserve to be recognized,” says festival founder Carlos de Abreu.

“We aren’t competing with other festivals or awards shows because each one has its own mission, but the Hollywood Film Festival is different because we’re the only one that honors all of the disciplines involved in cinema, from producers to cinematographers to casting.”

The result has been a more relaxed gala event known for bringing out the stars in droves.

When de Abreu created the festival and awards, he was excited about Hollywood’s efforts to polish its image and believed a festival held in the capital of filmmaking not only made sense but would be good public relations and a way to capitalize on the energy of the area today.

“I’ve watched the city go through many transitions and it’s starting to be vibrant again,” says Wagner. “There’s so much potential in Hollywood and that’s reflected in the Hollywood Film Festival.”

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