Craig Brewer goes with his 'Flow'

The Hollywood Awards and attendant Hollywood Film Festival are only nine years old, but already they have a sentimental favorite.

Craig Brewer’s “The Poor and Hungry,” made for $20,000, won the digital feature award in 2000, and now his $2.8 million “Hustle & Flow” has been nommed for the picture kudo in the company of such megabudget pics as “Star Wars III” and “War of the Worlds.”

“I owe my career to the Hollywood Film Festival,” says Brewer, who is at work in Memphis, Tenn., shooting his next feature, “Black Snake Moan,” with Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci.

It’s not a very long way from “P&H” to “H&F” to “BSR.” Brewer’s first feature was seen at the fest, good reviews followed, as did the Hollywood Award for digital feature. IFC then bought “The Poor and Hungry” for broadcast.

“It was a perfect demo tape,” says Brewer. Eventually, John Singleton and Stephanie Allain saw the film, and came aboard as producers on “Hustle & Flow” and “Black Snake Moan.”

After doing “P&H” for $20,000, the $13 million on “BSM” doesn’t exactly put Brewer in the territory of Lucas or Spielberg. But he’s getting there. “You never have enough money or time, ” he says, “but now I do have a little bit more confidence with how things will eventually turn out.”

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