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‘How to Make Money ‘ Wins Champs-Elysees Prize

Nine U.S. indie pix competed at fest

PARIS — Matthew Cooke’s docu feature “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” nabbed the audience nod at the second edition of the Champs-Elysees film festival during a Paris ceremony hosted by fest topper Sophie Dulac.

Featuring interviews with Woody Harrelson, Eminem, 50 Cent and Susan Sarandon, the doc explores the drug industry and the war on drugs in the U.S. Tribeca Film bowed the title Stateside on VOD on June 18 and will release it theatrically starting on June 26.

Pic was one of the nine competing U.S. indie films. These included Jocelyn Towne’s “I Am I,” Sean Garrity’s “Blood Pressure,” Daniel Patrick Carbone’s “Hide Your Smiling Faces,” Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now,” Vincent Grashaw’s “Coldwater,” Steven Bernstein’s “Decoding Annie Parker,” Eliza Hittman’s “It Felt Like Love” and Stuart Blumberg’s “Thanks for Sharing.”

Penny Dreadful,” directed by Shane Atkinson from Columbia University School of the Arts, nabbed the audience nod for best short. The black comedy turns on a kidnapping gone wrong. It played at Palme Springs Intl. ShortFest.
Meanwhile, the audience award for best French short went to Simon Lelouch’s “Nous Sommes Tous des Etres Penches.”

Created by Dulac, a producer, distributor and exhibitor, the fest ran June 12-18, and held over 150 screenings in all the theaters located on the Champs Elysees, attracting more than 18,000 participants. French thesps Olivier Martinez and Julie Gayet, who is also a producer, served as co-president.

Thesp Halle Berry was a guest of honor; and Jean-Francois Camilleri, prexy of the Walt Disney Company France, was a special guest.

Fest kicked off with Brian Dannelly’s comedy-drama “Struck By Lightning” presented by thesp Chris Colfer. It closed with “Girl Most Likely,” helmed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini.

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