Project Involve fellows, glamorously dressed, arrived in their unglamorous cars to the Vanity Fair party in Western Hotel, Beverly Hills, where our short films would be screened, and then the winning teams would be announced.
We were met by an army of ushers, who lead us towards the pool deck, where we were dazed with flashing stills cameras, and then each had to stand in front of a video camera and introduce themselves. In my way up there, two lovely young models, standing behind a stall covered with perfume boxes, sprayed something on my forehead. It smelled good!
Finally, I reached the pool deck, where many of my fellows had taken positions. They were sipping colourful drinks and chattering away. It was good to catch up with everyone, for I was away in London for the last three months, and this was my first encounter with them since I came back.
The party was also attended by Hollywood executives and celebs, among them Don Cheadle and Cuba Gooding Junior.
Thirty minutes later, we were called to the stage to introduce ourselves one more time to the crowd and to the flashing cameras.
And finally, the time had come to screen the movies. Unfortunately, the screening didn’t last long…a Technical glitch and the picture vanished. The technicians raced to fix it, but it took too long, so while that was going on, Cuba Gooding Jr. was called to announce the Audience award.
“Market Place” won the audience award: $2500 worth of gift cards from Banana Republic.
Then Don Cheadle leapt to the stage and announced the Jury’s award. The winning team was “For the last sixth’s time”. The winners received $2500 cash price from Vanity Fair.
Later, I met the producers, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, who had produced among other things “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Cold Mountain” and “Little Children”. Apparently, Ron is a judge in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, where my script is competing. Therefore, he was not allowed to discuss or even hear the title of my script, so I had to pitch it to Albert, while Ron pretended he was not listening! It worked. Albert asked for a copy of the script, but he didn’t have a business card, so Ron fished out his business card and handed it to me. “Don’t email it directly to me,” he warned. “You must indicate that it’s for Albert.”
I also met the Palestinian film director, who had recently made the multi-award winning film “Amreeka.” I haven’t seen the film, but after meeting her, I am determined to go and see it.