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'Twenty Million People' claims top prize at Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown

April 13, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • People watch a short movie at Academy Theater on the final evening of the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

“Twenty Million People,” a romantic comedy made by three filmmakers from New York City, claimed the top prize Saturday at the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown.

The film was named Best Feature at the three-day film festival’s closing ceremonies Saturday night at the Academy Theater off East Washington Street.

The film asks the question, “There are TWENTY MILLION PEOPLE in the greater New York City area. So why is it so hard to find someone you like?”

Co-producer Chris Prine, who also acted in the movie with co-stars Michael Ferrell and Devin Sanchez, said the picture was shot over a 12-day span in Jersey City, N.J.

The budget was $12,000.

“This is great.” he said. “This is the second award we’ve won. It’s the first time we’ve received a nice trophy like this.”

Prine said he, Ferrell and Sanchez are continually “tweaking the edit,” and hope to find a distributor for the film.

The winners of the other four categories — Student, Animation, Short and Documentary — also were announced at the ceremony.

Tracie Hovey, vice president of the film festival’s board of directors, said a panel chose the winning films — with the exception of the Documentary category, which had a “secondary judge” from PBS.

“They ended up choosing the Documentary film winner,” she said.

The festival kicked off Thursday with a screening of “Argo,” winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture. Opening night was attended by Tony Mendez, the former CIA agent whose rescue of six Americans trapped inside Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis inspired the movie.

“Opening night was fantastic,” Hovey said. “It really felt like a Hollywood premiere.”

She said the festival showed more than 50 films, and believed the event has made great strides since its debut last year.

“We feel like we have a strong base,” Hovey said. “We’re ready to build on that for the future.”

Film festival winners

The following are the award winners from this weekend’s Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown:

• Feature — “Twenty Million People”
• Documentary — “The Believers”
• Short — “Do You Believe in the Devil”
• Animation — “Animation Hotline”
• Student — “If You’re Serious”

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