Fort Myers Beach Film Festival Announces Award Winners

At an outdoor ceremony on Sunday overlooking Estero Bay in sunny Florida, filmmakers and actors received awards for their work on independent films screened during the Seventh Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival.

The Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts recognized local residents who submit films to the festival with the Islander Award going to Love Letter, directed by Taylor Hill and Best Local Film went to Stuck, directed by Mitch Glass. Best Student Film is Red Tide, directed by Dino Gallina.

The winner for the category of BEST SHORT FILM is The Last Session, directed by Chad Gurdgiel. The winning filmmaker of the BEST DOCUMENTARY is Joe Papp in Five Acts, directed by Tracie Holder and Karen Thorsen. BEST FEATURE FILM AWARD went to Blind Pass, directed by Steve Tatone.

The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival also recognizes the best actor among the films screened this year. The award in this category goes to Sally Kirkland who appeared in the film "Posey," a short film submission in this year's film festival. Kirkland's first role in a high profile film came in The Sting, then starring throughout the 1970s in The Kansas City Massacre, Breakheart Pass and Private Benjamin and later in television soap operas "General Hospital," Days of Our Lives and "Falcon Crest".

Acknowledged by the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival as a Rising Star Award winner is actress and producer Danielle White. White has collaborated on the musical drama, "Beautiful Noise" a film written and directed by Steve Tatone that sold out six screenings at the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival. They are currently working on the sequel to that film, "Serenade" that dramatically expands the storyline of the original and will be shot later this year in Sarasota, Amsterdam and Greece.

The winner of the STAR ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is Billy DaMota, Director, Producer, Writer, and Casting Director of "Posey."

The final award for the evening came from audience ballots asking for their favorite film. The winner of the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD is The Gift of the Game, written and directed by novelist Randy Wayne White who returns to Cuba to resurrect a children's baseball league founded by Ernest Hemingway.

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