Nick’s Picks – April 16

Houston Happenings


WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival

Wraps 47th Season ~ Everybody’s a Critic…!



WorldFest-Houston, the third longest-running International Film Festival in North America, celebrated the conclusion of its 10-day run of film, fun and fanfare in its 47th annual independent film showcase with a 12% increase in box-office! With Robert Loggia on hand to receive his richly deserved Lifetime Achievement Award, WorldFest celebrated with a sumptuous Awards Gala Ceremony in the historic Crowne Plaza Hotel ~ near the famous Houston Astrodome. WorldFest bookended this year’s 47th edition with record turnouts for Shawn Welling’s Legend of DarkHorse County Opening Night extravaganza and the official closing film, Director Po-lin CHI’s exquisitely beautiful Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above.


Other festival highlights included the buzz-creating, Stop Pepper Palmer, with cast & crew on hand to celebrate their honors; Patrizio Gioffredi and his Italian contingent, The John Snelling Collective for their Grand Remi award-winning film, Daydreaming (Sogni di Gloria). Director Peter Kirk & his Aussie gang were attending for their award- winning film, Hello Forever. Director Roger Lindley with Taken by Grace brought a posse as well. Eritrean director, Makonnen Woldeab with Debbas, the Ghost was on hand as well with his delightful contingent. Last but certainly, not least was Kevin Coleman and Kirk Loudon and their amazing marketing team on hand to promote Dawn of the Crescent Moon.


WorldFest celebrated its Ninth Annual Panorama Italia in collaboration with Massimo Sarti, Interim Director of The Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, CA. (IIC) and the Italian Consul Fabrizio Nava in Houston as well as The Italian Film Festival in St. Louis, featuring Saverio di Biagio attending for his film, Scattered Clouds (Qualche Nuvola) plus 4 independently produced Italian films, La Madre, Are You a Pilgrim? and Sogni di Gloria, and The Italian Character. Closing weekend, April 12 & 13th , included Shorts matinees and a Grand Awards Gala on Saturday night and Closing Cay festivities~ a V.I.P Tour of NASA/Space Center Houston and The WorldFest/Consular Regatta & Barbecue hosted by The Houston Yacht Club. All events are always open to the public.


WorldFest, founded as an International Film Society in August 1961, became the third competitive international film festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York. WorldFest evolved into a competitive International Film Festival in April 1968 and has a long list of “discovered” film greats such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Randal Kleiser, Ang Lee, Robert Rodriguez, the Coen Brothers, John Lee Hancock and many others from their beginning efforts for film submissions early in their careers. Multi award-winning producer/director, Hunter Todd, founded this special film festival to honor all categories of film and video production continuing his long dedication of “discovery,” spotlighting emerging independent filmmakers who are to be “the Spielbergs & Ang Lees of tomorrow.”


WorldFest’s mission is to recognize and honor outstanding creative excellence in film & video, validate brilliant abilities and promote future filmmaking in Texas as well as enhance cultural tourism for Houston and environs. The 10-day festival ran to a strong finish with several sold-out screenings. WorldFest highlighted independently produced cinema from all over the globe with a record 18 World Premieres, 49 Indie feature productions, 120 award winning shorts & over 550 USA & Intl. filmmakers in attendance.


All film premieres screened at the Flagship AMC Studio 30 Theatres, a 9 year WorldFest-Houston Cinema partner. Other major VIP Partner/Sponsors include Boxer Property, The Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), Crowne Plaza Intercontinental Group Hotels, The City of Houston, Avis/Budget Car Rental, NASA/Space Center Houston, The Wellness Center, and The Houston Yacht Club. Tippit & Moo (a division of Lopez Negrete), is the award-winning ad agency of record for the film festival.


The WorldFest Remi Awards Gala featured Robert Loggia as Honored Guest and Remi Lifetime Acting Award recipient on Saturday, April 12th at The HQ Crowne Plaza Hotel ~ Reliant Park, VIP partner & official host hotel. Festivities began with a cocktail reception hosted by The Houston Film Commission. Houston’s St. Thomas Episcopal School award-winning Scottish bagpiper began the Awards Gala by piping in festival founder, Hunter Todd, followed by the enthusiastic filmmakers amidst a bevy of Pastorini Bosby Talent award presenters. Dance entertainment was courtesy of Nelly Fraga’s Ambassador Mexican Folkloric Dancers, St. Thomas Scottish dancers, Molly Egan and Elizabeth Smith and a grand finale by Shawn Welling’s Planet Funk Academy’s lead dancers who performed a high-energy dance mix created especially for the gala.


On April 10, 11, and 12th , WorldFest conducted six Film Industry Master/Class Seminars (Scriptwriting, SAG/AFTRA, Docs on a Dime, Film Criticism) featuring a morning visit with Robert Loggia conducted by Joe Leydon and concluding with An Indie Directors Forum of invited WorldFest feature film Directors.


The WorldFest 2014 Grand Remi Crystal Awards went to:

  • BEST THEATRICAL FEATURE ~ Daydreaming (Sogni di Gloria), Patrizio Gioffredi directing, John Snellingberg Film Collective, Montale, Italy.
  • BEST FILM & VIDEO ~ Honor Diaries, Dana Wilsey, Cherry Hill, NJ USA.
  • BEST TV & CABLE PRODUCTION ~ Wild Thailand, Kanit Prukprakarn/Peter Ringgaard, GreenAsia/Peter Ringgaard, Denmark.
  • BEST COMMERCIAL ~ Giving ~ TRUE MOVE H, Thanonchai Sornsriwichai, Ogilvy & Mather, Thailand.
  • BEST NEW MEDIA ~ AXI: Web Series (Avengers of Xtreme Illusions), Shawn Welling ~AXI, Houston, TX, USA.
  • BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM & VIDEO ~ Globe Trot, Mitchell Rose, Worthington, Ohio, USA.
  • BEST SHORT SUBJECT, Haleema, Boris Schaarschmidt, Heavy B Production, Los Angeles, CA. USA.
  • BEST STUDENT FILM, I Remember the Future, Klayton Aaron Stainer, Swinburne University, Preshrank, Victoria, Australia.
  • BEST MUSIC VIDEO ~ Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone,” Vania Heymann, Director, Pulse Films, London, UK.


WorldFest Best Actor Remi Awards went to: Best Actress, Chella Ferrow for African Gothic, Gabriel Bologna, director, South Africa; Best Actor to Nix Xhelilaj for Jamil Dehlavi’s Seven Lucky Gods, London, UK; Best Supporting Actress to Olivia “Chachi” Gonzales for The Legend of DarkHorse County, Shawn Welling, director, USA and Best Supporting Actor to Carlton Bluford in Stop Pepper Palmer, Lonzo Liggins director, USA.


The Russian-American Business Magazine/Publications sponsored The Best Foreign film award which went to A Million Colours directed by Peter Bichai, filmed in South Africa. The Best Houston Production Remi Award went to Critical Mass, One Riot One Ranger, Charles Probst, Jr., Houston, Texas. The Best Texas Production Remi Award went to James Baker ~ The Man Who Made Washington Work, John Hesse Productions, Houston, Texas.


All other award results from this year’s WorldFest competition & Awards Gala are posted on our website at – Photos posted soon. There were more than 4,300 category entries in all film and video competitions, and less than 12% of submitted entries placed for WorldFest Remi awards. During the 10-day festival, over 550 filmmakers from more than 30 nations around the world were in attendance to personally accept their various awards from this year’s WorldFest’s competition of thousands of submitted category entries. Dates for WorldFest-Houston 48th are April 10-19th, 2015. Please check our website at – – for the full winners’ list or call 713-965-9955 for more information. Call for Entries for next year’s event will be E-mailed out in mid August. Entries officially open August 1st, 2014. Main deadline is December 15, 2014. Download official entry forms from our website starting Aug. 1st.



DVD Reviews




We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Confessions of Murder, it is really easy!  All you have to do is send me an email at  The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing.

Best of luck!





In Korea, murder has a statute of limitations and the time is up on a series of brutal slayings that left Lt. Choi (Jae-yeong Jeong) a broken and obsessed man, with a scarred face from their one encounter. Now, a handsome and beguiling young man has come forward, taking credit for the crimes. As the confessed-killer woos media and wins fans, Choi s rage spins out of control. Is he the killer? Can justice ever be served? And who is the mysterious J, who claims the author may not be the killer after all?



MOBIUS – Lionsgate


In the high stakes world of espionage, one Russian FSB operative will do whatever it takes to crack an international money laundering operation and American banker, Alice, is the key. The only problem is that he isn’t the only one after Alice. Now he must find out who he can trust and use everything he knows in order to get to the truth and bring down a powerful Russian oligarch.



SLEEP MY LOVE – Olive Films


The great Douglas Sirk directed the third and final teaming of Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche, they first appeared together in Mitchell Leisen’s Midnight and later in Sam Wood’s The Guest Wife. This Hitchcockian thriller casts Colbert as Alison Courtland, a wealthy New York socialite who awakens on a Boston-bound train with no memory of how she got there. A kind, elderly woman helps Alison call her husband Richard (Ameche), who in the meantime had contacted Detective Sgt. Strake (Raymond Burr) to help him find his missing wife. On the plane back home, Alison meets Bruce Elcott (Robert Cummings), who’s immediately enamored with her. Upon Alison’s return, Richard urges her to consult a psychiatrist, but the doctor’s bizarre behavior and abusive manner nearly drives Alison mad. Is she really losing her mind or is there an elaborate scheme at play?





High school seniors Michael and Matty have been best friends since 3rd grade. Still virgins, they make a pact to help each other “score” before Senior Prom – but their mission suddenly takes an unexpected turn when Matty announces that he’s gay.





Based on the bestselling book by V. C. Andrews, the Lifetimer Original Movie, Flowers in the Attice, is a gothic story of four siblings who, after the death of their father, are torn from a peaceful life and subjected to abuse resulting from a dark, family secret. Abandoned by their mother and forced to endure unimaginable treatment living in the attic of their grandparents’ mansion, the children form their own family unit. But as the oldest boy and girl come of age both emotionally and physically while caring for their younger siblings, they are entrapped by their family’s sordid past as they try to survive and escape the harsh living conditions. Heather Graham stars as the mother and Ellen Burstyn as the cruel grandmother.





Poor but intelligent Emily Fox Seton accepts a marriage proposal from the older Lord James Walderhurst,a widower pushed into providing an heir by his haughty aunt Maria,Emily’s employer. It is an arrangement for them both – in James’ case to stop the family home passing to James’ cousin Alec Osborn and his Anglo-Indian wife Hester. However affection soon grows between them but James is posted to India with his regiment and the Osborns come to stay with Emily,telling her James sent them to look after her. But they have lied and Alec’s alarming mood swings brought on by illness threatens Emily’s pregnancy and drives the staff away. Soon Emily realises that the couple mean to kill her and take the house for themselves. With only her loyal maid Jane for support how can she thwart their plan?





Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. Dickens – famous, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success – falls for Nelly, who comes from a family of actors. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens – a brilliant amateur actor – a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage, than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens’ passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly a life of “invisibility.”



THOMAS & FRIENDS: Railway Mischief – Lionsgate


Cinders and Ashes! There’s trouble on the tracks for Thomas and his friends. Gordon and Cranky don’t want to listen to Really Useful advice from Paxton and Kevin. Scruff, Winston and Stafford lose track of themselves, causing confusion and delay! Sometimes engines need a little help from their friends to chuff and puff Full Steam Ahead!





When Barney’s birthday arrives the kids throw him a special party with an extra special surprise: all of the people he loves! Riff worries that his homemade present isn’t good enough – until Barney explains that sharing a gift from the heart is the best gift of all. When it’s Layla’s birthday, Barney and Layla use their imaginations to explore more about her family heritage. Come along for all of the birthday fun and surprises with Barney and his friends!





Sam Rockwell stars as Doug Varney, a small town pharmacist with an overbearing wife (Michelle Monaghan) and an uneventful life running the drugstore he bought from his insufferable father-in-law. Following a chance encounter with a lonely trophy wife (Olivia Wilde), Doug embarks on an exhilarating drug-and-alcohol-fuelled affair with the most glamorous woman he has ever met. Take a walk on the wild side in this murderously funny dark comedy which also stars Ray Liotta and Jane Fonda.



ANGER MANAGEMENT: Volume Three – Lionsgate


The hilarious hit comedy Anger Management is back! Starring award-winning actor Charlie Sheen, Anger Management Volume 3 follows Charlie Goodman, a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management. He has a successful private practice, holding sessions with his group of primary-patient regulars each week, as well as performing pro bono counseling for an inmate group at a state prison. His life is complicated by his relationships with his own therapist and best friend (Selma Blair), his ex-wife (Shawnee Smith) whose positive outlook but poor life-choices frustrate Charlie, their 15- year-old daughter who has OCD (Daniela Bobadilla) and, of course, his interfering and meddlesome father, Martin (Martin Sheen).





Gregg Champion’s biopic The Gabby Douglas Story tells the tale of the champion Olympic gymnast (Imani Hakim) who struggled against adversity to become a member of the 2012 team that competed at the London games. Brilliant in its presentation, the story is true to life and clearly defines the heart of a champion!













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