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Festival Director, Nino Simone at the 23rd Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival® 

Awards Gala / Photography by Billy Baque

Beverly Hills Film Festival Celebrates Cinematic Achievement at 23rd Annual Gala Awards Ceremony

The 23rd Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF) closing awards ceremony honored Bulgarian director Theodore Ushev’s sci-fi feature, “Phi 1.618,” the coveted Golden Palm Award for best film across all categories. 

Peter Stormare took home Best Actor honors for his turn in “Hangman,” and Kelly Reilly earned Best Actress recognition for her part in “Promises.” 

The week-long festival featured an array of high-profile premieres, industry panels and exclusive networking events leading up to the annual Gala Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 23rd. 

The long-standing festival is lauded by press, industry, filmmakers and attendees as one of Los Angeles’ best film festivals and is emerging as a global leader.

BHFF is presented annually by a tight-knit team of creative minds, including founder and fest director, Nino Simone; Anthony Severini as CFO and producer; Heather Burgett as publicist and producer; and Adam Ottmar as producer and Gala host and emcee, as well as an incredible roster of dedicated volunteers.

150 competitive films from around the world were screened at the event which started on April 19th with an Opening Night Red Carpet Gala event at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. The evening featured 15 film premieres with VIP talent and filmmakers in attendance.

Over five days, industry insiders gathered to participate in thought-provoking panels that focused on various aspects of filmmaking such as screenwriting, directing, production and financing strategies. Filmmakers had a chance to meet panelists and top agents like CAA’s Bradie Stenlauf or Buchwald’s Chris Allen. 

For its closing, amidst a night of glitz and glamour at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel—the location of the very first Academy Awards in 1929—the Beverly Hills Film Festival celebrated its distinguished filmmakers. 

The prestigious awards were presented to recipients, including Katerina Munis, who won Best Director for her mesmerizing work on “Daedalus.”  “Blowin’ Smoke’s” Jack Lucarelli took home the award for Best Producer while Piero Basso was recognized for Best Cinematography in “Midday Black Midnight Blue.” 

In addition, Brent Bishop’s Golden Palm Screenplay Competition victory was announced to uproarious applause as he claimed victory with his script, “Song of the Bigfoot.” 

Renowned filmmaker-producer-philanthropist Nino Simone founded the International Beverly Hills Film Festival in 2001 with a vision to spotlight emerging talents throughout the wider filmmaking world. 

As “one of  the most exclusive film festivals in the world” (KTLA-TV News), this annual celebration fosters originality and collaboration within its devoted artistic community. 

With over twenty-three years’ worth of accomplishments under its belt, and heading full steam ahead towards its 25th Anniversary in 2025, BHFF is an invaluable resource that connects emerging storytellers with established professionals in the heart of the entertainment business.

To see a full list of award recipients, visit