Oregon’s International Bohemian Film Festival Announces ‘Big Sonia’ as Grand Prize Winner

Cottage Grove

The winning filmmaker, Leah Warshawski and her Oregon-raised animator, Dawn Norton, received a $3,000 grand prize as the Best Film. The winner aims to take the proceeds to launch high school curricula about overcoming the obstacles of our past and becoming stronger.

COTTAGE GROVE, ORE., 18 AUGUST 2018 – “Big Sonia” won the overall $3,000 Grand Prize at this weekend’s inaugural Bohemian Film Festival. The film – featuring 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who still goes to work everyday and stays busy so she “doesn’t have to think about it” – explores what it means to be a survivor, how this affects families and generations, and how trauma might define each of us.  It asks, “Will your past make you stronger? The trailer can be viewed here.

The Bohemian Film Festival  jurors narrowed 180-plus entries down to 62. The 62 films are showing this  weekend (see schedule here) at the film festival. Both professionals and amateurs entered the competition which featured a jury of judges for the entries comprising domestic, international, short and feature-length films. The categories of films showing are in adventure, drama, mystery, documentary, animation, Pacific Northwest, Sci-Fi and spirituality.

“Big Sonia” is the grand prize awardee, and 10 other films won individual category honors. Each of the trailers can be seen here. The full list is:

Best Film of the Festival Award for the $3,000 Grand Prize
The Best Festival Film is Big Sonia, directed by Leah Warshawski.

Oregon Filmmaker Superstar
The Best Oregon Filmmaker Superstar Award is Bobbi Jo Hart for her direction of Rise and I Am Not a Rock Star.

Adventure, Drama or Mystery
The Best Film for Adventure, Drama or Mystery is Ainhoa.

The Best Film for Comedy is Father and Father.

The Best Film for Animation is iRony.

The Best Film for Documentary is Big Sonia.

Economic Development
The Best Film for Economic Development is By Us

Narrative Feature Length Film
The Best Narrative Feature Length Film is The Alley.

Narrative Short Film
The Best Narrative Short Film is Jabari Keating.

Narrative Foreign Short Film
The Best Narrative Foreign Short Film is Are You Volleyball?

The Best Film for Spirituality is With My Own Two Hands.

Trophies and award certificates were presented last night to the exceptional filmmakers whose entries were chosen in various categories.

Len Blackstone is the Producer-Director who sees the Bohemian Film Festival and concurrent events “as major economic development opportunities for Cottage Grove.”

More than 180 films were submitted from around the world. The films from more than 28 countries including from the United States, India, France, UK, China, Hungary, Iran, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Finland, Australia, Pakistan, and Russia.

Film festival creatives and organizers included Blackstone, as well as Mike Dilley, executive director of the Eugene International Film Festival with a history in major films in Hollywood; Katherine Wilson, the casting director for the Animal House movie; and Travis Palmer, executive director of the Cottage Grove Chamber.

The three-day festival will also feature other events, including a party and a parade honoring the 40th anniversary of the release of National Lampoon’s “Animal House,” in which several scenes were filmed in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Festival highlights will include the “World’s Largest Toga Party” and a Toga Parade down Main Street – the original route in the film, the Deathmobile and crew members. The Toga Party will have a beer, wine and food garden, in conjunction with a music concert featuring Animal House musical highlights from the bands Otis Day and many of the Original Knights, The Kingsman, and The Cry.

Says Blackstone, “There are similarities between the small town of Park City, Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival is help and Cottage Grove. They’re 8,000 population; we have 10,000. Both 20 minutes from a metro area- either Salt Lake City or Eugene. Both festivals are historical, natural-resource-based communities. They rose out of the implosion of the mining industry. We’re still trying to rise out of the timber industry. They started in the 1970s. We’re just starting. They have skiing. We have lakes and rivers. Let’s view them as an inspiration.”

The small town of Cottage Grove has twice been selected as an All-American City and held the record for the world’s largest Toga Party until 2012 when two universities in Brisbane, Australia assembled nearly 3,700. The town’s goals are to win back the Guinness Record for the “World’s Largest Toga Party” and have a blast at the same time.

Cottage Grove is centrally located on Interstate 5 between San Francisco, Seattle, and Salt Lake City; just 20 minutes south of Eugene, Oregon, which is home of the University of Oregon, where most of the movie was filmed. Animal House scenes, such as the parade, were also filmed in Cottage Grove, Oregon.






Key links:

Film submissions can be viewed here: https://bohemianfestival.com/films/screenings/

Festive event information and ticketing: www.BohemianFestival.com/

Direct ticket sales:  www.bohemianfestival.ticketspice.com/bohemian-festiva


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