Everyone knows good beer compliments great food and great music. And now thanks to Heineken, “the nation’s premiere importer,” you can add outstanding filmmaking to the list. At the recent 11 th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) the new sponsor extended a figurative toast to South of Pico writer and director, Ernst Gossner, by awarding him its Red Star Award. The four day event was held for the first time in Los Angeles.
Created earlier this year, the Heineken Red Star Award for film recognizes the achievements of the most talented and progressive filmmakers in independent cinema and applauds their passion, creativity, and vision. The award is given at seven select film festivals throughout the year.
Says Heineken Brand Director, Andy Glaser, the award “recognizes originality and innovation in film and is demonstrative of our commitment to supporting and fostering unique film experiences. We are excited to share this award with directors who share our passion for independent thinking and self-achievement.”
A man of many talents, the soft spoken Gossner definitely has achieved much in his career. Born in Austria, he graduated from business school there then worked several different jobs–construction worker, bicycle tour guide, and radio station program director to name a few–before pursuing a career in theater.
Over 50 stage plays and a few short films later in Europe, Gossner relocated to the states to attend the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles. There he created 5 award-winning films before graduated in 2002. South of Pico is his first feature length film.
Literally moments after winning not only the Heineken Red Star Award, but also the ABFF Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture, and the award for Best Actor (Henry Simmons), I talked with the stunned filmmaker about what inspired South of Pico and why he felt the film was so well received. Just press play below.
To bring needed publicity to Gossner and all its Red Star Award filmmakers the winners will be profiled in Variety the month after their award announcement. And to give them further exposure, the Independent Film Channel (IFC) will feature video vignettes of the various Heineken award presentations that will run the month after the film festival. The ABFF highlights should air throughout the month of November.
But Heineken’s commitment to support talented filmmakers doesn’t stop with respected festivals like ABFF. Present and future filmmakers take note! Heineken along with A&E and the Independent Documentary Association provide a $50,000 finishing grant annually to an innovative filmmaker to help “bring their vision to reality.” And if that wasn’t enough, over the past year the company has also partnered with NYU Stern ProMotion Pictures to grant certain NYU film and business students $25,000-$50,000 to produce films reflecting Heineken’s interests.
To learn more about Heineken Red Star filmmaking visit the company’s website by going to Heinekenusa.com. And to get more information about ABFF, festival sponsors, and the ABFF award winners click HERE . Ernest Gossner and South of Pico info can be found by clicking the film’s title. Gossner’s personal website is http://ernstgossner.com.