Debut feature film from Massachusetts director Gabrielle Savage Dockterman wins the grand prize trophy and three other awards at the Monaco International Film Festival
December 20, 2005 (Carlisle, MA) --------------- Film director Gabrielle Savage Dockterman of Angel Devil Productions in Carlisle, MA, recently traveled to Monte-Carlo for the international premiere of her first feature film, Missing In America, at the Monaco International Film Festival December 8-11, 2005.
At the Angel Awards ceremony on Saturday night at the Theatre Princesse Grace, Dockterman’s film won four awards: “Best Actor” for Danny Glover, “Best Actress” for Amherst, MA, teen actress Zoë Weizenbaum, “Best Director” for Dockterman, and the grand prize Angel Award trophy for “Best Picture.”
According to festival organizers, the mission of the Monaco International Film Festival is to promote better quality entertainment with less visual violence. Their philosophy is to showcase quality films containing no gratuitous violence for a worldwide audience. An international jury led by Prince Aimery de Polignac, France and Monaco, judged the film festival’s annual Angel Award competition.
Festival co-founders, Executive Director Rosana Golden and Director of Programming Dean Bentley, select the grand trophy winner for best film of the festival. “For the Angel trophy winner, Dean and I listen to everyone – the jury, the audience, and also our own hearts – and then we decide,” Golden said. “Sometimes it is a difficult decision, but in this case it was unanimous.” Angel Awards were presented to films that convey the best messages of humanity, either for positive change, love or inner values, or for a new beginning of quality entertainment through adventure, suspense, comedy and romance.
According to Dockterman, Missing In America is a story about healing and forgiveness. It is a contemporary story of a Vietnam veteran (Danny Glover) who has lived in self-imposed exile for more than thirty years, haunted by memories of lives lost under his command. A former member of his platoon (David Strathairn) unexpectedly appears at his remote cabin, only to vanish overnight, leaving behind his young, half-Vietnamese daughter (newcomer Zoë Weizenbaum). The film also stars Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. The screenplay is based on a story by Vietnam vet Ken Miller of Washington state, and co-written by Miller, Dockterman, and Nancy L. Babine, also of Carlisle, MA.
This is the first time an American film has won the Angel trophy. Dockterman had hoped the story would appeal to an international audience. “World audiences want to know how Americans at home feel about what their country is doing overseas. They want to know how middle America feels about being at war, and if we learned any lessons from Vietnam," she said. “Even though it’s about disenfranchised veterans of an American war that ended decades ago, it’s timely because we have soldiers coming home from war every day.”
Missing In America has won awards at festivals in this country as well. Last month Dockterman traveled to the St. Louis International Film Festival to accept the Screen Actor’s Guild award for “Emerging Actress” on behalf of Zoë Weizenbaum, who at that time was in Western Massachusetts accepting her award for “Best New Actress, New England” at the Northampton Film Festival. Dockterman also won the audience award in St. Louis for “Emerging Director” at the festival’s awards ceremony on November 20. That was the second award Dockterman had received for “Emerging Director,” having won that award earlier this year at the Woods Hole Film Festival.
Dockterman discovered child actress Weizenbaum after considering hundreds of girls across North America. It was actor/director Peter Berkrot of Essex, MA, who heard about Weizenbaum through a friend of a friend who had seen her in a community stage production of Peter Pan. “Zoë wasn’t even looking for a film role,” Dockterman said. “It’s amazing that we found her.”
Since Missing In America, Weizenbaum was cast by producer Stephen Spielberg and director Rob Marshall to play a principal role in Memoirs of a Geisha, based on the best-selling novel by Brookline native Arthur Golden. Weizenbaum can currently be seen in this film on the big screen playing the role of “Young Pumpkin,” a geisha in training and the best friend of the main character as a child.
Missing In America is scheduled for release on VHS and DVD across North America on January 10, 2006, by First Look Studios of Los Angeles, CA. New Films International of Beverly Hills, CA, is distributing to foreign territories. Sales of available ancillary rights are represented by Lantern Lane Entertainment, Calabasas, CA.