Awards have been announced for the 28th Philadelphia Film Festival that wrapped Sunday October 27 after 11 days, and 110 films. The Filmadelphia category (films made here in Philadelphia) was particularly strong this year with The Nomads winning the inaugural Filmadelphia Audience Award. The feel-good story of a rugby team at Whitman High School in North Philly played for a sold-out audience the last night of the festival at the Philadelphia Film Center.
Members of the original rugby team were in attendance along with the actors who portrayed them. Director Brandon Eric Kamen said on stage after the screening, “it’s like my bar mitzvah all over again.” The Nomads marked his first feature film after making many “brand” films in this area. The graduate of Haverford High School was inspired by the story he read in the Philadelphia Inquirer about this high school rugby team, and can be very proud of the film he made.
“It’s an underdog story; it’s everything that our city embodies, a very empowering story, a reflection of the reality of what’s going on within the inner-city school districts,” Brandon said on the red carpet before the screening.
The two biggest names, Tika Sumpter and Tate Donovan were cast from Los Angeles but the majority of the actors were from Philadelphia, through Heery Loftus Casting, including Christopher Mann, Jennifer Butler and Voleida Webb.
Two other Filmadelphia films I saw were Maybe Next Year and Waldo on Weed. These are both worthy of viewing if they end up getting distribution deals. I featured Maybe Next Year here.
Waldo on Weed is the story of a very loving married couple who ran the Pizza Museum in the Fishtown section of Philly. Their son was born with cancer in his eyes, and they took every extreme possible to help get rid of the disease. This involved chemotherapy and also CBD oil from the hemp plant that is now legal with a prescription in Pennsylvania, but five years ago when Waldo was born, his parents had to go to California to buy it legally. They ended up leaving their business and home here in Philadelphia to be closer to this remedy that has helped Waldo be in remission for years now.
Here is the list of award winners for the 28th Philadelphia Film Festival:
Best Documentary Feature
- Leftover Women
Best Narrative Feature
- Queen of Hearts
Pinkenson Award for Best Local Feature
- Maybe Next Year
Archie Award for Best First Feature
Best Short Film
- Broken Orchestra
Student Choice Award
- The Australian Dream
Filmadelphia Audience Award
- The Nomads
- Knives Out
- Come As You Are