Is it me, or is it about time the Carolina’s film festivals started giving out awards? Oh, I know, I’ve been saying it for years, but I honestly do think that a small jury and a short ballot attached to each 10-pass could give out awards without overwhelming the organizers with more work to do. The films we see at NCGLFF, NEVERMORE and ESCAPISM are winning awards everywhere else and I don’t think it would do them or the Carolina any harm to see the Carolina’s awards listed on their posters.

Were it up to me I’d have to go with:

Funniest line in any film: “I’m from outer space and I want to be in dirty pictures.” (Twoyoungmen, UT)

Funniest Overall: The 24ish episode of Chico’s Angels, which also features that rarest of gifts, a hot guy playing a character who might as well be named Hot Guy yet can act and be genuinely funny.

Most surreal moment: The cheerleader using a urinal in Girl Parts! or, possibly, the sudden intersection of Prodigal Sons and F for Fake. Both blew my mind. Loved them.

Most dreadful: Q-Case, hands down. To quote Opus, but Lord it wasn’t good.

Tried Hardest and Failed Anyway: Ogles with Goggles, which is also pretty dreadful.

Creepiest: Easily a tie between Steam and Weak Species. Yeesh. Both excellent, but still, yeesh. Pretty much anything in the There’ll Still Be Rain collection could win that, though.

Most Sincerely Touching: I can’t possibly name one. Prodigal Sons is just such a lovingly-told story about how hard it can be to love someone. Redwoods is awash in the chemistry of the leads and the sweetness of its story. Get Happy is so warm and funny and was exactly what I needed to see at the moment I saw it. I couldn’t possibly pick.

This was an excellent year for programming and the crowds were talking about that. Here and there were films that I felt fell way short of the mark set by the others but overall these were some of the best films I’ve seen at the festival. Ever. Mad kudos to the programming committee, because they did a fantastic job.

It was also an excellent year for protesters. They were there Friday night and Saturday morning but Saturday afternoon a guy showed up with a “FREE HUGS” sign and gave hugs to anyone who wanted one. This defused the situation and it also just confused the hell out of the protesters. They were shut down for a good 10 minutes while they tried to figure out how to react. The completely sincere FREE HUGS guy, I’m sad to say, took some direct verbal abuse from the bigots but kept it up and when I got back from lunch on Saturday I found that the protesters had packed it in and given up before the festival was even half over. They never came back. Good riddance.

Maybe next year they’ll stay home.