EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: Members of the media wishing to interview Ned Beatty during his visit to Athens for the film festival may contact Mary Alice Casey, University News Services, at (740) 593-1890.

Contact: Ruth Bradley, (740) 593-1330

ATHENS, Ohio -- Academy Award nominee Ned Beatty will headline the silver anniversary of the annual Athens International Film and Video Festival May 1-9.

The festival, sponsored by the Athens Center for Film and Video, will feature 60 competition films chosen from a record 495 entries, said Ruth Bradley, director of the festival and associate professor of film.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary, a special guest reunion called "Camp Kino" will take place during the last few days of the festival. Camp Kino will reunite guests, students and staff members who have participated in previous festivals. "Kino" is an old Russian and French word for "cinema."

"The festival hasn't changed much over the years. That's part of what makes it strong," Bradley said. "We still represent a wide spectrum of films -- feature, short, experimental and video."

The only noticeable change has been the technology, Bradley added. This is the first year the festival is featuring CD-ROM and electronic arts.

Beatty, 60, of St. Mathews, Ky., first gained recognition for his portrayal of Bobby Trippe in the 1971 classic "Deliverance." He's appeared in 50 productions since then, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role of Arthur Jensen in "Network" and receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the 1991's "Hear My Song." He also has appeared in "Silver Streak," the first two "Superman" films, "All the President's Men," "The Big Easy" and "Midnight Crossing." He also has earned two Emmy nominations.

Among at least 12 feature films to be shown during the festival is "WACO: The Rules of Engagement," nominated in 1997 for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. The film examines the events that led to the 1993 fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, that took the lives of 70 people.

Other films include "The Sweet Hereafter," which focuses on a small Canadian town's reaction when a bus accident kills most of its children; "Wings of the Dove," based on the Henry James novel; "The Boxer," which follows the new life of a man released from prison after serving 14 years for involvement in IRA activities; and "Kiss or Kill," an Australian thriller that follows two young con artists on the run.

Feature films will be shown at the Athena Cinema; competition films and video and guest artist presentations will be at The Ridges Auditorium. Admission to evening performances is $3 at The Ridges and $5 at the Athena. Passes good for any five films or videos at either venue are $20 and will be available the week of the festival at both locations.

"The Athens Film Festival has developed its own identity," Bradley said. "It's not all Hollywood or all experimental. We've developed our own eclectic mix that's not duplicated elsewhere. The festival is still for the benefit of the entire community, and we should be really proud of that."

More details and a complete list of the films to be shown are available on the film festival's web site: Schedules also will be available at various Ohio University and Athens locations about a week before the festival begins.

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