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Athens' favorite festival begins April 28

ATHENS, Ohio (April 11, 2006) -- Thrilling. Inspiring. Quirky. Three words that easily describe the Athens International Film + Video Festival, which gets underway Friday, April 28, at the Athena Cinema and Athena Grand in Athens, and Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio.

This year's weeklong festival is packed with 141 competition films, 21 feature films, four guest artist appearances and two special sneak preview screenings.

"Fossil Fools," a series of installations and performances that combine art, technology, popular culture and energy issues, kicks off the festival Friday, April 28, 5 p.m. at Stuart's Opera House. The performance is also part of the city's popular Final Fridays celebration of the arts.

Three Ohio University graduates return to Athens to present their first feature-length films.

Marc Moody, an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, and producer Sharon Teo, will present "Almost Normal," Wednesday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. at the Athena Cinema in Athens. This lighthearted film poses the question: what if being gay was the high school norm? "Almost Normal" has been screened at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered film festivals nationwide and has received two awards.

Todd Rohal wrote and directed four short films before completing "The Guatemalan Handshake," which he'll present Saturday, April 29, 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema. This quirky film captures the ugliness and charm of small towns, dirt roads and summer camps, is backed by a fun-loving soundtrack of '80s covers, and received a Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival.

Feature films include Academy Award winner "Tsotsi," "Pelicanman," "Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story," "Caché" and "Darwin's Nightmare."

Two surprise sneak previews book-end the festival's offerings: The first at the Athena Grand, April 28, 8 p.m. and the second at the Athena Cinema, May 4, 7:15 p.m. Filmmakers will be present at both screenings. The first preview is unrated and may be unsuitable for children.

Tickets for the festival are available beginning April 17 at the College of Fine Arts Ticket Office, Kantner Hall, Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and at the Athena Cinema Box Office. Passes are $25 for six screenings. Individual tickets are $6 for all shows starting after 6 p.m.; $5 for seniors, children 12 and under, and all shows starting before 6 p.m.

Complete festival information is available at www.athensfest.org.  

The Athens International Film + Video Festival, a project of the Athens Center for Film and Video, is sponsored by the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University with support from the Ohio Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Tom Erlewine.

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Media Contact: Film Festival Director Ruth Bradley, (740) 593-1330, or Media Specialist Geroge Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu  

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