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Fourth annual Oscar Night in Athens is Feb. 25

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 13, 2007) -- Athens-area community members can get a taste of the glitz, glam and gossip of Hollywood at the Friends of the Festival's Oscar Night in Athens 2007 gala at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, in Ohio University's Baker University Center Ballroom.

Friends of the Festival, a local nonprofit organization, hosts the annual party to support the Athens International Film and Video Festival. 

Oscar Night guests ? donning formal, semiformal, or funky attire ? can pose for the paparazzi as they arrive on the red carpet before receiving a bountiful gift bag of items from local businesses. Complimentary wine and a cash bar will follow, along with E! Entertainment Television's broadcast of Hollywood red carpet arrivals, shown on huge projection screens. Guests can then enjoy the Academy Awards broadcast on ABC and savor the true star of the evening: a multicourse gourmet dinner by community chefs and Ohio University Catering. 

The evening also includes a silent auction for a Keith Chapman Jewelers piece, custom-made for the event. Door prizes will be awarded, and guests can enter the Avalanche! Pizza/Premiere Video Oscar Ballot Contest for a year of movie rentals and pizzas. Center stage will be the Hocking Hills Travel Grand Prize Raffle ? the winner gets a trip for two to the New York Film Festival in New York City this fall. 

Kelee Riesbeck, who helped launch the fundraiser after hosting private Oscar Night parties at her home for several years, said this will be the biggest benefit so far. "The Athens Film Fest brings films to us from around the world and shows off all our area has to offer in shopping, dining and lodging," Riesbeck said. "Proceeds enable us to promote the festival in regional media outlets, increase ticket sales and encourage economic development." 

New this year is the collaboration between community chefs and Ohio University Catering. "This is a great opportunity for us to bring campus and community together," said Matt Rapposelli, executive chef at Ohio University. 

Oscar Night in Athens originated in 2004. In 2005, funds raised helped bring acclaimed actor and director Steve Buscemi to screen his recent film to a sold-out audience.

  The Athens International Film and Video Festival, which celebrates its 34th year this April 27 through May 4, brings a feast of independent, foreign and documentary films to southeastern Ohio. 

The festival is sponsored by the Ohio University College of Fine Arts and supported by the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, local businesses and individual donors. 

Tickets for Oscar Night are on sale at the Ohio University Memorial Auditorium ticket office via phone at 740-593-1780, or the East Union Street entrance of the auditorium, Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted. Group seating can be arranged. 

Event sponsors include: Executive Producers Athena Grand, WXTQ and the Athens Messenger; Producers Milo's Whole World Gourmet, Keith Chapman Jeweler, Hyacinth Bean Florist, Hocking College School of Music and Theatre, Rhapsody, The Blue Gator and Salaam; Directors Mountain Laurel Gifts, Purple Chopstix, Avalanche Pizza, Premiere Video, Office of University Events, Septima Design, the Riesbecks, Hocking Hills Travel, Russell Chamberlain-Realtor and Lori Johansen; and Stars Ruby Tuesday Restaurant, The Village Bakery & Undercover Market, Lamborn's Studio & Custom Framing, Donkey Coffee and Espresso, Carpet One, Floor & Moore, Kitchen Creations and Renovations, Snider Fuller Porter & Associates, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Premiere Video, Coors Light, O'Betty's Red Hot!!! Dogs & Sausages, the Ohio University Inn and Conference Center, Perk's Coffee House & Roastery and Pepsi Cola of Athens.

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Contact: Colleen Girton, (740) 593-1488 or girtonc@ohio.edu

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