Silver Images Award slips through CIFF’s cracks: ?a matter of confusion, not an intentional slight’

What would have been the 4th annual Silver Images Generational Award for the best film portraying the process of aging went missing from the 43rd Chicago International Film Festival.

Terra Nova Productions, producers of the Silver Images Awards, claim CIFF offered no explanation for excluding CIFF’s only cash award.

“Our biggest fear is that the festival no longer wanted to be in any way identified or associated with aging, when in fact, it had been a pioneer in championing the concept,” said a chagrined Ed Menaker, Terra Nova’s development director and a former Ch. 11 executive producer.

CIFF coordinator Phillip Bajorat called the Award omission “a matter of confusion and miscommunication and not an intentional slight.”

But it appears that CIFF may have dropped the ball in connecting with Terra Nova’s screening process in order to make a timely award selection.

“We were left hanging,” said Menaker. “We were disappointed that we received no responses to our Emails, phone calls or face-to-face inquiries, and that the Award was not awarded at all this year.

“This came without explanation to Terra Nova, the mainstream public, or any of those filmmakers who might have entered their film hoping to be considered for the Silver Images Generations Award and the $2,500 monetary prize that accompanied it.”

CIFF executives Vivian Teng, Mimi Plauch? and Ryan Jewell admitted in an Email to Menaker that “the delay in getting back to them” was caused by the time spent in pursuit of “The Savages” for the festival?a film which Terra Nova originally had brought to the festival’s attention.

“The Savages” was CIFF’s big Closing Night selection. It stars Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a sister and a brother from a dysfunctional family having to confront their aging father’s dementia.

CIFF said they had offered Terra Nova “a great lineup of films eligible for the Silver Images Awards,” and also suggested special guest Malcolm McDowell as a possible honoree.

But Menaker said he was told him the festival staff wanted to “get by opening night,” ostensibly before turning their attention to the Silver Images Award, at which time it would’ve been too late to name an award winner.

Regardless of what caused the oversight, “Our intention is to bring the Silver Awards back next year,” Bajorat said.

Terra Nova/Silver Images grows with the graying of Americans