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PRESS RELEASE

September 30, 2004

For more information, contact Kevin Carpenter, Vice-president of the Landmark Studio and the Director of the WVFFF at - kevincarpenter@elkhotel.us or (304) 765- 5960.

Filmmaker of the Year - WV Filmmaker Film Festival

The Landmark Studio for the Arts created the WV Filmmakers Festival to promote the WV filmmaking industry by showcasing WV Films. The festival allows WV filmmakers to congregate, exchange ideas, and make new industry contacts. Currently the WV Filmmakers Guild holds its annual meeting at the Festival. This year, for the second time, the Festival has implemented the Filmmaker of the Year Award.

The award is given to the filmmaker whose most recent work or lifetime work has had the most significant impact on the WV film industry. Nominees can be from any discipline of filmmaking (Producer, Director, Writer, Actor, etc.). Nominees should have a deep connection to WV, preferably including films made in WV. The nominees can be from WV or could have made a film about WV. The Landmark Studio for the Arts has commissioned an original bronze sculpture by Bill Hopen as the award. This year's sponsor of the award is the West Virginia Film Office.

This year the four nominees are Robert Gates, Steve Gilliland, Ray Schmitt, and Morgan Spurlock.

It is my pleasure to announce that Ray Schmitt is this years' Filmmaker of the Year. The award will be presented at 8:00 PM Saturday October 2, 2004. We would like for you to join us for the presentation of the award.

Kevin Carpenter
West Virginia Filmmakers Film Festival, Director
Landmark Studio for the Arts, Vice-President

# 30


Nomination by Steve Fesenmaier of Ray Schmitt for WV Filmmaker of the Year 2004

I wish to nominate Ray Schmitt for WVFFF's WV Filmmaker of the Year Award. During the last year he has completed a record 6 documentary films - more than any WV filmmaker ever has in one year as far as I know. He has traveled from one end of the state to the other, making films and showing them wherever he could. He has worked with many different groups - in Hampshire County on their 250th anniversary film, an artist who was moving a boat from Panama to Chesapeake Bay, near their WV home, the Lost River Arts group, etc., etc. He has traveled from NYC to Lewisburg to Buckhannon and elsewhere to exhibit their films. He did all of this while caring for gravely sick relatives.

In my 30+ years as a professional in film I have never met any other filmmaker as cooperative as Ray Schmitt. He has changed my perception of WV filmmakers, many of whom can be very stubborn and isolated. He sends me copies as soon as possible of his new work for my review, and has appreciated my comments, rather than take them as a personal attack. I have worked with him on one particular film - about the daughter of a colleague, and he was rewarded with having it chosen to be shown in Washington, DC. as part of the prestigious Docs In Progress program in Sept. 2004. I will be presenting the world premiere of this film at a state library conference in November along with another recent film of his - "The Texture of Life" which I consider to be one of the handful of masterpieces I have seen produced inside WV.

Ray has influenced filmmakers all over the state, helping them in many ways, traveling to WVIFF and WV Filmmakers Guild meetings. His cooperation with everyone in the film industry inside WV is the highest of ANY working filmmaker.

He has made films for decades, and won awards. His retirement to his home in Hardy County is one of the most important recent events in WV film production history. He has shown many of his films at the Library of Congress, giving a very positive image of film production inside the state. I know that one day he will receive the honors he deserve - and he certainly deserves the honor of "WV Filmmaker of the Year 2004."

Sincerely, Steve Fesenmaier
Sept. 15, 2004

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