ASPEN, CO March 12, 2006 - HBO and the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (USCAF) announced the 2006 Jury Award winners for Live Performances and the Film Discovery Program, sponsored by Variety in a ceremony hosted by comedian and USCAF performer Robert Wuhl. Presenting the awards for the Film Discovery Program was Jeffery Tambor and Brian Henson.
The winners for Live Performances at this year's Festival are:
Best Stand-up - Aziz Ansari and Mitch Fatel
Best Alternative - Kristen Schaal
Best Sketch - Whitest Kids You Know
Best One Person Show - Rick Cleveland, My Buddy Bill
Entertainment Weekly Breakout Award - Eliza Coupe
Tied for Best Stand-up was Aziz Ansari and Mitch Fatel, voted by a jury of over three-dozen industry executives who judged over 20 standup performances. Ansari, who performs regularly and hosts the New York's Upright Citizens Brigade's show Crash Test, will appear this summer in the Todd Phillips/Scot Armstrong film School for Scoundrels with Billy Bob Thorton and Jon Heder. Fatel is currently a regular correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and tours nationally.
Rick Cleveland is a former writer for the West Wing, in addition to serving as an executive producer and writer for all five seasons of HBO's Six Feet Under. My Buddy Bill explores Cleveland's unique friendship with President Bill Clinton and his dog Buddy. Cleveland won an Emmy® and Writers Guild Award in 2000 for his writing on The West Wing. Eliza Coupe, a graduate of CalArts Theater program, developed her solo sketch show at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. She has also trained at the Groundlings Theater and Improv Olympics. Kristen Schaal, a native of Colorado, is known in the New York comedy scene for her quirky, witty and endearing characters and is also the winner of the New York Comedy Festival's 2005 Andy Kaufman Award. Alumni of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, The Whitest Kids You Know, perform their weekly Wednesday night show at New York's Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre to sold-out crowds.
The 2006 Film Discovery Program featured 23 feature films, 23 shorts and six world premieres. A panel of industry executives determined that the following films, directors and actors were most deserving of this year's honors.
The Film Discovery Program's Award Winners, sponsored by Variety, include:
Best Feature - Friends With Money, director Nicole Holofcener
Best Documentary - a/k/aTommy Chong, director Josh Gilbert
Best Screenplay - Niall Johnson, Richard Russo, Keeping Mum
Best Actor - Justin Long, The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Best Actress - Olivia Wilde, Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Idea
Best Director - Tim Skousen, The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Breakout Filmmaker Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking
Best Live-Action Short - K-7, director Christopher Leone
Best Animated Short - Angry Unpaid Hooker, director Steve Dildarian
Best College Short - Checkout, director Dan Eckman
Cinemax Audience Award Winner - Shut Up and Sing, director Bruce Leddy
The USCAF Aspen is sponsored by HBO, HBO Comedy, TBS, AOL, Sierra Mist, Sirius, Entertainment Weekly, NetJets, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, the Center for American Progress, NetJets, the American Film Institute, Stay Aspen Snowmass and Roots. The USCAF's Film Discovery Program is sponsored by HBO Films, Cinemax and The Wall Street Journal.
Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television-programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour premium television services, HBO and Cinemax. Together, both networks reach approximately 39 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery. Home Box Office's international joint ventures bring HBO branded services to more than 50 countries around the globe.
Since its inception in 1995, the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen has become known as a primary launching pad for comedic talent and for hosting one-of-a-kind events such as reunions of Monty Python, SCTV, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Saturday Night Live, as well as of the casts of Cheers, Animal House, Waiting for Guffman and In Living Color; The AFI Star Awards to Jim Carrey, Diane Keaton, Mike Myers, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Albert Brooks, Rob Reiner, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg; the original The Simpsons Live, and the Freedom of Speech Awards which have honored George Carlin, Bill Maher, Dick Gregory, The Smothers Brothers, Michael Moore, August Wilson and Garry Trudeau.
In the past, strong USCAF performances by Ray Romano, Camryn Manheim, Jack Black, Eddie Izzard, Anthony Clark, Candy Ford, Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, Jason Kravitz, Loni Love and The Hollow Men among others, helped attract or solidify network deals.
The 2005 USCAF featured appearances by Jim Carrey, Conan O'Brien, cast of "Waiting for Guffman," Garry Trudeau, Aaron McGruder; Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong and World Premiers of features films Sarah Silverman's "Jesus Is Magic" and Scott Marshall's "Lucky 13." More information is available at www.hbocomedyfestival.com