FILM FESTIVAL BESTOWS ACHIEVEMENT HONORS ON ACTORS THIS YEAR
Boca Raton - This was not your typical red carpet. Funnyman Leslie Nielsen made sure of that.
Nielsen made his way down the red carpet at the Palm Beach International Film Festival's black-tie gala Saturday night, armed with a flatulence noise-maker in his tuxedo pocket. The star of the Naked Gun films befuddled the media and the rest of the red-carpet guests with his conspicuous sound effects on this night of stars.
But glamour prevailed, as Nielsen was honored for his work in the movies.
Every year, the film festival, which runs through Thursday, honors filmmakers for their achievements. This year, it also recognized actors Radha Mitchell, Peter Boyle, Josh Peck, Woody Harrelson and Louise Fletcher, as well as director Brett Ratner, at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.
"I'm a little surprised and touched," said Boyle, who received the Showmanship Award for his role in the hit comedy series Everybody Loves Raymond and work in more than 50 films.
More than 150 independent films will be screened during the eight-day festival, which welcomes celebrities, directors and movie lovers from around the world.
On what was truly a night of Tinsel Town glitz, other celebrities flanked by flashing cameras included Patricia Heaton, Steven Bauer, Bai Ling, Salma Hayek and Venus and Serena Williams.
Looking radiant in a mandarin-collared pantsuit, Academy Award winner Fletcher was given the Legend Award for her successful career, including her stunning portrayal of Nurse Ratched in 1975's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, directed by Milos Forman.
"That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Fletcher said. "It took me one solid year to get that part. Milos kept sending me home, but I kept working with him. When I finally got it, I swear I didn't think twice. I knew how to play her."
For some of the honorees, it was a repeat visit to Palm Beach County.
Some said it was an honor to support the festival, which benefits TV and film education for local students.
"I'm from South Florida, I love the arts and movies, so I'll do anything I can do to support it," director Ratner said. "My presence helps inspire young people. If I can do it, they can do it."
Ivette M. Yee can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6538.
Copyright April 2005 The Sun-Sentinel.