by Chris Howard
January 16, 2003

Marco Island is situated just off the coast of Naples, Florida (where the latter half of the festival took place). Guests of the festival were treated with the utmost regard and congeniality, including tours around the area to scope out the elaborate homes and topography of the region.

Opening night featured a screening of Rick Thorne’s Mother Ghost, starring Kevin Pollak, Mark Thompson and Joe Mantegna. A post-screening party on the rear lawn of the Colliar County Museum featured exquisite catered food and a troupe of too-young cabaret girls. Of no small interest was the Sherman tank secluded in the foliage near the party.

The festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award was given posthumously to Rod Steiger. Mr. Steiger, whose career spanned 50 years, starred in over 250 television dramas and 50 motion pictures, garnering three Oscar nominations and an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1967’s In the Heat of the Night. The ceremony, at which Steiger’s award was graciously accepted by Mrs. Joan Steiger, was followed by a screening of his last film, A Month of Sundays. Other tributes went to Kevin Pollak, Jane Seymore and Robert Forster (who received this year's Golden Eagle award).

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