Opening Night Celebrations & Movie


May 29, 2020 – This Opening Night Party & Ceremony includes numerous Celebrity Guests and:

Mingle with the stars and the world’s most cutting edge Officially Selected Filmmakers at a closed, elegant, extravaganza red carpet event & cocktail hour. Includes complimentary top-shelf hors d’oeuvres/desserts and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as specially discounted cocktails.

The 2020 HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award will be personally accepted by a legendary actor TBA.

Hosted by hilarious comedian Buddy Fitzpatrick

Worldwide premiere screening of A WRESTLING CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, starring Mario Del Vecchio, Candy Fox, and Buddy Fitzpatrick, A WRESTLING CHRISTMAS MIRACLE is an inspirational, comedic, thrill-ride family Christmas movie. Written/produced by Kenneth Del Vecchio and directed by Chris T. Anthony.         

An 11-year old phenom wrestler with an undefeated record, Kace Gabriel gives up the sport to write/direct a movie. He believes that if the film makes his best friend, Charlie, laugh on Christmas Day it will awake the boy from a coma. Kace’s dad, Ajax Gabriel, an Olympian wrestler with a mysterious side career, supports his son’s wish, cautioning that the friend may never come out of his slumber. A week before Christmas, the movie is produced - with Ajax and a zany cast of characters starring in it - ready to make all laugh. Ajax departs to Africa, where he headlines The Christmas Coup in the Congo, a wrestling tournament that has him scheduled to return on Christmas, just in time for the movie presentation to Charlie. Instead of all going as planned, however, the sole hard drive containing the movie is stolen by disgruntled, bumbling actors. And The Christmas Coup in the Congo turns out to be a real coup with the overthrow of the country’s communist dictator - and with Ajax being right in the center of it all. Kace and his mother, unable to get in touch with Ajax in the Congo, go on a crazy cat and mouse game in trying to retrieve the movie hard drive that is being held for ransom. What ensues is an inspirational, funny thrill ride, with twist after twist - and a climatic, unexpected ending that could only happen on Christmas. 


Past winners of the HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award include Louis Gossett Jr (Academy Award winner; An Officer and a Gentleman, Iron Eagle, "Roots"); Burt Young (Academy Award nominee; Rocky; Back to School; Rocky sequels); Eric Roberts (Academy Award nominee; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Expendables; The Specialist); Robert Loggia (Academy Award & Emmy Nominee; Scarface; Independence Day; Jagged Edge; Big); Cloris Leachman (Academy Award, 4-Time Golden Globe,19-Time Emmy Winner & Nominee); Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas; The Firm; Romeo + Juliet; Nixon); Danny Aiello (Academy Award Nominee; Moonstruck; Do the Right Thing; The Professional; 29th Street); Armand Assante (4-time Golden Globe/2-time Emmy Winner & Nominee; “Gotti”; American Gangster; Private Benjamin); Billy Dee Williams (Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi; Batman; Lady Sings the Blues; Emmy nominee), Carroll Baker (Academy Award Nominee & Golden Globe Winner; How the West Was Won; Baby Doll, Kindergarten Cop); and Charles Durning (2-Time Academy Award, 4-Time Golden Globe, 8-Time Emmy winner & nominee; Tootsie; The Sting; O’ Brother Where Art Thou).


Past winners of the HIFF Excellence in Acting Award & Excellence in Writing Award include Michael Biehn (Terminator; Tombstone; The Seventh Sign); Tia Carrere (Grammy Award Winner; True Lies; Wayne's World; Lilo & Stich); Joyce DeWitt (“Three’s Company”; Rock Story; Snapshot); and Mike Starr (Dumb & Dumber; The Black Dhalia; Summer of Sam; Ed Wood); and Karen McCullah (Legally Blonde; Ella Enchanted; 10 Things I Hate About You; The House Bunny).



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