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The first ever Magic Film Festival: Las Vegas

The first ever magic film festival was held this year (February 2006) in Las Vegas at the Orleans Hotel. Several hundred people packed into the Decatur Room, where three jumbo projection screens were set-up, and free popcorn given out for all who entered.

Sixteen film submissions were sent in from around the world, and the judges narrowed them down to eight. Of eight submissions, only three would go on to be crowned first, second and third place of the inaugural magic film festival.

Las Vegas Magic Film Fest

The Eight Final Contestants Were:

  1. The Heckler by Josh Jay
  2. Death Before Me by De’vo Vom Schattenreich
  3. Happy’s Last Wish by Sean McEwen & Gary Curtis
  4. From The Eye of The Dove by Paul Carlon & Michael Henderson
  5. High Jinx and The Magic Nightmare by Siobhan & Michael Jordan
  6. The Real Secrets of Magic by Jean Luc Bertrand and David Stone
  7. How to Escape From a Straightjacket by Leigh Jurecka
  8. The Meeting by David Darkstone

Lee Asher with his father at the Las Vegas Film FestThe who’s who of magic was out this evening and it certainly was the buzz of the whole World Magic Seminar convention. Even my dad was there! (Pictured on the left)

Several months before this festival, Rodney Reyes (the guy running the event) phoned me up and explained how I had been chosen as the recipient of the Inspiration Award at this magic film festival for The Five Card Stud

Immediately, I called the old cast and crew of the Stud and told them the great news. While not all of them were able to show up to this event, a select few of did. Chris Randall, Joey Burton, and even Kaylani Paliotta (the famous 5 Card Stud femme fatale Tara Monroe) made an appearance. (Pictured below)

Kaylani Paliotta with Lee Asher at the Las Vegas Magic Film Fest
The event kicked off with Chris Kenner announcing  and introducing each of the competing films. Chris was the perfect choice as MC, he is a true film aficionado.

One by one, we all watched these films with a critical eye. It was exhilarating to be in the audience. The energy in the room was dynamic and electrifying.  
Once all of the entries were shown, Chris Kenner began to talk about the Inspiration Award.

Chris Kenner was the Master of Ceremonies at the Vegas Magic Film Fest Chris Kenner handing Lee Asher the first ever Inspiration Award at the Magic Film Festival.

Chris Kenner was the Master of Ceremonies at this Inaugural Event.

Chris Kenner handing me the first ever Inspiration Award at the Magic Film Festival.

Lee Asher giving a speech to the film fest crowd Lee Asher thanking everyone in the Five Card Stud project

"Wow!" is what I'm saying at this moment!

Me thanking everyone involved with the Five Card Stud project

After thanking everyone who was in involved with the making of the Five Card Stud, I introduced “On Tour: with Michael Ammar” to the excited crowd.

please click here to watch On Tour: with Michael Ammar

When "On Tour" was finished, they announced the winners of the first ever magic film festival.

3rd place: The Meeting by David Darkstone
2nd place: Happy's Last Wish by Sean McEwen & Garry Curtis
1st place: The Real Secrets of Magic by Jean Luc Bertrand & David Stone

Photo: Rodney Reyes, Lee Asher, and David StoneCongratulations to the winners, and a hearty ‘Good Job’ for those other thirteen contestants that took the time to scheme-up, direct, shoot, edit, and enter the film festival. You were the guys who did it!

Hope to see all of you there next year, and who knows…

Maybe you might enter with something you’ve been working on recently?

Photo: Rodney Reyes, Lee Asher, and David Stone

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Lee Asher develops original sleight of hand magic based on his lifetime experience as a magician. He looks at the art of magic from a real-world perspective and approaches it with skills very few possess. His site provides free tips, quality information about card magic, plus paid tutorials on his authentic material designed for rising magicians and hobbyists alike.

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