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Independent Film “EVERGREEN” Takes Top Prize at 52nd WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival

First-time filmmakers take home four awards, most of the night at prestigious Houston film festival.

The “Evergreen” cast and crew (L-R: David Bianchi, Anna Donnella, Olivia Grace Applegate, Tanner Kalina, Joe Duca, Marshall Kistner, Tanner Nichols, Savvas Yiannoulou, Justin Graver, Kristin Jones, Maverick Dugger, and Oliver Johnson) at the WorldFest-Houston Awards Gala

The “Evergreen” cast and crew (L-R: David Bianchi, Anna Donnella, Olivia Grace Applegate, Tanner Kalina, Joe Duca, Marshall Kistner, Tanner Nichols, Savvas Yiannoulou, Justin Graver, Kristin Jones, Maverick Dugger, and Oliver Johnson) at the WorldFest-Houston Awards Gala

HOUSTON, Apr. 14, 2019 At the Saturday evening Awards Gala for the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, the Houston Film Critics Society presented the final awards of the night to the romantic drama “Evergreen,” including the evening’s top prize, Best Picture.

The film was also awarded Best Actress (Amanda Maddox) and Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Grace Applegate), as well as the WorldFest-Houston’s Gold Remi Award in the feature film category.

The first-time filmmakers behind “Evergreen” – director Joe Duca and producers Marshall Kistner, Justin Graver, Kristin Jones, and Savvas Yiannoulou – were in attendance to accept the awards, along with Tanner Kalina and other key members of the film’s cast and crew.

Set against the rustic winter backdrop of the Colorado Rockies, “Evergreen” tells the story of a young couple’s romantic Christmas weekend, during which their relationship is tested by intimate revelations of repressed, personal traumas. It’s a story about identity, ideological differences, and acceptance of a universal truth: you can’t run from your past, nor can you dwell on it.

Amanda Maddox and Tanner Kalina in a scene from “Evergreen”

Amanda Maddox and Tanner Kalina in a scene from “Evergreen”

The much-anticipated film made its debut at the 52nd Annual WorldFest-Houston Film Festival, the nation’s longest running independent film festival, with two screenings — the World Premiere on Saturday followed by an Encore Screening on Sunday — to accommodate enthusiastic crowds.

Buzz had started to build prior to the film’s festival screenings.

“‘Evergreen’ is just a remarkable film. From start to finish it paints its characters and arc so carefully, so cleanly, it leaves little to the imagination and heralds authentic emotion. For an indie, which historically have low budgets, this is a sublime achievement,” writes Mark Ziobro in his “A” grade review for The Movie Buff. 

“Evergreen” was written and directed by Joe Duca based on an original story by Duca, Kistner, and Kalina, the film’s lead actor.

Kalina, who broke out on the big screen as a member of the ensemble cast in Richard Linklater’s 2016 comedy, “Everybody Wants Some!,” stars alongside Amanda Maddox, with Olivia Grace Applegate and David Bianchi rounding out the entire cast.

Maddox recently starred in “The Other Place,” which was featured at the Cannes International Film Festival, Dances With Films, and the London Lift Off Film Festival.

Indie darling Olivia Grace Applegate has starred in features premiering at Cannes, SXSW, Edinburgh Film Festival, and more, including Terrence Malick's “Song to Song,” “The Honor Farm” with Michelle Forbes, and Trey Edward Shults’ critically acclaimed film “Krisha,” which won the SXSW Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in 2015.

With over 90 IMDB credits from studio and independents, David Bianchi can be seen in major films and indies such as “Elizabethtown,” “Priest,” and “Filly Brown,” as well as numerous television appearances on hit shows like “Westworld,” “MacGyver,” “Unsolved,” “Animal Kingdom,” “Days of Our Lives,” and many others.

Maverick Dugger, who works closely with composer Henry Jackman, including on recent films “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” wrote the original score for “Evergreen.” 

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Lydia Luce also wrote an original Christmas song for the film’s emotional climax.

Awards for “Evergreen”: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and the Gold Remi Award at the 2019 WorldFest-Houston Awards Gala

Awards for “Evergreen”: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and the Gold Remi Award at the 2019 WorldFest-Houston Awards Gala

“Evergreen” was executive produced by Kistner, Graver, Kalina, and Jones for Daffy, LLC, as well as Mary J. Davis of MBL Productions.

The core team of producers first met while attending film school at The University of Texas at Austin. This is their debut feature film. Kistner, Jones, Yiannoulou, and Graver collaborated on a dramatic short prior to “Evergreen,” titled “Off Trail,” which won the ItsAShort.com 2017 First Glance Film Festival prize.

“Evergreen” will continue to screen at a variety of festivals, traveling next to Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival in June.

For more information about the film, please visit www.evergreen2019.com

For press inquiries, screener links, or other questions, please contact the “Evergreen” production team at evergreenpremiere@gmail.com.

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