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Edmonton feature film Puppy Love has taken two major prizes at the 27th Oldenburg Film Festival in northwest Germany — one of the rare film fests which pressed ahead during the global pandemic and featured in-person events via its innovative Living Room Galas, where audiences were tested for COVID-19 beforehand.
Puppy Love was filmed in Edmonton in 2017, directed by local filmmaker Michael Maxxis, who has also shot videos including Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s and Orville Peck’s Dead of Night.
At the socially distanced awards ceremony, opening-night film Puppy Love won the German Independence Award — Spirit of Cinema, while female lead Paz de la Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) took the Seymour Cassel Award for best acting along with Argentine actor Daniel Aráoz, who played a serial killer in The Longest Night. In Puppy Love, de la Huerta plays a drug-addicted prostitute, with Hopper Penn in the role of a simple-minded short order cook in love with her — some of his scenes filmed at Albert’s on 124 Street and many other recognizable locations around the city.
Cast members also included Rosanna Arquette, Michael Madsen, Wayne Newton and UFC mixed martial artist Donald Cerrone. Maxxis also helped facilitate an Okuda San Miguel mural in Oldenburg, inspired by and naming the film.
“For me it has all been a priceless adventure and education,” said Maxxis from Germany. “But what seems to affect me the most is how proud I am of my cousin Morgan. That his nature has inspired a film which seems to be moving people and has even been immortalized by a mural by Okuda.”
Maxxis is looking to screen the film in Edmonton, and we’ll keep you posted when that happens.