Slovenian Horror, Wine Festival Awards British Actor Lee


Blood and gore mix well with fine wine, to judge by an unusual Slovenian festival that presented British veteran actor Christopher Lee this weekend with a lifetime achievement award.

The Grossmann Film and Wine Festival in Ljutomer, northeastern Slovenia, rewards every year the best horror and fantasy films from around the world as well as the country's finest vintages.

Guest-of-honour Lee -- best known for his Dracula portrayals as well as more recent roles in "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" -- and Oscar-nominated Israeli director Menahem Golan were both handed lifetime achievement awards at the festival's closing ceremony on Saturday.

Aside from the usual film screenings and talks with filmmakers, the highly unusual program of the week-long event included: wine sampling, blood donations, a Vampire ball and a "Queen of the Scream" contest to determine the festival's most hair-raising shriek -- open only to women aged 16 and over.

Winners in the film and wine categories were awarded a Vicious Cat prize.

The Ljutomer event, first held in 2005, is part of the European Fantastic Film Festival Federation, which includes some 20 festivals from around the continent and selects every year the Golden Melies Award for best European fantastic film.

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