Sunday, September 27, 2009

San Sebastián IFF Presents Awards



Mo'Nique in PRECIOUS

The TCM AUDIENCE AWARD at the 57th San Sebastián International Film Festival was awarded to PRECIOUS, USA, directed by Lee Daniels. This is the third major festival audience award for PRECIOUS. The other two being Sundance and Toronto. Now, what will the movie do at the New York Film Festival NYFF, currently in progress?

At the SSIFF, the TVE-Another Look Jury also gave a special mention to LA MUJER SIN PIANO (The Woman Without a Piano), directed by Javier Rebollo (Spain-France). It also awarded a TCM AUDIENCE AWARD to an European film, DESERT FLOWER, directed by Sherry Hormann (Germany).



CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH

The Official Selection Jury for the Film Festival decided to award the Golden Shell for Best Film to CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH by LU CHUAN (China). The movies director of photography, Cao Yu, received the Jury's Best Cinematography Award.

CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, filmed in wide screen and black and white, begins in 1937. Japanese troops have entered China's temporary capital, where their cruel occupation will be known as "The Rape of Nanjing." The film alternates between Japanese and Chinese points of view, presenting a portrait of surviving in wartime day-to-day living conditions amidst a devastated city while confronting never before encountered ethical dilemmas.

This and other awards were presented last evening at San Sebastián, Spain, in the Kursaal, with the entire media event being hosted in the Anoeta Velodrome where a broadcast of the closing gala was shown on the giant Velodrome screen. The evening was also broadcast live on the sansebastianfestivalTV channel via the Web.

The gala evening began with the showing of the final screening from the Zabaltegi-Pearls section with Johnnie To’s VENGEANCE. Following the awards, the evening closed with the screening of MOTHER & CHILD (USA), presented in person by director Rodrigo García and the actors Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington and Jimmy Smits, who made an appearance on the Velodrome stage. Also in the movie, but not at the SSIFF, are Annette Bening, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Other awards from the Official Selection went to:

BEST DIRECTOR SILVER SHELL to JAVIER REBOLLO for LA MUJER SIN PIANO (Spain - France);

JURY PRIZE FOR BEST SCREENPLAY to BLESSED (Australia);

SILVER SHELL FOR BEST ACTOR to PABLO PINEDA for YO, TAMBIÉN (ME, TOO, Spain);

SILVER SHELL FOR BEST ACTRESS to LOLA DUEÑAS for YO, TAMBIÉN (Spain);

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE to LE REFUGE by FRANÇOIS OZON (France).

The President of the International Jury was LAURENT CANTET (France), and the three other males on the jury were: BONG JOON-HO (Korea); DANIEL GIMÉNEZ CACHO (Spain); and JOHN MADDEN (United Kingdom). The females were LEONOR SILVEIRA (Portugal); PILAR LÓPEZ DE AYALA (Spain); and SAMIRA MAKHMALBAF (Iran).

The FIPRESCI Award for the Best Film Made in Spain went to Catalonian director Isaki Lacuesta's LOS CONDENADOS (The Condemned, Spain).

The HORIZONTES Jury Award for films in Spanish made outside of Spain, and carrying €35,000 (€10,000 for the director of the winning film and €25,000 for its importer in Spain), went to the film GIGANTE (Uruguay) directed by by Adrián Biniez, with a Special Mention to FRANCIA (Argentina) directed by Israel Adrián Caetano. Also, the movie CONTRACORRIENTE, by Javier Fuentes-León (Peru-Colombia-France-Germany), received the Horizontes Sebastian 2009 Award.

KUTXA’s social program granted €30,000 in aid to the film by Álvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro, YO TAMBIÉN, a competitor in the Official Selection, for highlighting the values of integration and equality, precisely the values promoted by Kutxa.

The FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Grand Prix for Best Film of the Year screening at the San Sebastián Festival was presented at the opening gala on Friday, 18 September, to THE WHITE RIBBON (Das Weisse Band, Germany), directed by Michael Haneke. In order for a movie to be given a FIPRESCI GRAND PRIX at an individual film festival, it must have won at least on major award at a major film festival. WHITE RIBBON won the Palme d'or at Cannes in May. Can't get more "major" than that. Will Germany place it in competition for this year's Best Foreign Film Oscar®?

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