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Blancanieves, Fill The Void among PSIFF winners

The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival comes to a close on Monday and festival top brass unveiled the award winners at the traditional brunch on Sunday [13].

Blancanieves, Pablo Berger’s acclaimed postmodern fairy tale from Spain and the festival’s opening night film, took the inaugural Cine Latino Award, while Sadourni’s Butterflies from Argentinean director Dario Nardi earned an honourable mention.

Juan Carlos Arciniegas of CNN en Español, Sydney Levine of IndieWire and Iván Trujillo, festival director at the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG), comprised the jury. Berger wins a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by FICG and the University Of Guadalajara Foundation/USA. Mercedes-Benz sponsors the Cine Latino programme.

Adrian Saba’s Peruvian entry The Cleaner won the New Voices/New Visions award and a sculpture designed by glass artist Dale Chihuly and a $60,000 Panavision camera rental package. A special mention went to Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori’s 7 Boxes from Paraguay.

The jurors were Rebeca Congent, vice-president of acquisitions and distribution at Film Movement, Debra McClutchy, vice-president of home entertainment production/creative at Oscilloscope Pictures, and Michael Kananack, head of international acquisitions at the recently launched Gathr Films. 

“This is a great day for IberoAmerican cinema,” said PSIFF’s artistic director Helen du Toit. “I was delighted that Pablo Berger’s magnificent film Blancanieves was selected to receive our inaugural Cine Latino Award. This is Pablo’s third time at PSIFF and the third time he has won a prize. 

“In fact, this has been an extraordinary year for Cine Latino cinema at the festival with new Argentinean director Dario Nardi, winning the Cine Latino award special mention for Sadourni’s Butterflies and the New Voices/New Visions jurors selecting Peru’s The Cleaner followed by Paraguay’s 7 Boxes.”

The FIPRESCI jury reviewed 42 of the 71 official foreign language Oscar submissions and awarded Best Foreign Language Film Of The Year to Rama Burshtein’s Fill The Void from Israel.

Best actor in a foreign language film went to Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano and Giovanni Arcuri from Caesar Must Die from Italy, while Emilie Dequenne from Belgian entry Our Children took the corresponding best actress prize.

The FIPRESCI jury comprised FLM editor-in-chief, Jacob Lundström, Boston Phoenix film editor Peter Keough, and Polish film critic and writer at Kinon and Film Malwina Grochowska.

The John Schlesinger Award was presented to Thymaya Payne’s Stolen Seas from Somalia-Kenya-UK-Italy. The jury of Independent Television Service executive content advisor Claire Aguilar, documentary film-maker Geoffrey Smith and Zeitgeist Films head of theatrical sales and festivals Clemence Taillandier gave a special mention to Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story from the US.

The HP Bridging The Borders Award was presented to Kieron J Walsh’s Jump from Ireland-UK. The prize includes an HP Elitebook 8770W, valued at $5,000. The Cinema Without Borders Special Jury Award went to When Day Breaks from Serbia-Croatia-France directed by Goran Paskaljevic, who received a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in West Hollywood, California, valued at $2000.

In the audience awards, Wayne Blair’s musical comedy The Sapphires was named best narrative feature, while Ramona S Diaz’ US documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey won best documentary.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that our juries selected so many films by debuting and emerging directors for honours, in addition to the films they singled out from established film-makers at this year’s event,” said festival director Darryl Macdonald.

“In that sense, their choices perfectly reflected the festival’s own programming choices for this year’s line-up, validating our selections and providing ample evidence of a new generation of exceptional filmmaking talent currently emerging on the world stage.”

The festival opened on Jan 3 and runs until Jan 14.

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