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Locarno's Golden Leopard awarded to Brisseau's Girl From Nowhere

Cate Shortland’s Lore wins audience award; Olivier Pere points to ‘good formula’ for programme as admissions rise.

The international jury headed by Thai film-maker Apichatpong Weerasethakhul presented the Locarno Film Festival’s top honour to veteran French director Jean-Claude Brisseau’s The Girl From Nowhere (La Fille de Nulle Part), starring Virginie Legeay and Claude Morel.

Meanwhile, the jury’s Special Golden Leopard went to American director Bob Byington for his film Somebody Up There Likes Me, while China’s Ying Liang’s When Night Falls picked up the Silver Leopard for best director and the best actress Silver Leopard for An Nai.

The Silver Leopard for best actor went to Walter Saabel for his performance in The Shine of Day by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, and a special mention was made by the jury of the extraordinary character Candy from the Portuguese filmThe Last Time I Saw Macau (A Ultima Vez Que Vi Macau) “due to her powerful presence through absence which resonated for the Jury as representing the immense courage of Portuguese cinema in times when the failures of government and social systems threaten the cinematic arts worldwide.”

The international jury of the Filmmakers Of The Present Competition, headed by Chad film-maker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, presented its Golden Leopard to Pedro González-Rubio’s Inori, while the Special ciné + jury prize went to Nony Geffen for his feature debut Not In Tel Aviv and the Emerging Talent Prize was garnered by the American Joel Potrykus for Ape.

Meanwhile, the Ecumenical Jury awarded its prize to Estonian film-maker Ilmar Raag for Une Estonienne à Paris and the FIPRESCI Jury bestowed its award on Leviathan by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel.

Other prizes this year included the UBS Audience Award, which was presented to Cate Shortland’s Lore; the CICAE Prix Art & Essai for Jem Cohen’s Museum Hours; SRG SSR Idée Suisse/Semaine De La Critique Prize for David Sieveking’s documentary Forget-Me-Not; the International Federation Of Film Societies’ Don Quixote Prize for The Shine of Day by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, with a special mention for Leviathan; and the CHF 10,000 Carte Blanche Award as completion financing for Pablo Delgado Sánchez’s debut feature The Tears (Las Lágrimas) produced by Mexico City’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematografica (CCC).

Following the awards ceremony on Locarno’s Piazza Grande, Olivier Père’s third edition as artistic director closed on Saturday evening [Aug 11] with the world premiere of veteran Swiss film-maker Markus Imhoof’s documentary More Than Honey. The Swiss-German-Austrian co-production will be released theatrically in Switzerland by Frenetic Films and is being handled internationally by Films Boutique.

A full list of the prizes can be found at www.pardo.ch.

Looking back at his third outing as Locarno’s artistic director Olivier Père commented in an exclusive interview with ScreenDaily that the 65th edition offered “a good formula presenting very high-level arthouse films with a lot of discoveries and young film-makers; and having the Piazza Grande which must be popular, entertaining and spectacular with world, international or European premieres as well as being a celebration of great names from cinema.”

“Locarno is one of the few festivals which is concerned with new discoveries both in the main programme as well as retrospectives and other sections devoted to the history of cinema,” Père continued. “The tributes that we are dedicating to all our guests give the possibility for the festival-goers to discover or rediscover their work and get a better sense of the artists via screenings and open masterclasses. This is a peculiarity of Locarno: to meet and honour people who make cinema.”

In response to criticism from some quarters about a seeming inflation of awards each evening on the Piazza Grande, Père countered: “We always had the tradition of giving awards like the Rezzonico Award and the Excellence Award, but all the other personalities we are celebrating with awards this year are connected in some way with the retrospective. We don’t have enough space on the Piazza Grande to show all the films of the people we are honouring.”

“For instance, we invited Harry Belafonte because of the Otto Preminger retrospective and asked him to introduce Carmen Jones, while Ornella Muti and Renato Pozzetto are connected to a tribute to Italian comedy. We want to express our esteem for their great contribution to the world of cinema. Certainly, they get a lot of media attention, but they are not just here for the red carpet or the TV, but also to introduce some of the best films and enter into a dialogue in masterclasses.”

At the same time, he expressed satisfaction with the inclusion of so many US indies in this year’s lineup – from Ruby Sparks through Starlet and Bachelorette to While We Here, among others.

“I think that a lot of American independent features are underrated and I want to present this new school of independent filmmakers coming from New York, Austin and Los Angeles,” he said. “I have never had so many American indies in all the sections as this year - in the Competition, Filmmakers of the Present and the Piazza Grande – so, it’s proof that it has been a good year.”

Meanwhile, in a first overview of this year’s festival, COO Marco Caccaimognaga reported that total admissions had increased slightly year-on-year from 2011’s 159,500 to 161,680 this year.

The 66th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will be held from Aug 7-17, 2013.

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