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New Horizons awards go to Thursday Till Sunday, Donoma, Punk Syndrome

Festival presents 469 films over 11 days; Fipresci prize goes to Neighbouring Sounds by Brazil’s Kleber Mendonca. Polish-Indian co-production talks becomes reality.

Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor Castillo’s Thursday Till Sunday won the Grand Prix at this year’s New Horizons International Film Festival (July 19-29) in Poland’s future European Capital of Culture, Wroclaw.

Castillo’s debut feature is an intimate story about the dissolution of a family seen through the eyes of two small children from the back of a car during a trip to northern Chile. It was one of the winners of the Tiger Award at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival and is handled internationally by FiGa Films.

Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize went to Neighbouring Sounds by Brazil’s Kleber Mendonca Filho (he had also received this prize when the film premiered in Rotterdam earlier this year), and New Horizons’ festival audience – which totalled 108,000 this year – voted French director Djin Carrénard’s no-budget debut Donoma for the Audience Award.

Moreover, the Films On Art Competition jury, which included James Benning, Rebecca de Pas and Sean Farnel, gave their prize to Punk Syndrome by Jukki Kärkkäinena and Jani-Petteri Passi.

The festival wrapped on Sunday evening with a screening of Walter Salles’ On The Road after the presentation of 469 films from 52 countries over 11 days.

This year also saw the staging of the third edition of New Horizons Studio, which was co-organised by the New Horizons Association with MEDIA Desk Poland and the London Film Academy.

The 24 participants came from Poland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Romania and Portugal and included Romanian actor-writer-director Florin Piersic, Jr., Polish director Jan Kwiecinski, Swiss filmmaker Niccolò Castelli, and Polish director Victoria Szymanska who had presented her documentary The Exercise Of Life about a marionette master at the Polish Days’ works in progress showcase.

The four days of workshops included presentations by UK producers Alex Boden and Ivana McKinnon, French producer Guillaume de Seille, Festivalscope co-founder Mathilde Henrot as well as Renata Czarnowska-Listos, the recently appointed head of the Film Agency at Polish National Television (TVP).

In addition, the Polish-born director Urszula Antoniak, who was a member of the main competition jury this year, gave a masterclass about her life as a filmmaker and her particular way of working.

Participants at the previous two editions of Studio have included the Polish filmmakers Katarzyna Roslaniec, Pawel Ferdek and Bartosz Warwas, composer Adrian Konarski, Portuguese producer Joao Figueiras, and Romanian director George Dorobantu.

On the festival’s sidelines, ScreenDaily learnt that, after five years of preparations, Poland and India have finally concluded an audiovisual co-production agreement.

The agreement, which is the fourth one Poland has entered into after France, Israel and Canada, was signed by Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture & National Heritage, and Ambiki Soni, India’s Minister of Information, Radio & Television.

In addition, French producer Guillaume de Seille of Arizona Films told Screen that he will be a co-producer on Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov’s Rhino which received the Best Project prize at the public pitching in Odessa last week. The project had previously won the Best Pitch Award in the Second Films section of the Sofia Meetings in March.

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