Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari won this year’s Grand Prix for her feature debut Attenberg at the 11th edition of the New Horizons International Film Festival which sold more than 110,000 tickets in its eleven days from July 21-31.
Accepting the award from last year’s Grand Prix winner Anocha Suwichakornpong, Tsangari said that she was “particularly moved” to receive this award at “a festival which respects and loves cinema” and dedicated her prize to her cast, crew and Greek cinema.
The New Horizons Internatonal Competition Jury, which also included filmmakers Denis Côté and Hugo Vieira da Silva, gave a Special Mention to Hungary’s Sándor Kardos whose Gravedigger also took home the FIPRESCI Award, while the International Film Guide Award was handed out to Nanouk Leopold’s Brownian Movement.
Meanwhile, the Audience Award went to Argentinian director Paula Markovitch’s debut The Prize which had been in competition at the Berlinale last February.
At the same time, Asia scored twice over in the Films On Art International Competition where the main prize was accepted in person by the leading Korean director Kim Ki-duk for his documentary Arirang and Special Mention to Pyuupiru 2001-2008 by Japan’s Daishi Matsunagi.
Thanks to the awards, Attenberg, Arirang, Gravedigger and The Prize have guaranteed theatrical and DVD distribution in Poland by the New Horizons Association, the organizer of the festival.
Last year’s winners, including the Grand Prix winner Mundane History and Audience Award laureate Le Quattro Volte, were included on a seven-title DVD box released to coincide with this year’s edition of the festival.
Meanwhile, the two prizes in this year’s New Polish Films Competition went to feature debuts: the PLN 100,000 Wroclaw Film Award was presented to It Looks Pretty From A Distance by co-directors Wilhelm and Anna Sasnal, and the PLN 40,000 prize for Best Debut went to Jan Komasa for Suicide Room which had its world premiere in the Berlinale’s Panorama Special section last February.
Handled internationally by Level K, Komasa’s techno-thriller was released in Polish cinemas in March by ITI Cinema and has posted over 1m admissions to date.
Komasa had originally planned to be in Wroclaw to accept the award in person, but had been called back at short notice on Saturday to Warsaw for a personal meeting with Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk. He was then prevented from returning to Wroclaw on Sunday by heavy rain which closed down Warsaw’s international airport.
There were suggestions that Komasa’s plans to make a film about the Warsaw Uprising could have been the reason for the appointment with Tusk, since today (August 1) will mark the 67th anniversary of the outbreak of the Uprising in 1944.
Filmmakers in attendance included Terry Gilliam, Bruno Dumont, Asghar Farhadi and Urszula Antoniak.
During this year’s New Horizons festival, French sales agent Wide Management announced that it has added another Polish film to its sales lineup with the acquisition of documentary filmmaker Rafael Lewandowski’s fiction feature debut The Mole (Kret). The story about the misadventures of a miner who was a member of the Solidarity movement under Communism is opening in Polish cinemas this Friday (Aug 5).
Wide Management’s roster of Polish titles includes Bartosz Konopka’s engrossing tale of a father-son relationship Fear of Falling which is his feature debut after the Oscar-nominated short Rabbit a la Berlin, Lech Majewski’s English language film The Mill And The Cross, with Michael York, Rutger Hauer and Charlotte Rampling, as well as the Romanian-Polish animated documentary Crulic – The Path To Beyond by Anca Damian which has its world premiere on Locarno’s Piazza Grande next weekend.
Arkadiusz Wojnarowski‘s Wroclaw-based Magellan Foundation served as Polish co-producer.
Meanwhile, New Horizons’ festival president Roman Gutek announced at the end of the awards ceremony that Mexican cinema will be the focus of the 2012 edition of the festival (July 19-29) with a retrospective dedicated to one of its key figures Carlos Reygadas as well as further retrospectives on the work of the veteran Serbian director Dusan Makaveyev, Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl and the experimental author Peter Tscherkassky.
New Horizons will also be staging the Funny Games EU programme of films for the European Culture Congress, which is being held in Wroclaw from September 8-11 to coincide with the Informal Meeting of EU Culture Ministers, and then organising the second American Film Festival (AFF) from November 15-20.