The 39th edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema wrapped Sunday  and bestowed its top prize, the Louve d’Or (Golden She-Wolf), to Michael Rowe’s Mexican experimental S&M picture Ano Bisiesto (Leap Year).
Earlier this year the film garnered the Camera D’Or at Cannes. The best Canadian film award went to Ryan Redford’s war vets film Oliver Sherman.
In French territories including Montreal, Leap Year is titled Annee Bissextile. It is a first feature for Australian playwright Rowe, who co-wrote the script with Lucia Carreras. The Louve d’Or includes a C$15,000 prize.
Adapted from the Rachel Ingalls short story Veterans, Oliver Sherman follows Sherman Oliver (Garret Dillahunt of Deadwood), a former soldier who struggles to put his life together seven years after being shot in the head.
The Quebec film critics’ association awarded its prize for best film to local director Maxime Giroux for Jo Pour Jonathan, a story of two brothers set in a bleak Montreal suburb.
The top acting award in the feature film category was split between young Georgian actor Avtandil Tetradze for Susa, a drama about a 12-year-old boy in the ex-Soviet country who survives by delivering illegal vodka, and Sibel Kekilli, who stars as an abused Turkish housewife who flees from Istanbul to Berlin with her five-year-old son in the German Academy Award foreign language submission Die Fremde (When We Leave).
The international jury of five also gave a special mention to the “ensemble cast” and “five thumbs up” to American entry Littlerock, which is reminiscent of the film style of Napoleon Dynamite.
The Loup Argente prize for best short film went to Divers In The Rain, a surrealist animation co-directed by Estonian film-makers Olga and Priit Parn.
Quebecers Anne Emond (for Sophie Lavoie) and Louis-Philippe Eno (for Jonathan Et Gabrielle) tied for the Grand Prix Focus award for best Canadian short film.
And the People’s Choice Award went to the feature-length revenge thriller Confessions by Japan’s Tetsuya Nakashima.