Hans Petter Moland’s comedy-drama A Somewhat Gentle Man has been awarded the Crystal Arrow at the closing ceremony of the second Les Arcs Film Festival; Even The Rain took three prizes.

The Jury Prize went to Aleksei Uchitel’s adventure-romance The Edge, while Peter Mullan’s Neds won the Best Cinematography Award.

Jasna Djuricic took the Best Actress Award for her performance in White White World and Juan Carlos Aduviri won the Best Actor Award for his turn in Even The Rain.

Iciar Bollain’s historical-drama also received the Public Prize and the Young Jury Prize, voted on by local secondary-school children.

The Cineuropa Award, given to a film produced or co-produced by a country within the MEDIA programme or Eurimages, went to Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal’s animated romance Chico & Rita.

The jury, presided over by Thomas Vinterberg, and comprising Connie Nielsen, Jonathan Zaccaï, Deborah François, Philippe Djian and Zbigniew Preisner, praised A Somewhat Gentle Man for its “depth, humanity, humour, toughness and tenderness”.

Earlier this year the film was nominated for a Golden Bear in Berlin.

The second edition of the Les Arcs Film Festival, programmed by Director’s Fortnight programmer Frederic Boyer, included a focus on Danish cinema, and drew in over 10,000 spectators. Boyer arranged four sections, which included a number of national premieres.

The professional events at the festival included a co-production village featuring 20 productions from across Europe, ‘DIRE Days’, a forum at which independent European distributors screened films to over 100 exhibitors; case studies; a film schools village and the inaugural Ski Cup, a slalom competition for industry professionals.

Speaking to Screen during the event the festival’s secretary general Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin disclosed that next year’s event would feature a special focus on Italy: “We’ve previously focused on the east and the north, now we want to go to the south and Italy is one of the most important countries for film in the world.”  

He also confirmed that the festival would be expanding to include a summer workshop for young writers and directors working on their second and third features.

During the festival Florence Aviles, head of production and distribution at French film financier IFCIC, confirmed the go-ahead of the MEDIA Production Guarantee Fund, which will be administered by IFCIC and Spain’s AGR.  

Each government backed body will receive €4m to guarantee bank loans totalling €66m to producers from any country operating within the MEDIA programme.

Aviles told Screen that she expected the fund to be operational by March 2011.

F&ME producer Sam Taylor praised the festival’s combination of work and play: “Jeremy [Jeremy Zelnik, professional events manager] has done a brilliant job. There are high calibre French buyers and distributors here.You can meet people in the morning and ski down the slopes in the afternoon and chat with them afterwards. It’s a much better relationship than goes on at other festivals where there’s a blind date set-up.”

Jury president Thomas Vinterberg echoed Taylor’s sentiments:”I think they have a success going on here in Les Arcs. They have a wonderful ski resort, some really good people, they’re building a market and they have good taste in films. They have people with real integrity and their heart is in the right place”.