Other winners include An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Una Noche, Teddy Bear and Searching for Sugar Man.
The Swiss-French coproduction Sister (L’enfant d’en haut) directed by Ursula Meier was named Best Film of the international competition at the 18th Athens International Film Festival-Cosmote.
The film, which had a special mention earlier this year in Berlin, received the Golden Athena decided by a Youth Jury formed by young students of cinema schools aged 18-25.
Sister, which was acquired for distribution in Greece by Seven Films, deals with the relation between a young woman and her adolescent brother living modestly in a town near a luxury ski resort.
Best Director went to Terence Nance for An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (US), a docu-drama dealing with a journey of self-realization through the experience of love.
Best Screenplay went to Lucy Malloy for the US-UK-Cuba coproduction Una Noche, already awarded in Tribeca for its three actors. Malloy also directed the story of a group of young people who decide to escape Cuba and cross the 90 miles of ocean to Miami.
Another debut feature, Madds Matthiesen’s Teddy Bear, was the recipient of the Audience Award. The Danish production, which received the best director award at Sundance, was acquired for distribution in Greece by Takis Veremi’s Strada Films. It deals with the troubled relationship between a solitary bodybuilder with his aging and oppressive mother.
Films in the other competitive section, “Music and Film”. were judged by an international jury formed by film and music critics, and the Golden Athina for this section went to the Swedish-UK coproduction Searching for Sugar Man directed by Malik Bendjelioul. The feature documentary looks at the legacy of the folk singer-composer Sixto Rodriguez, who was lauded as a superstar in South Africa while he worked in obscurity in the US.
A special mention was awarded to Academy awarded Kevin Macdonald for his much praised Marley, the biopic dealing with the life of the Jamaican reggae legend.
In the Greek competition section reserved to first films, the Best Director award was given to Ilias Dimitriou for Fish n’ Chips, a dramatic comedy on the efforts of a London resident Cypriot running a fish and chips eatery to move his business to his native Cyprus.
The newcomer actor award was handed to Diomidis Koufteros in the same film, and the newcomer actress award to Kika Georgiou for her part in George Gikapeppas’ City of Children.
Chamomile by Neritan Zinxhiria was the big winner in the short films national section, a new programme this year that boasted 65 titles.
The best direction award was shared between Yiannis Bereris for Endimia and Romanos Argiropoulos Ioannou for Munchies.
Best screenplay was awarded to Pavlos Methenitis and Kostas Gerabinis for Iceberg.
Filmakers attending the event and conducting master classes included Christian Petzold (Barbara) and Philippe Fallardeau (Monsieur Lazard). Fatih Akin (Polluting Paradise) was also present and offered a DJ performance.
Hommages put together by the festival artistic director Orestis Andreadakis included those to maverick American director and screenwriter Whit Stillman who also conducted a master class, to the 100th anniversary of the legendary Nikkatsu Japanese studio as well as to Jonathan Demme for his Neil Young trilogy.
Beasts of the Southern Wild was the closing film at the gala awards.