Bonjour M. Shlomi, an Israeli film written anddirected by Shemi Zarkhin, has won the two top prizes - best picture and bestscript - at the International Festroia film festival which wrapped on June 13,at Setubal, Portugal.
The coming-of-age story of an adolescent with an uncannygift for cooking who turns out to be a mathematical wizard to boot was alsocrowned as best film by the jury of the International Federation of FilmCritics (FIRPESCI).
Produced by Eitan Evan in Israel, the film is sold worldwideby Media Luna in Germany, which has already closed deals for most NorthEuropean countries as well as South Korea. A theatrical release is alreadyscheduled for July in US and France.
Other awards at Festroia include a special jury prize forAnette Olessen's In Your Hands (Denmark) as well as acting distinctionsfor Ann Petren's performance in Daybreak (Sweden) and Aslakur Ingvarssonfor Cold Light (Iceland). Two additional awards went to director MayMiles Thomas and cinematographer Neville Kidd for their work in Solid Air(Scotland).
Meanwhile, the 20 year old Festroia, the only internationalPortuguese film festival sanctioned by FIAPF, is seriously considering whetherit will ever reach its 21st anniversary, after the Portuguese culturalauthorities decided to cut off all their subsidies, leaving a 20% hole in theevent's modest budget.
The decision was made by a special commission put togetherby the Portuguese Film Institute, for the specific purpose of choosing whichnational film events are entitled to benefit from government help.Significantly, Festroia was the only applicant turned down, for reasons thathave not been officially specified, with festival director Fernanda Silva leftwondering on what grounds they have been rejected, since she says no representativeof the Institute ever took the trouble to come over and attend the festival inperson prior to forming an opinion.
By the end of the festival, following the negative reactiontheir decision had in the media and a letter of protest they have received fromthe CICAE, praising the festival's activities, the Film Institute hinted thatan error might have taken place and their position could change when nextyear's budget will be discussed.