The 14th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival ended yesterday (Jan 20) with Finland's The Man With A Past by Aki Kaurismaki winning the FIPRESCI prize for Best Official Foreign Language Film of the Year. In other awards, Nir Bergman won the new John Schlesinger Award for debut feature film for Broken Wings and the audience favourite went to OT: Our Town, a documentary by Scott Hamilton Kennedy.
The Man With A Past, which cleaned up at the Finnish film Jussi awards over the weekend, impressed the FIPRESCI jury panel "for the touching representation of a man who, in spite of tragic circumstances, reinvents himself without losing his humanity and humour. In a droll style and with deceptive simplicity, the film evokes a classical movie-making approach." The jury comprised Bojidar Manov from Bulgaria, (president), Susana Schild from Brazil, Bruce Kirkland from Canada, Barbara Lorey de LacharriËre from France and Robert Koehler from the US.
Nir Bergman's Israeli picture Broken Wings received the inaugural John Schlesinger Award for Debut Feature Film from X-Men director Bryan Singer. Honourable mentions went to India's Rahul Bose for Everybody Says I'm Fine and France's Christian Caron for The Girl From Paris. Schlesinger said in a statement: "My sincere thanks to the Palm Springs International Film Festival for their outstanding work supporting the world of cinema and its film-makers. I am honored that the festival is presenting this annual John Schlesinger Award to first-time film directors. I remember how important it was to me as a young film-maker when my first film, a documentary entitled Terminus, won the Berlin Film Festival Award. How important that was in launching my career. The best of luck to Nir and the other honourees for this award and may their creative journey in film-making be successful."