'Banel & Adama'

Source: Cannes Film Festival

‘Banel & Adama’

Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s first feature, Banel & Adama, has won the $96,500 (A$140,000) Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Bright Horizons Award, it was announced at Forum Theatre at the closing night gala today (August 19).

Banel & Adama, which is in the Pulaar language and features a cast of non-professionals, was the only debut in competition in Cannes this year. Only first and second time directors are eligible for the Bright Horizons Award.

The director was born and raised in Paris but draws on her Senegalese ancestry to tell this story about Banel and Adama, who are passionately in love, marry after the death of Banel’s first husband – Adama’s brother – and refuse to comply with what’s expected of them by other villagers.

Mexican director-actor Lila Avilés’ Tótem, a family portrait and a child’s view of love, loss and life, received a special mention from the jury, which was presided over by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, co-directors of last year’s inaugural Bright Horizons Award winner Neptune Frost.

Hello Dankness, from Australian-born US-based art film siblings Dan and Dominique Angeloro, who go by the name Soda Jerk, won the $A70,000 innovation award. As usual, they have reappropriated others’ films and reassembled them at a frenetic pace for this new work, which dwells on Donald Trump, Covid among other subjects.

Adrian Russell Wills and Gillian Moody, co-directors of the documentary Kindred, won the $A20,000 First Nations Film Creative Award, which also comes with A$25,000 worth of legal services. The pair are close friends and grew up in white families and this compelling film traces what happens when they seek out their indigenous families. Only Australians are eligible for these two awards.

The MIFF schools youth jury voted Thomas Charles Hyland’s This Is Going To Be Big their favourite film. The documentary is about the students of a specialist school near Melbourne putting on a musical.

The short film awards were announced a week ago with the A$12,500 Grand Prix going to Fox Maxy’s F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now from the US. There were 11 programs of shorts in the 18-day festival, which opened on 3 August.

The cinema component of the festival finishes Sunday, but online screenings run until 27 August.