Mexican feature The Golden Dream (La jaula de oro) and French drama Suzanne take top prizes at Greek festival.

Scoll down for full list of winners

Diego Quemada-Diez’s Cannes winner The Golden Dream (La jaula de oro) added more trophies to its collection at the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival on Saturday (Nov 9).

The road movie about teenage Guatemalan immigrants and their journey to the US scooped the Golden Alexander for best film, the best director nod for Quemada, the audience (Fischer) award and the Greek Parliament trophy for “human values”.

The film won the Un Certain Regard – A Certain Talent Prize at Cannes, where it debuted in May, and also picked up Best International Feature Film at the Zurich Film Festival.

Suzanne, the portrait of a chaotic, unpredictable and fragile woman directed by Katell Quillevere was awarded second prize - the Silver Alexander.

The French drama also won the actress award for Sara Forestier, in the title role, and supporting actor trophy for Francois Damiens.

Both films have been acquired for distribution in Greece by Takis Veremis’ Strada Films.

The Bronze Alexander went to Venezuelan production Bad Hair (Pelo malo) directed by Mariana Rondon. The film was also awarded the Fipresci trophy.

Set in a poor area of Caracas, it centres on a young boy’s obsession with straightening his hair, which elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother.

The international jury comprised US director Alexander Payne; Romanian producer Ada Solomon; Cannes Directors Fortnight head Edouard Waintrop; Variety chief critic Scott Foundas; and Greek composer Konstantinos Vita.

Agora Industry awards

In the Crossroads co-production forum, the 2/35 Inc. award (full post image and sound worth €100,000)went to The Sea and its Waves, directed by Liana Kassir and Renaud Pachot.

It is produced by Kafard Films, Ginger Beirut Productions (Lebanon/France).

The French CNC development award, worth € 7,000, went to A History of Women, directed by Ülkü Oktay and produced by Onur Ünlü, Sebnem Vitrinel, Eflatun Film, Turkey.

In the Works in Progress section, the Graal award, including post production services worth €70,000, went to Next to Her, directed by Asaf Korman and produced by Haim Mecklberg and Estee Yacov - Mecklberg, 2-TEAM Production, Israel.

Festival highlights

Among this year’s highlights were the Jim Jarmusch press conference and his feature Only Lovers Left Alive, which opened the festival.

There were also homages to Argentinian cinema, French director Alain Guiraudie and Claire Simon, and to the 29th anniversary of the Balkan Survey section.

Other highlights includes the local premiere of Alexandros Avrana’s controversial Greek production MissViolence, which received numerous awards at Venice.

The festival wrapped with Alexander Payne’s Nebraska.

Ongoing challenges

A number of pending issues dogged the festival, chief among them the necessity to mend relations with the Greek Film Critics Association and the need to restructure the way the Greek annual production is presented in the event.

However, the greatest challenge facing next year’s event is finance.

In 2014, approximately €400,000 given to the festival each year by the European Union NRSF support scheme will not be available. It marks a transition year before the scheme starts operating again for the 2015-2020 period.

The amount represents around a quarter of TIFF’s overall budget of €1.6m.

The future of the festival’s four venues in the Pier is also a concern. The Port of Thessaloniki Authority ,which own the theatres, is renting them to the Village Cinemas exhibition chain for a year from Dec 1.

Discussions are underway to resolve the issue for next year’s festival as well as for sister documentary event Images of the 21st Century, held in March.

Next year’s festival will run from Oct 31 to Nov 9.

International jury awards

Golden Alexander: Theo Angelopoulos award to the best film
La Jaula de oro (The Golden Dream) by Diego Quemada-Diez (Mexico).

Silver Alexander: Special jury prize
Suzanne by Katell Quillevere (France).

Bronze Alexander: Special jury prize for originality and innovation
Pelo malo (Bad Hair) by Mariana Rondon (Venezuela).

Best director
Diego Quemada-Diez for The Golden Dream.

Best actor, ex aequo
Christos Stergioglou in the I Eonia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeva (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas) by Elina Psykou (Greece)


Jaime Vadell in La chupilca del Diablo (The Devil’s Liquor) by Ignacio Rodriguez (Chile)

Best actress
Sarah Forestier in Suzanne by Katell Quillevere (France).

Best Screenplay
Tae-gon Kim for Myeon-hue –Sunshine Boys, (South Korea) also directed by himself.

Artistic achievement
Francois Damiens, supporting actor in Suzanne by Katell Quillevere (France).

Special Mention
Mahmoud Lotfy for his cinematography in Al-khoroug lel-nahar (Coming Forth by Day) by Hala Lofty (Egypt).

Side Awards

Audience awards (Fischer)

Foreign film in competition
La Jaula de oro (The Golden Dream) by Diego Quemada-Diez (Mexico).

Open Horizons section
Papusza by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze

Greek film-Michael Cacoyiannis award (all sections)
I teleftea farsa (One Last Joke) by Vassilis Raisis

Balkan Survey section
Sveceniko va djeca (The Priest’s Children) by Vinko Bresan (Croatia)


Foreign film in competition
Pelo malo (Bad Hair) by Mariana Rondon (Venezuela).

Greek film-Michael Cacoyiannis award (Panorama of Greek films)
I Eonia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeva (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas) by Elina Psykou

Greek Parliament Award for human values
La Jaula de oro (The Golden Dream) by Diego Quemada-Diez (Mexico).