The Heiresses (Las herederas) by Marcelo Martinessi has won the best film award (Golden Athena) at the 24th Athens International Film Festival (September 19-30).
The film, an international coproduction by Paraguay, Uruguay, Germany, Brazil, Norway and France, is a socially charged drama placing a loving couple of two mid aged women in a stressful situation of intense imbalance. It is sold worldwide by French outfit Luxbox.
Paraguayan Martinessi’s debut premiered in Berlinale last February where it won the Alfred Bauer award for best first film, the Fipresci trophy and the best actress award for interpreter Ana Brun. Weird Wave is the Greek distributor.
The five-member international jury chaired by Israeli director Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir, The Congress) judging the 15-strong competition awarded the best director trophy to Mexico’s Alonso Ruizpalacios for Museo (Museum) starring Gael Garcia Bernal.
The real-life road movie/thriller reenacting the theft by two young students of a number of archeological treasures from the National Museum of Anthropology, which shocked Mexico in 1985, had previously received the best screenplay award at this year’s Berlinale for Manuel Alcala and Ruizpalacios. World sales are handled by US-based Friendly Planet. Spentzos Film bought the film for Greece.
The German social drama In the Aisles (In den Gangen), Thomas Stuber’s second directorial outing dealing with the daily routine of a shy supermarket worker received the best screenplay award for Clemens Mayer and Stuber.
The film, sold internationally by German Beta Cinema, had received the Ecumenical prize earlier this year at the Berlinale. It will be released in Greece by Strada and Seven Films.
The Fischer Audience award went to the Icelandic, Swedish, Belgian co-production And Breathe Normally (Andid Edlilega) where Iceland’s Isold Uggadottir, making her feature debut, explores the bond between a single mother working as a passport controller at an airport in Iceland and another unmarried woman from Guinea-Bissau who is trying to travel illegally to Canada. The film received this year the best directing award in the Sundance World Dramatic Competition and is sold by The Match Factory. It and was acquired for theatrical release in Greece by Ama Films.
In the Documentaries International Competition a separate five-member jury headed by Greek director Menelaos Karamangiolis awarded the best film award to the Hungarian production A Woman Captured (Egy no Fogsagban) where debutante Bernadett Tuza-Ritter deals with the subject of exploitation of in-house woman workers. World rights are handled by Canadian Syndicado Film Sales.
A special mention went to the US production Bisbee ’17 directed by Robert Greene, which explores the brutal killing of 1200 miner migrants in the small American town in 1917. UK’s Met Films handles world sales.
In the Greek competition, reserved for first films, Nancy Biniadakis’ Greek-German half-experimental debut was the recipient of the best film award.
The festival hosted, among its 14 sections, homages and retrospectives for Ingmar Bergman, the Polish cinema, women film makers, veteran Greek master Georges Panousopoulos and Pawel Pawlikowski who took the trip to Athens to present his Cannes 2018 best director awarded Cold War which opened the festival.