Chilean director Orlando Lubbert was the surprise winner Saturday Oct 28, at the 49th annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, walking away with the Golden Shell award for best film for the little-known A Cab For Three (Taxi Para Tres).
Jury president Claude Chabrol's reading of the top prize was met with boos and whistles from the mostly local press gathered. Other awards received enthusiastic applause, particularly Spanish titles Work In Progress (En Construccion), which was given a special award for being "a tale that refers to many aspects of life in today's Spain, narrated with original cinematographic talent," and Madness Of Love (Juana La Loca), which garnered a best actress Silver Shell for up-and-coming young actress Pilar Lopez de Ayala.
Jean-Pierre Ameris took home the best director prize for French drama C'est La Vie, while Philippe Harel, Benoit Poelvoorde and Olivier Dazat shared the best screenplay award for French comedy Ghislain Lambert's Bike (Le Velo De Ghislain Lambert). Roman Osin won best photography for debut UK director Asif Kapadia's epic The Warrior, and Duzgun Ayhan walked away with the Silver Shell for best actor for Nino Jacusso's Escape To Paradise.
The New Directors' jury awarded Mexican director Gerardo Tort its top prize for drama Streeters (De La Calle), while Petter Naess got a special mention for Norwegian title Elling.
Among the films to walk away empty-handed were Tim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone featuring Harvey Keitel, one of the few American stars to make the trip to San Sebastian following the terrorist attacks in the US, and Danish Dogme title Truly Human (Et Rigtigt Menneske), a festival favorite which went home with the International Catholic Organization for Cinema's award.
Other awards handed out included: sponsor ya.com's pearl of the audience award for Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land; the youth jury's award to Elling; the FIPRESCI prize to Work In Progress and special mention to Escape To Paradise; and the newly created Made In Spanish prize to Argentine title Bolivia from writer-director Adrian Israel Caetano.