Scots-born, German director Iain Dilthey's austere The Longing (Das Verlangen) was the surprise winner of this year's International Competition in Locarno.
Dilthey's graduation film from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Film Academy won the top award of the Golden Leopard/Grand Prize of the City and Region of Locarno, with a purse worth CHF 90,000 (Euros 62,000) to be shared equally between director and producer. The CHF 30,000 (Euros20,000) Silver Leopard for second best film went to the Argentinian feature debutant Diego Lerman for Suddenly (Tan De Repente).
The International Competition jury headed by producer Cedomir Kolar presented its CHF 30,000 Special Jury Prize "for a film that best conveys the spirit of communication between people and culture" to the Iranian film I'm Taraneh, 15 (Man, Taraneh, Panzdah Sal Daram) by Rassul Sadr-Ameli. The CHF 30,000 Silver Leopard for best first or second feature went to Hungarian filmmaker Kornel Mundruczo for Pleasant Days (Szep Napok).
The Leopard for Best Actress went to Iranian actress Taraneh Allidousti for her performance in Sadr-Ameli's film against strong competition from the lead actresses of other competition entries such as Sophiiie!, Blue Moon and Meisje. The Leopard for Best Actor went to child actor Giorgos Karayannis for his performance in Greek director Penny Panayotopolou's Hard Goodbyes: My Father (Diskoli Apocheretismi: O Babas Mou). The jury also decided unanimously to give a special mention to the acting ensemble of Lerman's Suddenly "for the highly accomplished, elegant, heartfelt and precise performances".
Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI and Ecumenical Juries both awarded their prizes to Alain Raoust's La Cage. The International Federation of Cinema Clubs however gave its Don Quixote Prize to Suddenly noting "the director expertly handles all the elements - the camera, the composition, the script, the performances - to take us on an unexpected journey in which all the characters change and grow".
The CICAE/Arte Prize was awarded to director Dorothee Van den Berghe for her film Meisje, with a special mention for Jesper W. Nielsen's Okay. The Netpac Jury Prize for the promotion of Asian cinema went to Aparna Sen (Mr & Mrs Iver/India), Sobi al-Zobaidi (Obor Kalandia/Palestine), and Rakhshen Bani-Etemad (Our Times/Iran) and the Critics Week Prize to Samir's documentary Forget Baghdad - Jews and Arabs - The Iraqi Connection.
Finally, Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham - which screened on the last but one evening - was voted by festival-goers as the most popular film in this year's open-air programme on Locarno's Piazza Grande and awarded the "Prix du Public UBS".