British director Paul Morrison's Wondrous Oblivion won the top Golden Gryphon prize at the Giffoni International Film Festival (19th - 26th July), one of the world's leading festivals dedicated to children and youth-oriented films.
Written and directed by Morrison, who earned an Oscar nomination in 2000 for his debut feature, Solomon And Gaenor, Wondrous Oblivion is set in England in the 1960s. It tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy who is passionate about cricket but incapable of playing the game, and the racial discrimination faced by a cricket-loving Jamaican family who move in next door.
The picture, which was competing in the Free-to-Fly section judged by three hundred 12-14 year-olds from around the world, is sold wordwide by Pathe International.
The 33rd festival's Grand Jury Prize was won by Together, Chen Kaige's tale of a brilliant 13 year-old violinist who comes to Beijing with his father from their provincial city in search of a good music teacher.
The top prize in the Y-Generation category, which is judged by 15-19 year-olds, was awarded to One Day Ticket To Mombasa. Directed by Finnish director Hannu Tuomainen, the film focuses on a terminally ill 17 year-old and his road trip across Finland with another young hospital patient. The film also won the category's Grand Jury Prize.
AAA Achille, Giovanni Albanese's Italian comedy starring Sergio Rubini, scooped the top prize in the First Screens section, judged by 9-12 year-olds.
Guests who mingled with and answered the questions of young jury members at this year's edition included Juliette Lewis, Ian McKellen and Jon Voight.
Giffoni is active throughout the year: it organises Movie Days to bring Italian school children to the cinema in Giffoni to watch movies and participate in debates. It also screens films to children in hospitals, and hosted a Media Salles conference on children's cinema earlier this month.