FESTIVALS: Alcarras, The Novelist’s Film win top awards in Berlin

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Catalan filmmaker Carla Simon’s Alcarras won the Golden Bear for best film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival (February 10-20), while The Novelist’s Film, from Korean auteur Hong Sangsoo, took the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize.

Alcarras, a Catalan-language drama follows a family who are about to be evicted from their land in Catalonia. The film is a Spanish-Italian co-production, sold internationally by Paris-based MK2 Films. The Novelist’s Film revolves around a female novelist who is suffering from writer’s block and decides to make a film. Seoul-based Finecut is handling interantional sales. 

The Silver Bear Jury prize went to Robe Of Gems, directed by Bolivian-Mexican filmmaker Natalia Lopez Gallardo, while the Silver Bear for best director went to France’s Claire Denis for Both Sides Of The Blade

Meltem Kaptan was awarded the Silver Bear for best leading performance for Andreas Dresen’s Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush, a German-French co-production about a Turkish mother trying to save her son from Guantanamo, which also took the Silver Bear for best screenplay (Laila Stieler). Indonesia’s Laura Basuki won the Silver Bear for best supporting performance for Kamila Andini’s Nana (Before, Now & Then)

The Silver Bear for best outstanding artistic contribution went to Cambodia’s Rithy Panh and Sarit Mang for Rithy Panh’s Everything Will Be OK, while Drii Winter won an artistic contribution special mention for Michael Koch’s A Piece Of Sky

Berlin’s competition jury was headed by M. Night Shyamalan and also included Karim Ainouz, Said Ben Said, Anne Zohra Berrached, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Connie Nielsen. 

In the Encounters competition, Austria’s Ruth Beckermann won best film for her documentary Mutzenbacher, while Switzerland’s Cyril Schaublin took best director for Unrest

The Special Jury Award in the Encounters section went to See You Friday, Robinson from Iranian filmmaker Mitra Farahani. The GWFF Best First Feature award went to Sonne, a Vienna-set drama about a young Kurdish woman, directed by Kurdwin Ayub and produced by Ulrich Seidl. 

Myanmar Diaries, which premiered in the Panorama section, took the Berlinale Documentary Award. The film was shot by an anonymous group of filmmakers known as the Myanmar Film Collective. Nigerian filmmaker Ike Nnaebue’s No U-Turn was granted a Special Mention. 

In the Generation Kplus section, the Crystal Bear for best film went to Comedy Queen, directed by Sweden’s Sanna Lenken, with The Quiet Girl, from Ireland’s Colm Bairéad, taking a special mention. 

The Crystal Bear for best film in the Generation 14plus section went to Alis, a Colombia- Chile-Romania co-production, directed by Clare Weiskopf and Nicolas van Hemelryck. US filmmaker Jamie Sisley’s Stay Awake was granted a Special Mention. 

The Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus went ex-aequo to Belgian film Kind Hearts, from Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes, and Skhema, directed by Kazakhstan’s Farkhat Sharipov.