Montreal World Film Festival 2011 Wrap-Up

The most prestigious of the many film festivals that happen in Montreal is the Montreal World Film Festival.  It celebrated its 35th birthday at this year’s edition and is looking strong going into its middle age.

Films at the festival whether they came from Japan, Germany, Iran, Poland, or anywhere else in the world connected with moviegoers on a deep level.  Film, no matter the language or culture, is the great purveyor or communicator of the human condition.  We can all feel for and relate to films of numerous cultures.  And that is the beauty of film as it brings us all closer together.

A film that sorta came out of nowhere to make an impression on everyone who saw it was the Belgian film, North Sea Texas.  Directed by Bavo Defurne and adapted from a novel by Andre Sollie, the film is a coming-of-age story about a young boy and first love with another boy.  It was one of the hits of the festival.

Another highlight was the night they awarded the Grand Prize of the Americas, a special award for contribution to film, to French screen legend Catherine Deneuve.  This film icon has worked with Roman Polanski, Omar Sharif, Jack Lemmon, Marcello Mastroianni, Burt Reynolds, Gerard Depardieu, and Francois Truffaut.

As usual there was much competition for the awards handed out and I don’t envy the jury members who had to make the decisions.  Here is the list of winners:

Award Winners:

FEATURE FILMS

Grand prix des Americas:
(COME AS YOU ARE) HASTA LA VISTA by Geoffrey Enthoven (Belgium)

Special Grand Prix of the jury :
CHRONICLE OF MY MOTHER by Masato Harada (Japan)

Best Director:
DER BRAND (THE FIRE) by Brigitte Maria Bertele (Germany)

Best Actress :
FATEHMEH MOTAMED-ARYA for the film HERE WITHOUT ME by Bahram Tavakoli (Iran)

Best Actor ex-aequo:
BORYS SZYC for the film KRET (THE MOLE) by Rafael Lewandowski (Poland)
DANNY HUSTON for the film PLAYOFF by Eran Riklis (Israel-France)

Best Screenplay:
L’ART D’AIMER (THE ART OF LOVE) by Emmanuel Mouret, screenplay by Emmanuel Mouret (France)

Best Artistic Contribution :
TATANKA by Giuseppe Gagliardi (Italy)

Innovation Award:
LIFE BACK THEN by Takahisa Zeze (Japan)

SHORT FILMS :
1st prize :
DANS LE CADRE (IN THE FRAME) by Philippe Lasry (France)

Jury Award:
NADIE TIENE LA CULPA (IT’S NOBODY’S FAULT) by Esteban Crespo (Spain)

ZENITHS FOR THE BEST FIRST FICTION FEATURE FILMS 2010

Golden Zenith for the Best First Fiction Feature films :
IN OUR NAME by Brian Welsh (United Kingdom)

Silver Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film :
NORDZEE, TEXAS by Bavo Defurne (Belgium)

Bronze Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film :
AQUI ENTRE NOS (BETWEEN US) by Patricia Martinez de Velasco (Mexique)

Special mention of the First Feature Film Jury:
UN BAISER PAPILLON (A BUTTERFLY KISS) by Karine Silla Perez (France)

PUBLIC AWARDS

The public was invited to vote for the most popular films in different categories:

Public Awards for the most popular film of the Festival:
COME AS YOU ARE (HASTA LA VISTA) by Geoffrey Enthoven (Belgium)

Cinemathèque québécoise Public Award for the most popular Canadian Feature Film:
COTEAU ROUGE d’André Forcier (Canada)

Glauber Rocha Award for the Best Latin American Film :
EL DEDO (THE FINGER) by Sergio Teubal (Argentina/Mexico)

Award for Best documentary :
NICKY’S FAMILY (NICKYHO RODINA) by Matej Minac (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
BITTER TASTE OF FREEDOM by Marina Goldovskaya (Sweden/Russia)

Award for Best Canadian Short Film :
OVERCAST by Velislav Kazakov (Canada)

FIPRESCI PRIZE (FIPRESCI Prize for a film in the World Competition):
BLACK THURSDAY (CZARNY CZWARTEK) by Antoni Krauze (Poland)
FIPRESCI PRIZE (FIPRESCI Prize for a film in the First Films Competition):
NORDZEE, TEXAS by Bavo Defurne (Belgium)

ECUMENICAL PRIZES
DAVID by Joel Fendelman (U.S.A.)
Special mention of the Ecumenical jury :
COME AS YOU ARE (HASTA LA VISTA) by Geoffrey Enthoven (Belgium)

OTHER AWARDS
Special Awards for their exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art :
CATHERINE DENEUVE (France)
GINETTE RENO (Canada)
VICTOR LOEWY (Canada)

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