Cinemania announced today that the winner of its Prix du Public for a First Feature Film was awarded to Stéphane Cazes for his film Ombline. It was a unanimous win for Ombline as it was also awarded the Prix du Public Mel Hoppenheim (for fan favourite voted on by festival attendees). So this film about a young woman who finds out she is pregnant while in jail for three years, so she gives birth to her son in jail and then tries to convince a judge that she will be able to take care of Lucas after her release or he will be put up for adoption really resonated with critics and film goers alike. It must have been marvelous for rookie French filmmaker Cases to be on hand to see and feel the effect his moving film had on audiences.
Besides Stéphane Cazes there were other guests that dazzled at the 18th annual Cinemania. The tribute to actress/director Sandrine Bonnaire was also well appreciated by her and those in attendance. It was a unique opportunity to meet a respected artist at the height of her career. She was at several screenings throughout the festival presenting her latest film, Maddened By His Absence. Other guests included director Leila Albayaty (Berlin Telegram), director/actor Patrick Ridremont (Dead Man Talking) and actress Christa Theret (Renoir).
Cinemania has also become a festival in which film fans can attend and have the opportunity to see big French films before they are released widely here. This year we got sneak peeks of two films of that sort, Rust and Bone and Thérèse Desqueyroux, starring two of the biggest French actresses Marion Cotillard and Audrey Tatou. It has become a festival that services many communities and fills several film voids.