Alias Maria awarded Best Film at the 31st Haifa International Film Festival
by Jesús Silva
- The co-production between Colombia, Argentina and France won the Camel Award for Best Film, while The Brand New Testament received the FEDEORA Award
The 31st Haifa International Festival has closed its list of winners, with several European co-productions awarded from among the selection of over 180 films that were presented this year. The juries in the international competitive sections chose movies that were both poetic and inspirational, boasting a strong social dimension concerning youth and old age. The main prize went to Alias Maria [+see also:
film profile] by José Luis Rugeles, a co-production between Argentina, France and Colombia, where the story takes place. The journey of a 13-year-old guerrilla soldier, offering a devastating insight into the impact of Colombia’s armed conflict, really stood out in the race for the Camel Award for Best Film. The jury, chaired by renowned Israeli director Eran Riklis, gave the Special Mention to another co-production (between Japan, France and Germany), An [+see also:
film profile] by Naomi Kawase.
The winner of the Tobias Szpancer Award, handed out in the Between Judaism and Israelism Competition, was the Polish-Israeli feature Demon [+see also:
film profile] by Marcin Wrona, whose passing was mourned during the festival. The third movie by the Polish director “succeeds in conveying the absence of the Jewish community from Polish society and culture”, according to the jury, which also offered their condolences to the filmmaker's family. The Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean (FEDEORA) awarded its prize to Jaco Van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament [+see also:
interview: Jaco van Dormael
film profile], the Belgian contender for the Oscars 2016, praising its rich and visual cinematic language.
As for the Israeli Competitions, we also find a number of Israeli-French co-productions among the victors, such as Afterthought by Elad Keidan, the winner of the Haifa Cultural Foundation Feature Film Award – and previously awarded for Best Screenplay at the Ophir Awards - and Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me [+see also:
interview: Hadar Morag
film profile] by Hadar Morag, which racked up a double triumph with the Anat Pirchi Award for Best Feature Debut and the FEDEORA Award to an Israeli Filmmaker, an outstanding achievement for a debut feature relying on a non-professional cast.
It is worth mentioning that prestigious documentary filmmaker Claude Lanzmann was honoured at the 31st edition of the gathering with the Lifetime Achievement Award 2015. There were screenings of his most remarkable works, as well as conversations and master classes with young filmmakers.
Further information on the list of winners can be found here.