Hedi tops Athens awards
by Joseph Proimakis
- Mohamed Ben Attia’s Tunisian-set Franco-Belgian co-production won the Golden Athena, while Operation Avalanche picked up directing honours
In as modest an affair as the Athens International Film Festival’s closing ceremonies usually are, Mohamed Ben Attia’s Tunisian-set drama, Hedi [+see also:
film profile], added the Golden Athena to its Berlinale Best First Feature and Best Actor Silver Bear Awards on Saturday night. The Golden Athena is also accompanied by a €1,500 prize.
Following the story of a young man struggling his way through social conventions in Tunisia and enduring his mother’s attempts to dominate his life, Mohamed Ben Attia’s debut stars Majd Mastoura as the titular character, who has his world turned upside-down when he meets Rym (Rym Ben Messaud), a man who shows him that true life lies beyond conventions. The film is a Tunisian, French and Belgian co-production.
Matt Johnson’s Operation Avalanche (USA), which tells the story of four CIA agents sent to infiltrate NASA, but, in the process, stumble upon the titillating conspiracy of the fake moon-landing, picked up the Best Directing Award, thus earning it its first international festival win.
Headed by BFI programmer Nicola Gallani, the AIFF’s five-member International Jury also handed out the Best Screenplay Award to Babak Anvari’s inventive horror film Under the Shadow [+see also:
film profile] (UK/Jordan/Qatar/Iran), set during the 1988 Tehran bombings, in which a family is set upon by an unidentified evil force. Meanwhile, both the Audience Award and the Jury’s Special Mention where handed to Michael Dudok de Wit’s dialogue-free animated film The Red Turtle [+see also:
film profile] (Japan/France/Belgium), which follows the major life stages of a castaway on a tropical island.
The Best Greek Newcomer Awards were handed out earlier in the festival, with Joyce Nashawati’s Thessaloniki International Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize-winning Blind Sun [+see also:
film profile] (Greece/France) earning her the Best New Director Award, and Suntan [+see also:
interview: Argyris Papadimitropoulos
film profile] star Elli Triggou picking up Best New Actress, while the Best New Actor award was split between Yiannis Niaros for Mythopathy, and Alexandros Vardaxoglou for Venice-contender, Interruption [+see also:
interview: Daphné Patakia
interview: Yorgos Zois
Here is the complete list of the AIFF award-winners:
City of Athens Award for Best Directing
Matt Johnson – Operation Avalanche
The Red Turtle – Michael Dudok de Wit
Short Film Competition
Limbo – Konstantina Kotzamani
Second Best Film
Fox – Jacqueline Lentzou
Konstantina Kotzamani – Limbo
Alexandros Skouras – Cube
Yorgos Karvelas – Limbo
Nikos Zeginoglou – Fox
Elena Topalidou – Hela Ar I Lund
Special Jury Award
Aurelia – Christos Bourandas and Kreon Krionas