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FESTIVALS Estonia

Autumn Ball wins top award at Marrakech

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First-time Estonian director Veiko Õunpuu had the honour of being presented with the Golden Star for Best Film by French diva Catherine Deneuve at the 7th Marrakech International Film Festival (December 7-15).

Õunpuu’s ensemble piece Autumn Ball [+see also:
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, on the lives of six people in a tower block built during the Soviet era, was preferred over 14 other titles, including Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s Actresses [+see also:
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. The jury presided over by Milos Forman said: “It wasn’t easy to choose between very different films representing different cultures.”

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Autumn Ball first came to international attention at this year’s Venice Film Festival, where it won the Horizons Award (see news). The low budget film produced by Katrin Kissa also won six awards earlier this month at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (see news). Kissa is still negotiating world distribution for the Estonian hit.

Other award winners in Marrakech include Alexey Mizgirev’s The Hard-Hearted (Russia) and Brillante Ma Mendoza’s Slingshot (Philippines), ex aequo winners of the Jury Prize; Tommi Korpela, named Best Actor for his striking role in A Man’s Job [+see also:
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; and Yu Yun-mi, Best Actress for With a Girl of Black Soil (South Korea).

Over 110 films from 23 different countries screened during the festival, which was attended by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Claude Miller, Shekar Kapur and John Hurt, among others.

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