Oray triumphs at the 35th Mons Film Festival
by Emma Vigand
- Despite the measures taken by the Belgian government to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Mons Film Festival was able to announce the winners of its 2020 edition via its website on Friday
The 35th edition of the Mons International Film Festival opened on Thursday 5 March and was scheduled to close on Friday 13 March, with the films in contention for the various festival awards all tackling the theme of love from different angles, from the most common to the most unique. 66 feature films were presented, including 39 Belgian premieres, 16 shorts and 83 public screenings, 41 of which unfolded in the presence of their film teams. The festival welcomed close to a hundred guests, hosting a variety of conferences, tributes, meetings, industry gatherings and evening events to boot.
Despite the last-minute cancellation of the closing ceremony due to the measures taken by the Belgian government to contain the spread of COVID-19, the festival was nonetheless able to announce the winners of its 2020 edition on its website last Friday. The international jury, for its part, was composed of French actor Richard Anconina (jury president), French actor Finnegan Oldfield, Belgian director Philippe Van Leeuw, Swiss producer Elena Tatti, French actress Anne Girouard, French-Burkinabe actor, director and slam-dancer Jacky Ido and French actress India Hair.
The Grand Prix, first and foremost, was awarded to Oray [+see also:
interview: Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
film profile] by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay. The German feature had already claimed the Best First Film trophy at the Berlinale in 2019 and that of Best Film at the Lecce European Film Festival in the same year. The movie tells the tale of Oray, a second-generation Muslim who lives in the German town of Hagen with his wife Burcu. One day, in the heat of an argument, Oray repeats the word "talaq" - the Muslim word used to repudiate one’s wife - three times. According to his imam, this carries serious consequences: Oray and Burcu must divorce. The former is henceforth faced with a dilemma: should he stay true to his wife or to his community? This film also walked away with the Cineuropa Prize.
The Mons Film Festival also welcomed a Belgian Jury composed of professionals from the Belgian film industry, but also professionals from the art, media and entertainment worlds. The Jury chose its winner from the various works appearing in the new parallel competition section; namely international feature films which demonstrate an original, radical and caustic approach as regards the theme of love, in terms of both their aesthetics and plot. The Belgian Jury crowned Léo Karmann’s Simon’s Got A Gift [+see also:
film profile] the winner of this parallel competition.
The festival will return next year, between 5 – 12 March, for its 36th edition.
The list of 2020 winners is as follows:
Best acting performance
Zejhem Demirov, Deniz Orta - Oray
Oray - Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
City of Mons Audience Award
Felicità - Bruno Merle
Award for Best Belgian Short
Je serai parmi les amandiers - Marie Le Floc’h
Press Award for Best Belgian Short
Détours - Christopher Yates
(Translated from French)
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