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14-N-09: Winners of the Seville European Film Festival 2009

If you’re sick of crap-tacular blockbusters, the Seville European Film Festival was your chance to take a peek at cinema being created across Europe: the good, the bad and the ugly. The 2009 edition is over, awarding the Giraldillo de Oro to the film Lourdes directed by Jessica Hausner.


By:  Cecilia Bogaard
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A unique opportunity to watch European cinema in the heart of Seville, the Seville European Film Festival 2009 was jam-packed with films from across the continent. The prizes give a quick glimpse of all that was on offer, but what was most exciting was the opportunity to see European cinema on the big screen at the Lope de Vega and various screens at Nervión Plaza.

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This years invited guest country was the UK with a section of British Shorts, the latest trends from UK filmmakers, a selection of films by Nicolas Roeg and the Jeremy Thomas section including classics such as If (Lindsay Anderson 1968), The Innocents (Jack Clayton 1961), Kes (Ken Loach 1969), Oliver! (Carlo Reed 1968) and Oh, what a lovely war! (Richard Attenborough 1969).

For those of you interested in seeing what’s up on the Andalusian film scene, there was a section titled Panorama andaluz. Amongst these titles we’d highlight Brecha by the director Iván Noel and and for interesting and thought-provoking subject matter La Escuela Expandida directed by Julio Sánchez Velga.

If you love documentaries, the section Eurodocs hit the spot. With films such as Bananas! (Fredrik Gertten), The Jazz Baroness (Hannah Rothschild), Videocracy (Erik Gandini) and Plastic planet (Yves Hinant) you were sure to find something to whet your appetite.

And the winners are…

· The Giraldillo de Oro Official Selection, for best film competing in the official selection, has been awarded to Lourdes (Austria, France, Germany) directed by Jessica Hausner. The prize? 50,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. “Christine has been confined to a wheelchair for most of her life. In order to escape her isolation, she makes a journey to Lourdes, the iconic site of pilgrimage in the Pyrenees mountains. She wakes up one morning seemingly cured by a miracle. The leader of the pilgrimage group, a handsome 40-year-old volunteer from the Order of Malta, begins to take an interest in her. She tries to hold on to this newfound chance for happiness, while her cure provokes envy and admiration.”

· The Giraldillo de Plata Official Selection has been awarded to the film Nothing Personal (Holland, Ireland) directed by Urszula Antoniak. The prize? 25,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. A subtle film about a young Dutch girl travelling around Ireland in search of solitude. On her journey she meets a man living in a remote and beautiful house. He gives her work on his land. She agrees with one condition: There will be nothing personal between them. A quiet and simply stunning film.

· The Special Jury Award has been awarded to the film 44 Inch Chest (UK), directed by Malcolm Venville. The prize? 25,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. The story of a group of friends who kidnap one of their wives lovers to teach him a lesson. But once they’ve got him, they aren’t quite sure what to do with him.

· The Best Director Award has been awarded to the Hungarian director Roland Branik for his film Transmission (Hungary). The Prize? 15,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. “Transmission’ is an absurd tragicomedy set in an anti-utopia world; a world in which all the screens have stopped functioning. TVs don’t broadcast, computer monitors are empty, the entire telecommunication industry is gone”.

· The Giraldillo de Oro for Best Documentary Film has been awarded to the film Garbo, The Man Who Saved the World (Spain) directed by Edmon Roch. The prize? 20,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. The story of a Spanish double agent from World War II.

· The Eurimages Award has been awarded to the film Tears of April (Finland, Germany, Greece) from Finnish director Aku Louhimies. The prize? 30,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. “Set during the Finnish Civil War in 1918, this film tells the story of a man and a woman in opposite sides of the conflict. An edgy love story in the midst of the horrors of civil war”.

· The Audience Award has been awarded to the film Un prophète (France) from director Jacques Audiard. The prize? 50,000 euros for its distribution in Spain. “Malik El Djebena, who can neither read nor write, is sentenced to six years imprisonment. When he arrives at the jail, he looks younger and more fragile than the other prisoners. He is 19. Harassed by the leader of the band of Corsicans who rule the jail, he is given a series of “missions” which he must carry out in order to become stronger and win the leader’s trust. But Malik is brave and he learns quickly, and he even dares to make his own plans…”.

·The Extraordinary Award from the President of the panel of judges has been awarded to the Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist for Pepperminta (Switzerland, Austria). “Pepperminta is an anarchist of the imagination. She lives in a futuristic rainbow villa and according to her own rules”.

· The Young Jury Award has been awarded to Transmission (Hungary) from Hungarian director Roland Branik.

· The Honorary Award has been accorded to Fernando Trueba for “his prolific activity, as director and producer, in which he has always maintained a high professional standard and a personal, updated view of life and of cinema, achieving international projection for the Spanish cinema industry”.

· The Special SEFF 09 Award has been accorded to actor John Hurt “for the variety and quality of the characters he has portrayed in the numerous British films in which he has starred and for his special relationship with Spanish cinema”.

· The International Honorary Award has been accorded to Sir Ben Kingsley “for his outstanding contribution to British cinema and his distinguished career as an actor in unforgettable roles which have assured him a place in film history”.

· The SEFF/SILE Industry Award has been accorded to Sören Staermose “for his ability in spreading European cinema beyond borders and for creating a new model of convergence between cinema and television in the field of quality fiction”.

· The Special SEFF 09 Award has been accorded to Amanda Nevill (British Film Institute) “for her firm, constant work as director of the British Film Institute in the promotion and conservation of the United Kingdom’s film legacy and her support in increasing awareness of Spanish cinema”.

· Trubute has been paid to Rafael Azcona and Maurizio Scaparro “for the prolific collaboration between the most outstanding and brilliant of Spanish scriptwriters and the great Italian director who generously gave his wisdom and friendship during his fruitful stay in Seville”.

· RTVA Award for professional career has been accorded to Antonio de la Torre. “At first it seemed strange to receive an award for my career. I forget that I’ve been at this for about 18 or 20 years,” admits de la Torre. “I feel like Obama, for all that expectation heaped on me!”.

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