Miami Jury Awards Top Prize To "A Thousand Months"
by Brian Brooks
Fifteen recipients received accolades during an awards brunch in South Beach at the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Hotel concluding the Miami International Film Festival. Faouzi Bensaidi's "A Thousand Months" (Milles Mois) about a 7-year-old's experience in a village in Morocco during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan took the festival's grand jury prize for best dramatic feature. Golden-Globe winner "Osama" by Siddiq Barmak, which United Artists released in theaters last weekend, received the grand jury special citation at the ceremony. Also receiving honorable mentions were actress Anna Ovsianikova for her work in Lidia Bobrova's "Granny" (Baboussia) and to Wolfgang Becker, director of "Good Bye, Lenin!" "Lenin" won best film last year at the European Film Awards as well as best actor (Daniel Bruhl).
In the festival's line up of Ibero-American films, Hugo Rodriguez's "Nicotina" picked up the section's top nod. The film, starring Diego Luna ("Y Tu Mama Tambien") is described by the fest as "a dark comedic take on criminal lifestyles." The grand jury prize for best documentary went to Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni for "The Story of the Weeping Camel," Mongolia's first entry for best foreign language Oscar consideration. Laura Gabbert received the grand jury special citation for best documentary for "Sunset Story," which explores a "haven" for retired radicals in Los Angeles.
Swedish feature "Evil" by Mikael Hafstrom received the audience award for dramatic feature. The film, which is nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film, took the prize after a count of ballots from all of the festival's venues. The International Federation of Film Critics Award (FIPRESCI), given by the International Film Critics Association, went to "Japanese Story" by Australian director Sue Brooks.
"The real award is having made a film, and having it screened in front of an audience," said Nicole Guillemet, MIFF director in a release. "That is the real meaning of winning." The Miami International Film Festival took place at various venues around the greater Miami area January 30-Feburary 8.
[ Brian Brooks will publish a festival wrap in indieWIRE next week. ]
[ For more MIFF award winners, go to: http://www.miamifilmfestival.com. ]