MONTREAL — Two Euro co-productions were awarded the Grand Prix of the Americas for best film at the Montreal World Film Festival Monday night.
The top prizes went to Marseille-born helmer Marion Hansel’s Belgian-French-Dutch and Spanish pic “The Quarry” and Swiss director Fredi M. Murer’s Swiss-German-French thriller “Full Moon.”
“Full Moon” is the story of a police inspector investigating the mysterious disappearance of a bunch of 10-year-old kids from different regions of Switzerland. Set in rural South Africa, “The Quarry” is the tale of a fugitive who murders a pastor and assumes his identity.
“The Quarry” also picked up the prize for best artistic contribution for Takashi Kako’s score.
No dominant film
There was no runaway winner, with the competition jury spreading its prizes more widely than usual. The only other multiple winner was Montreal writer-director Manon Briand, who took home one jury and two non-jury awards for her feature debut, “2 Seconds.” The pic, about a mountain-bike racer in the midst of a mid-life crisis, garnered Briand the prize as best director. The French-lingo drama also won the Prix de Montreal for best first fiction feature and the public-vote Telefilm Canada Award for best Canadian film at the festival.
The Telefilm nod comes along with a C$25,000 ($16,000) grant from the federal film funder.
The Special Grand Prix of the Jury, the second most important award, went to first-time Chinese helmers Wang Xueqi and Yang Liping’s “Sun Bird,” a beautifully shot portrait of a folk dancer.
The best actress award went to Ingrid Rubio for her performance in the Argentinian-Spanish co-prod “The Lighthouse” and Aussie Hugo Weaving won as best actor for his role in Craig Monahan’s “The Interview.” Rafa Russo won the prize for best screenplay for the Spanish-British pic “The Man With Rain in his Shoes” from director Maria Ripoll.
It’s a popular ‘Life’
In the other category voted on by the public, Italian director Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful” took the Air Canada People’s Choice Award as the most popular film at the Montreal festival.
The FIPRESCI International Press Award went to Japanese director Hideyuki Hirayama’s “Begging for Love,” with a special mention awarded to “The Interview.” The Ecumenical Jury gave its prize to “The Lighthouse.”
A pilots strike at Air Canada that began Sept. 1 threw a major-league monkey-wrench into guests’ travel arrangements, and many simply canceled.
(Leonard Klady contributed to this report.)