'Sideways,' 'Eva' go home empty-handed

See Winners

MEXICO CITY– Bahman Ghobadi’s Iraq-Iran co-production “Turtles Can Fly” smoked the competition at the second Mexico City Film Festival on Saturday night, snaring jury and public prizes in a crowded field that left laurel-happy films like “Sideways” empty-handed.

Mexico’s entry in the feature category, “Adan y Eva” (Adam and Eve), was blanked.

“Turtles,” about Kurdish refugee children on the eve of the current war in Iraq, has been working the fest circuit with success in recent months. Already under its belt are a Golden Seashell for picture in San Sebastian, two awards at the Berlin fest and the audience award in Rotterdam in early February. “Turtles” will open the Mar del Plata fest in Argentina on March 10.

Other winners include Israeli pic “Or (My Treasure),” by Keren Yedaya, and “Head-On,” by Fatih Akin, which have stocked their trophy shelves in Cannes and Berlin.

Prizes were handed out at a red-carpet event at Mexico City’s Fine Arts Palace.

The Mexico fest, organized by exhibitor Cinemex, was expanded this year, closing Sunday night after 11 days and well over 100 films. Audience totals were not yet available but are expected to exceed last year’s 41,000 attendees.

Fest highlights included a sold-out concert by Serbian helmer Emir Kusturica’s band, the No Smoking Orchestra, on Friday.

With the fest out of the way, Mexican filmgoers are warming up for the Guadalajara Film Festival, opening March 11.

And the Winners are…

PICTURE

“Turtles Can Fly,” Bahman Ghobadi

DIRECTOR, FICTION

“Head-On,” Fatih Akin

LATIN AMERICAN FEATURE

“Machuca,” Andres Wood

FIRST WORK

“Struggle,” Ruth Mader

PUBLIC PRIZE, FICTION

“Turtles Can Fly,” Bahman Ghobadi

FEMALE FILMMAKER

“Or (My Treasure),” Keren Yedaya

LATIN AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY

“Relatos desde el encierro” (Stories From Lockup), Guadalupe Miranda

DIRECTOR, DOCUMENTARY

“Tropico de Cancer” (Tropic of Cancer), Eugenio Polgovsky

PUBLIC PRIZE, DOCUMENTARY

“Darwin’s Nightmare,” Hubert Sauper

ROTARY INTL. PRIZE (FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PIC)

“The Devil’s Miner,” Kief Davidson

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