Middle Eastern comedy wins top prize

Eran Kolirin’s Middle Eastern comedy “The Band’s Visit” scored the Warsaw Film Festival’s main prize, while New Films New Directors kudos went to Koen Mortier’s “Ex Drummer,” adapted from the tough Flemish novel by Herman Brusselmans.

Ilmar Raag’s school violence study “The Class” won both Warsaw Award special jury and Fipresci honors indicating a recent renaissance in Estonian features and docus.

New outreach by the state film funding body is part of the reason that the country of 1.4 million is fighting well above its weight, with more output than either Latvia or the much larger Lithuania, said Lili Pilt of the Estonian Film Foundation.

Japanese pics also made a strong showing at the Warsaw fest, with the Free Spirit kudo going to Daihachi Yoshida’s family drama “Funuke Show Some Love, You Losers!”

Denmark’s “The Art of Crying,” by Peter Schonau Fog won script honors, while China’s “Night Train,” a dark thriller helmed and scribed by Yinan Diao, took the Nescafe Grand Prix. Docu feature kudo went to Garine Torossian’s dream-like Canadan-Armenian road pic “Stone Time Touch.”

Fest’s CentEast market also generated buzz, with films like Poland’s “Tricks,” helmed and scripted by Andrzej Jakimowski, marking a new agenda to gain a higher-profile abroad for great regional work.

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