Jakimowski takes Golden Prometheus

Polish director Andrzej Jakimowski walked away with the Golden Prometheus and the first-ever cash prize of $7,000 for best film at the closing of the 8th Tbilisi Intl. Film Festival on Saturday night.

Jakimowski’s “Tricks,” his second feature, also won a special Parajanov jury prize for films of noted artistic and sensitive quality. Pic follows a boy who desperately tries to find ways to reunite his estranged parents.

He was overcome with emotion at Tbilisi’s central Rustaveli multiplex cinema, stammering in English: “This is just too much for me; I do not know what to tell you now. I was impressed with the first prize so the second is too much for me at the moment.”

He added that as both producer and director of the film a cash prize was most welcome.

The festival’s second cash prize of $5,000 and a Silver Prometheus statue went to Russian Alexei Popogrebsky for his feature solo debut “Simple Things.”

The film, which picked up a handful of prizes at the Russian national festival in Sochi last June and an actor nod at Vladivostok’s Pacific Meridian in September, tells the story of a couple choosing whether or not to make a go of their marriage.

A Fipresci critics award went to David Volach’s Israeli film “My Father My Lord” about a rabbi’s conflict between religious and family duties.

Security at Saturday’s closing event, where British director Ken Loach’s 1920s Irish civil war drama “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” wrapped the festival to a capacity crowd, was tight.

Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, credited by fest organizers with establishing the cash prizes, was due to hand over the top two prizes himself. But following recent street protests in the country, he backed out to prepare for snap elections called for Jan. 5.

The top prize was handed over instead by culture minister Giorgi Gabashvili.

Fest, which ran Dec. 3-9, screened more than 100 films, including a competition slate of 11 features.

U.S. director Bob Rafaelson was in town to give a master class and talk about “Five Easy Pieces” following a packed screening of the 1970 classic.

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