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‘Estomago’ wins at Valladolid

Chef's tale sweeps the board

VALLADOLID, Spain — Brazilian Marcos Jorge’s “Estomago: A Gastronomic Story,” an engaging tale of the rise and fall of a Sao Paulo chef, swept the 53rd Valladolid Intl. Film Festival, which wrapped Saturday.

Jorge’s debut took Valladolid’s top Golden Spike, shared actor for lede Joao Miguel, and scooped new director for Jorge, plus the Youth Jury Award.

“Estomago” had been the critics’ fave since a mid-week screening. But, in a clear if rare concord for a Spanish fest, almost all the competish jury’s other kudos nods were heartily applauded by local scribes and audience members.

Maria Heiskanen took actress for her perf in Jan Troell’s “Everlasting Moments,” which was widely admired in Valladolid.

Chus Gutierrez’s “Return to Hansala,” the best received of Spain’s competish films, won a Special Jury Prize.

Argentine Carlos Sorin’s “The Window,” which had already played well at Toronto, won the Fipresci Intl. Critics Assn. award.

Unax Ugalde took an ex-aequo actor award for his controlled turn in a late fest screener, Helena Taberna’s finely crafted “The Good News.” Ugalde plays a principled priest in a Navarre village during the Spanish Civil War who reacts with covert horror against the executions of Republican sympathizers perpetrated by Franco’s falangist forces.

World preeming at Valladolid, and championed by historian Ian Gibson, “News” played well with most Spanish critics, though it was lambasted by conservative newspaper ABC.

Though conceived a decade or more ago, pic’s release coincides with a drive by Spain’s ruling socialist government to honor the memory of the victims of mass executions during the Civil War. Some right-wing Spaniards still maintain that the Civil War atrocities are better left forgotten.

Silver Spike winner “El Frasco,” a bus-driver romance from Argentina’s Alberto Lecchi, proved too mainstream for some critics, but won the competition Audience Award.

In industry news, co-director Manuel Sicilia and co-producer Manuel Cristobal hosted a sneak peek of “The Missing Lynx,” the first of five Spanish animation films to be produced by Antonio Banderas at his new Spanish label, Kandor Moon. The spirited eco-fun CG toon comedy, featuring a plucky but accident-prone lynx, played well enough with tykes in Valladolid.

“Frasco” was reportedly being circled by a top Spanish arthouse distributor as the fest closed.

Fest’s 53rd edition, which also saw a strong Time of History docu section — where the meticulously documented “Hollywood Against Franco” proved one standout — was the first under artistic director Javier Angulo, the ebullient former editor of Spanish film monthly Cinemania.

Though he had only a few months to put together this edition, Angulo left an immediate mark in at least two ways: a swathe of Spanish or Spanish-language world preems or European bows; and a shift in the tenor of Valladolid’s competition makeup, which in turn reflects larger trends in international filmmaking.

Under longtime director Fernando Lara, Valladolid was famed for selecting the best arthouse films of the year, many from celebrated auteurs.

Most, though not all, of the 53rd edition competitors suggest a desire to break out to larger demos, returning to linear or at least comprehensible storylines, and incorporating thriller elements and classic character arcs.

Fest unspooled Oct. 24- Nov. 1.

And the winners are…

GOLDEN SPIKE
“Estomago: A Gastronomic Story,” (Marcos Jorge, Brazil-Italy)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“Return to Hansala” (Chus Gutierrez, Spain)

SILVER SPIKE
“El Frasco,” (Alberto Lecchi, Spain-Argentina)

ACTRESS
Maria Heiskanen (“Everlasting Moments,” Sweden-Denmark, Norway-Finland-Germany

ACTOR
Joao Miguel (“Estomago”) and Unax Ugalde (“The Good News,” Spain)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Mischa Gavrjusjov and Jan Troell (“Everlasting Moments”)

SCREENPLAY
Henrik Ruben Genz and Dunja Gry Jensen (“Terribly Happy,” Denmark)

SCORE
Kare Bjerko (“Terribly Happy”)

SHORT FILM
“Careful With That Axe!” (Jason Stutter, New Zealand)

TIME OF HISTORY FIRST PRIZE
“33 Days,” (Mai Masri, Lebanon) and “The Heart of Jenin” (Marcus Vetter, Leon Geller, Germany).

TIME OF HISTORY SECOND PRIZE
“Trip to Asia: The Search for Harmony,” (Thomas Grube, Germany) and “Hollywood Against Franco,” (Oriol Porta, Spain)

TIME OF HISTORY SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“Haroldo Conti, Homo Viator,” (Miguel Mato, Argentina)

FIPRESCI (INTL. CRITICS’ ASSN.) PRIZE
“The Window” (Carlos Sorin, Argentina-Spain)

“EL NORTE DE CASTILLA” AUDIENCE AWARD
“El Frasco,” (Alberto Lecchi, Spain-Argentina)

MEETING POINT AUDENCE AWARD
“Intimos y extranos,” (Ruben Alonso, Spain)

YOUTH JURY AWARD
“Estomago”

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