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‘Leon’ takes top prize at Turin

'Nothing Else,' 'Love Songs' collect awards

TURIN — The 23rd Turin International Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival ended on a foot-tapping high Friday night when Le Sorelle Marinetti — a new drag threesome channeling 1940s girl group Trio Lescano along with the Andrews Sisters — brought the house down with their transformation of a Cher medley into WWII swing.

The evening saw Argentine helmer Santiago Otheguy take home the feature kudo, with a $7,800 cash prize attached, for his Berlin preemed debut “La Leon,” a challenging study of isolation shot in striking B&W.

The features jury, which included producer Andrea Sperling and helmer Joao Pedro Rodrigues, also gave prizes to Julia von Heinz’s “Nothing Else Matters” and Christophe Honore’s “Love Songs.”

Best short and a $2,350 check went to “Something Like That” (Alguma Coisa Assim), directed by rising Brazilian helmer Esmir Filho, while best docu and $3,900 was awarded to Parvez Sharma’s “A Jihad For Love”.

Fest’s audience chose U.S. pic “Were the World Mine,” Tom Gustafson’s musical fantasy of high school teens introduced to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Audience award for docu went to Kiwi Julian Shaw for “Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story.”

Turin welcomed Hong Kong helmer/producer Stanley Kwan for a retrospective of his work, while French director Sebastien Lifshitz also received a mid-career tribute.

Portuguese and Japanese gay and lesbian cinema were highlighted in separate sections.

Ticket sales were up by 30%, possibly reflecting the move last year from the city’s fringes to the heart of downtown.

Fest ran April 17-25.

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