'Carlitos' nabs prize in the 6 plus section

ROME — U.S. helmer David Lee Miller’s incisive teen dramedy “My Suicide” was the big winner at Italy’s 39th Giffoni Film Festival, the unique children’s event with 1,500 kids from 40 countries as jurors.

“My Suicide,” about an attention-craving high-school geek who announces he will kill himself on camera, took Giffoni’s top pic and jury prize nods in the fest’s 16-plus section and also scooped the prize for best overall film awarded by Italy’s Mymovies website.

Giffoni wins for “My Suicide,” which uses a mix of live action and animation to capture the disaffection of contempo youth, follow several other prizes this hot title previously scooped on the international fest circuit, including best pic nod in Berlin’s Generation 14-plus.

The top Giffoni nods in other age categories went to Spanish helmer Jesus Del Cerro’s “Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime,” about a 12-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a soccer star, in the 6 plus section; Iranian helmer Ebrahim Forouzesh’s “A Time to Love,” about a handicapped boy cast aside when his little brother is born, in the 10 plus section; and Australian helmer Dagen Merrill’s “Broken Hill, about the misadventures of a musically gifted kid in the Aussie outback, in the 13-plus section.

This year’s expanded two-week edition of Giffoni, a prime kiddie fixture, located in the small town of Giffoni Valle Piana, near Paestum and the Amalfi Coast, opened with Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” and closed with Disney’s “G-Force.”

Sandwiched in between were plenty of indie works, many dealing with controversial themes such as teen sex, depression, kid soldiers, racial tensions, unemployment and death. This year’s theme, appropriately was “Tabu.”

The bevy of Hollywood stars who made the trek, not to promote a film but to engage in packed informal Q&A sessions with the kids, included Eva Mendes, Baz Luhrmann, Naomi Watts and husband Liev Schreiber, Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder.

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