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‘Babylon’ tops Spain’s Seville fest

'World,' 'Field' also sweep top plaudits

Seville– Mohamed al-Daradji’s “Son of Babylon” and Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World” topped the 7th Seville European Film Festival, which wrapped Saturday.

Playing Sundance’s World Cinema section this year, “Babylon,” a multi-lateral Euro co-prod, scooped Seville’s top Golden Giraldillo, which carries a Euros45,000 ($63,000) cash prize.

It also received pointed praise: a report on Seville by Spanish pubcaster TVE claimed “Babylon” was the first important film about Iraq made in Iraq.

Another compelling film about urgent issues, Danish Oscar submission “World” took director and screenplay. Turning on violence – schoolboy bullying in Denmark, tribal outrages in Africa – “World” underscores the fragility of supposedly idyllic modern life in Scandinavia, Bier said in Seville.

In its third year under artistic director Javier Martin Dominguez, Seville is now well established as a showcase for high-quality but not always high-profile recent European films.

Admird by critics at Karlovy Vary but still to break through to substantial sales abroad, Greek Vardis Marinakis “Black Field” won a Silver Giraldillo and best actress for newcomer Sofia Georgovassili.

Set in 1654 in a Greece under Ottoman Empire sway, “Field” narrates a delicate tale of love between a novice and a strapping Janissary soldier, a barrier-breaking affair which flies in thef ace of the church and army.

“Field” should put Marinakis on the map. Produced by Jose Maria Lara’s Alokatu, “Naufragio” (Wreckage) should build the rep of former Carlos Reygadas A.D. Pedro Aguilera.

A bold immigration tale, rebooting “Robinson Crusoe” and shot at times in a near hallucinatory images, “Wreckage” received a special mention, as did Mijke de Jong’s “Joy,” whose lead, Samira Mas, shared best actress.

Already attracting an impressive critical mass of European industry figures, Seville put in place several new building blocks this year.

One was a novel First Films First sidebar, for feature debuts, won by France’s Laure Charpentier for ’60s Pigalle-set lesbian tale “Gigola.” A flagship title for sales agent Wide Management, “Gigola” adapts Charpentier’s own novel, censured on its original publication in 1972.

Another growth sign was a string of industry announcements by Andalusian producers, who are far more successfully now leveraging Andalusia’s landscapes and history into co-production ventures.

In one move, Seville-based La Zanfona Producciones will co-produce “A Place in the Sun,” one of the TV movies in “The Annika Bengtzon Series,” Yellow Bird’s most ambitious film/TV production since “The Millenium Trology.”

Now in its second edition, the Seville Intl. Locations Expo, a parallel event, saw slow trading on the trade show floor but an impressive industry presence at some forums and panels.

SILE’s 1st Intl. Encounter of Financiers and Producers, for example, attracted execs from some of Europe’s most active film financiers such as K5 Media Capital, Backup Films, Dynamo Capital, Future Films, Vertice 360 and Deutsche Bank.

The Seville Fest Nov. 5-13; SILE ran Nov. 11-13.

2010 SEVILLE EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS

GOLDEN GIRALDILLO

“Son of Babylon,” (Mohamed al-Daradji, Iraq-U.K.-Netherlands-France-United Arab Emirates-Egypt-Palestine)

SILVER GIRALDILLO

“Black Field,” (Vardis Marinakis, Greece)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD

“Tender Son,” (Kornel Mundruczo, Hungary-Germany-Austria)

DIRECTOR

“In a Better World,” (Susanne Bier, Denmark)

ACTOR

Rhys Ifans, (“Mr Nice,” U.K.-Spain)

ACTRESS

Samira Mas, (“Joy,” Netherlands) and Sofia Georgovassili (“Black Field”)

SPECIAL MENTIONS

“Joy,” (Mijke de Jong, Netherlands)

“Wreckage,” (Pedro Aguilera, Spain)

DOCUMENTARY

“Last Chapter: Goodbye Nicaragua,” (Peter Torbiornsson, Sweden-Spain)

EURIMAGES AWARD

“The Front Line,” (Renato De Maria, Italy-Belgium)

AUDIENCE AWARD

“Tamara Drewe,” (Stephen Frears, U.K.)

CAMPUS JURY AWARD

“Son of Babylon”

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