Off-beat 'Hasta la Vista' takes top prize

Belgian helmer Geoffrey Enthoven’s road comedy “Hasta la Vista” (Come as You Are) won the Montreal World Film Festival’s Grand Prix des Ameriques on Sunday, marking the second consecutive year and third time in five years that a Flemish Belgian pic has taken the fest’s top prize.

Last year, the top prize in Montreal went to Hans Van Nuffel’s “Oxygen.” In 2007, the Flemish drama “Ben X” nabbed the Grand Prix des Ameriques.”It’s definitely a good place for us,” Flanders Image rep Christian De Schutter said. “Audiences here seem to understand our films.”

“Hasta la Vista,” about three disabled men who head out on a road trip to check out a brothel in Spain that caters to people with disabilities, also won the award as most popular film at the festival, and was given a Special Mention by the Ecumenical Jury.

The Ecumenical Prize was given to the lone U.S. entry in the competition, Brooklyn helmer Joel Fendelman’s “David,” a drama about an unusual friendship between two boys, one from Brooklyn’s Muslim community, the other from the neighborhood’s Orthodox Jewish community.

The awards were doled out at a ceremony at Place des Arts in downtown Montreal on Sunday night. The closing ceremony also included a tribute to Gallic thesp Catherine Deneuve, who was given a lifetime achievement award by the festival.

The second prize Special Grand Prix of the Jury went to Japanese director Masato Harada’s “Chronicle of My Mother.” The director award was won by German helmer Brigitte Maria Bertele for her pic “The Fire,” a drama about a woman recovering following a rape.

Fatemeh Motamed-Arya won the actress prize for her performance in the Iranian pic “Here Without Me” from director Bahram Tavakoli. The award for actor was shared between Danny Huston, for his role in the Israeli-France pic “Playoff,” and Borys Szyc for Polish pic “The Mole.”French writer-director Emmanuel Mouret won for screenplay for “The Art of Love,” his latest comedy, while Giuseppe Gagliardi’s Italian pic “Tatanka” was recognized for artistic contribution. The Innovation Award went to the Japanese pic “Life Back Then” from helmer Takahisa Zeze.

“It’s Nobody’s Fault” from Esteban Crespo, took the jury award.

The top award for first fiction film, the Golden Zenith was given to Brian Welsh’s British pic “In Our Name.” Bavo Defurne’s “Nordzee, Texas” won the Silver Zenith, and Mexican helmer Patricia Martinez de Velasco’s “Between Us” took the bronze. French helmer Karine Silla Perez’s “A Butterfly Kiss,” which stars her husband, Vincent Perez, was given a Special Mention by the first feature film jury.

Montreal filmmaker Andre Forcier’s critically acclaimed slice of magical realism “Coteau Rouge,” which opened the festival, won the Cinematheque Quebecoise award as most popular Canadian feature. The Glauber Rocha Award for Latin American Film went to Sergio Teubal’s Argentinian-Mexican co-production “The Finger.” Documentary award was shared by Matej Minac’s Slovakian-Czech pic “Nicky’s Family” and Marina Goldovskaya’s Swedish-Russian pic “Bitter Taste of Freedom.”

The Fipresci Prize went to Antoni Krauze’s Polish pic “Black Thursday”; the Fipresci jury’s prize for first feature went to Defurne’s “Nordzee, Texas.”

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