MONTREAL – Turkish writer-director Ismail Gunes’s “Where the Fire Burns” won the Grand prix des Americas, the top prize, at this year’s edition of the Montreal World Film Festival. The fest wrapped Sunday night with the awards ceremony and the screening of the French pic “Happiness Never Comes Alone” which stars Sophie Marceau and Gad Elmaleh.
“Where the Fire Burns” is a dark drama about a woman who is taken in for an operation by her family and during the operation, it is discovered that the young woman is 14 weeks pregnant. That’s when the family decides to kill her.
The Special Grand Prix of the jury, the second most important award, went, in a tie, to two films – German helmer Dito Tsintsadze’s “Invasion” and Spanish director Imanol Uribe’s “Orange Honey”. “Invasion” is about a guy mourning his wife who welcomes a bunch of her relatives to his home but they turn out to be hostile invaders. “Orange Honey” is about a young government employee in fascist Spain in 1950 who decides to try to do something about the injustices around him.
Sweden’s Jan Troell won as best director for “The Last Sentence”, Brigitte Hobmeier won as best actress for the German pic “Closed Season” and Karl Merkatz nabbed the honors as best actor for his starring role in the Austrian film “Coming of Age.”
Best screenplay went to writer-director Marko Nabersnik, for the Slovenian film “Shanghai Gypsy”, and Alexander Proshkin’s Russian pic “Expiation” won for best artistic contribution.
The Innovation Award went to Yazhou Yang and Bo Yang’s Chinese pic “Wings”.
The jury also gave out to two special awards – Quebec filmmaker Claude Gagnon’s Japanese-Canadian co-pro “Karakara” won the Openness to the World Award and Krsto Papic’s Croatian “Flower Square” won the Freedom of Speech Award.
“Karakara” also took home the prize as most popular Canadian feature at the festival. The award for most popular film went to Sabine Hiebler and Gerhard Ertl’s Austrian pic “Coming of Age”. The award for best Latin American pic went to Gonzalo Justiniano’s Chilean film “Have You Seen Lupita” and the award for best documentary was given to Montreal helmer Liliana Komorowska’s breast-cancer doc “Beauty and the Breast”.
The Fipresci prize for best film in the World Competition went to “Where the Fire Burns.”