'Shell' tops Turin

Bucking recent Italian trends, the 30th Turin Film Festival ended Saturday with record tix sales.

Paolo Sorrentino, jury president for the feature competition, awarded the top prize purse of €20,000 ($26,000) to helmer Scott Graham’s Scottish Highlands drama “Shell,” which world preemed in San Sebastian.

The special jury award was split between low-budget Italo pic “We Are Not Like James Bond,” helmed by Mario Balsamo, and Tim Sutton’s “Pavilion,” which preemed at SXSW.

Best actress went to Aylin Tezel for Pola Beck’s “Breaking Horizons,” and best actor was given to Huntun Batu for Mongolia’s “The First Aggregate,” directed by Emyr ap Richard and Darhad Erdenibulag.

Notwithstanding the cancellation of Ken Loach, citing discomfort with a labor dispute at the fest’s affiliate, Turin’s Cinema Museum, the nine-day event more than held its own in terms of public attendance and local press coverage against Rome’s splashier fest, whose date change to early November was seen as a challenge by some to Turin’s more established place on the calendar.

As in past years, a mix of features by first- and second-time helmers, along with wide-ranging docu programs, experimental works and highlights from other fests maintained Turin’s profile as an audience-driven affair with an international edge, and has generated largely positive national media coverage.

In the international docu section, the jury gave its top award to Joao Rui Guerra da Mata and Joao Pedro Rodrigues’ much-lauded “The Last Time I Saw Macao,” and also created a special prize for fest darling “Leviathan,” directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel.

Best Italian docu went to Maged El Mahedy’s “I Don’t Speak Very Good, I Dance Better,” a co-production with Egypt, while Stefano Petti and Alberto Testone’s “Fatti Corsari” nabbed the special jury award.

Known for its comprehensive retrospectives, Turin celebrated Joseph Losey by screening all his films, accompanied by a catalog edited by the fest’s deputy director Emanuela Martini. Among those attending the salute were Losey’s widow Patricia, his grandson Marek Losey and actress Sylvia Miles.

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