Harmony lessons

‘Riverrun,’ ‘Sbornia’ among Brazilian winners

MADRID – Two standout 2013 art pic debuts – Emir Baigazin’s “Harmony Lessons” and Diego Quemada-Diez’s “La jaula de oro,” – topped the 37th Sao Paulo Film Festival, which wrapped Thursday night.

An indictment of a Kazakh society steeped in violence, the Films Distribution-sold “Lessons” won Sao Paulo’s New Directors prize, its biggest plaudit, beating out “Jaula,” which received an honorary mention.

A hit at this year’s Berlin Festival, where it world premiered, “Lessons’” Sao Paulo plaudit adds to a trophy trove that includes top awards to date at the Warsaw, Art Film and Seattle fests.

Also multi-prized, winning Cannes Un Certain Regard actor kudos for its ensemble cast, immigration drama-thriller “Jaula” took best film at Sao Paulo’s Critics Awards, where “Lessons” took a mention.

Running Oct. 18-31, this year’s Sao Paulo Fest prized both movies that have been racking up recognition and a clutch of new Brazilian titles.

Acquired just before Venice for distribution and festival play by Eye on Films, a global fest/distributor network, Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson’s Nelson Mandela-themed “Plot for Peace” won Sao Paulo’s New Directors Documentary prize.

Justin Webster’s “I Will Be Murdered,” an extraordinary docu-story of one man’s reaction to political murders in Guatemala, nabbed an honorary mention.

The Critics Awards also afforded a mention to “The Militant,” from Uruguay’s Manolo Nieto. Sold by L.A.-based FiGa Films and world preeming at Toronto, Nieto’s comeback after 2006’s “The Dog Pound” turns on a man reconciling his political activism and family responsibilities.

Of new Brazilian titles, Paulo Sacramento’s “Riverrun,” distributed by California Filmes in Brazil and a multi-character tale of brewing dissatisfaction with big city life, scored the Abraccine Prize.

Cannes competition player “Like Father, Like Son” won Sao Paulo’s audience award.

Fest auds voted “Until Sbornia Do Us Part,” a whimsical fantasy animation feature from Brazil’s Ennio Torresan and Otto Guerra, as fest’s best Brazilian fiction feature.

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