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Deniz Gamze Erguven’s ‘Mustang’ Takes Top Prize at Sarajevo Film Festival

LONDON — Deniz Gamze Erguven’s “Mustang” has won the Heart of Sarajevo Award for best feature film at the Sarajevo Film Festival, which is South-East Europe’s leading movie event.

The film, which is set in a village in Turkey, centers on five sisters who are forced to stay home rather than go to school due to an allegation of impropriety. Marriages are arranged for them. The girls, driven by the desire for freedom, fight back against the limits imposed on them.

The actress prize was shared by “Mustang’s” lead actresses — Gunes Sensoy, Doga Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan and Ilayda Akdogan.

Sarajevo’s Special Jury Prize went to Laszlo Nemes’ “Son of Saul,” which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is set in 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Saul is a member of the Sonderkommando, the group of prisoners forced to assist the Nazis in the extermination. He discovers the corpse of a boy he believes is his son and decides to offer the boy a proper burial.

Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Chevalier” was given a Special Jury Mention, and the film’s lead actors — Yorgos Kentros, Vangelis Mouríkis, Panos Koronis, Makis Papadimitriou, Yorgos Pyrpassopoulos and Sakis Rouvas — shared the best actor prize.

The film follows a group of men who are returning from a winter fishing trip on a yacht. When a mechanical problem leaves them trapped on their boat, they kill the time playing a game they devise, called Chevalier. Chevalier is an entertaining and highly competitive game. No one intends to get off the yacht without being crowned its winner.

The jury was composed of Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer, Diana Bustamante, artistic director of Cartagena Film Festival in Colombia, Zrinka Cvitesic, a Croatian actress who is based in the U.K., British producer Mike Downey, and Serbian director Maja Milos.

The Heart of Sarajevo Award for documentary film was won by Alexander Nanau’s “Toto and His Sisters.” The film centers on Toto and his sisters, Ana and Andreea. During their mother’s imprisonment, Toto learns dancing, reading and writing, while his sisters try to keep the family together.

The Special Jury Prize for documentary film went to Tamas Almasi’s “Titita.” This follows Anti, a 19-year-old Roma who loves to play the guitar. He is presented with the chance to break out of a rundown Roma slum in a remote corner of Hungary and travels to the Snetberger Music Talent Center, where he has been selected for his talent.

In the festival’s industry program, CineLink, Aida Begic’s “A Ballade” took the Eurimages Co-production Development Award, and Adrian Sitaru and Anamaria Antoci’s “The Fixer” took the top prize in the Work in Progress section, the Post Republic Award.

Click here for a full list of prizes.

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