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Euro-focused Seville taps ‘Avanim’ top pic

'Keys to the House' scoops special jury trophy

MADRID — Raphael Nadjari’s Israeli-French drama “Avanim” beat out higher-profile competitors to take the Golden Giraldillo for best pic at the new-look Seville Film Festival, transformed for the first time into an exclusively European event.

Shot Dogma-style with digital vid cameras by the French-American helmer, “Avanim” focuses on the life of a thirtysomething Israeli wife and mother and how her existence is darkened by the larger political picture.

The Golden Giraldillo comes with a E60,000 ($77,000) cash prize.

The local favorite at Venice, Gianni Amelio’s “The Keys to the House” scooped the special jury trophy. The Silver Giraldillo went to Austrian Hans Weingartner’s “The Edukators,” a portrait of political disenchantment among European youth.

In a clear statement that the fest intends to encourage more food for thought than popcorn sales, the European Film Export Assn. awarded its Euro film distributor award for Spain to Enrique Gonzalez Macho. His distrib shingle, Alta Films, is the country’s biggest artpic distrib.

According to new festival director Antonio Grosso, Seville wants to be a European Sundance. That’s highly ambitious. However, with its Nov. 6-13 slot, just one month before the European Film Academy awards Dec. 11, the Euro-bent event looks here to stay.

The overhauled fest also appears to have fired the public imagination, notching 40,000 admissions in its first six days.

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