Russian ‘Space’ wins top Moscow kudo

Local fav wins local film fest

MOSCOW — Local allegiance won out at Sunday’s closing ceremony of the 27th Moscow Film Festival as the lone Russian competition entry, Alexei Uchitel’s “Dreaming of Space,” took the top Golden St. George award.

After last year’s three prizes went to Dmitry Meskhiyev’s “Our Own,” local critics responded to Uchitel’s victory with some skepticism. But in presenting the award, fest jury prexy Valentin Chernykh, who wrote “Our Own,” stressed that the decision was unanimous and reached after four hours of deliberation.

The standard of the main competition program this year was considerably higher than in recent editions, achieved despite recent management changes and a reduced budget.

Jury’s special prize went to Finnish helmer Aku Louhimies’ “Frozen Land,” already lauded at other European fests.

The director’s laurel, presented by Cannes Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, went to Thomas Vinterberg’s Sundance entry “Dear Wendy.”

Actress honor went to Vesela Kazakova, from Radoslav Spassov’s Bulgarian-Turkish entry “Stolen Eyes.” Actor went to Hamid Farahnejad, in Kazem Ma’asoumi’s Iranian war drama “Left Foot Forward on the Beat”; that prize was presented by Daryl Hannah, the sole Hollywood presence at the fest this year.

Though the U.S. pic presence was reduced, some still scored honors. Georgina Garcia Riedel’s “How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” won in the Perspectives program, coming away with $20,000 in cash as well as Kodak film stock.

The lone American competition entry, indie “The Chumscrubber” from second-generation Russian emigrant Arie Posin, which also played at Sundance, earned the audience award as well as a prize from the Russian Film Club.

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