Two Berlin fest hits, Valeska Grisebach’s romantic crisis drama “Longing” and Iranian Jafar Panahi’s “Offside,” about teen girls trying to sneak into a soccer match, both took double honors at the 44th Gijon Film Festival, which wrapped Saturday.
“Longing” won picture and the Fipresci award; “Offside” took fest’s Young Jury Prize and actress (Shima Mobarak-Shahi, Shayesteh Irani, Ayda Sadeqi, Golnaz Farmani and Mahnaz Zabihi).
Second half competish players nearly swept the board at Gijon this year: The Special Jury Prize went to Tsai Ming-liang’s stunningly shot relationship drama “I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone”; best director was shared by Iranian Maziar Miri’s “Gradually …,” about a man’s search for his deranged wife, and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Chad-set revenge drama “Daratt.”
Jury’s drive to highlight lesser-known pics or players was underscored by its best actor plaudit — given to the male ensemble cast of “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” excluding Robert Downey Jr. and Chazz Palminteri, who both turn in great perfs.
Now in its 11th year under director Jose Luis Cienfuegos, Gijon is firmly established as one of Spain’s top four or five fests, a bastion of more offbeat and out-there fare that has attracted increasing coverage in the national press. Indie distribs attending fest included Alta Films, Golem, Baditri and Civite.
Fest’s main challenges, said Cienfuegos, are the disparity of contempo film formats and a potential squeeze on available screen space. Gijon flocks to the fest, which sold 65,000 tickets last year, far more than it does to year-round commercial cinemas.
With most competish pics having played major fests, some of fest’s biggest discoveries came in the kids-skewed parallel section Enfants Terribles.
Packed by primary school students bused in for morning screenings, its auds reacted well to titles.
Go to variety.com for a full list of winners.