‘Red Awn’ takes Thessaloniki prize

Special jury award goes to 'PVC-1'

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Mainland Chinese father-and-son drama “The Red Awn” nabbed the top Golden Alexander award, and a check for Euros 37,000, at the 48th Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

Directing debut of noted scriptwriter Cai Shangjun had earlier competed at South Korea’s Pusan fest, where it went away empty-handed, apart from a Fipresci (the international film critics’ association) award. Cai is best known in China for scripting several films by director Zhang Yang (“Shower,” “Sunflower”).

Thessaloniki jury, headed by veteran Czech helmer Jiri Menzel, and also including directors Lucrecia Martel, Yasmin Ahmad and Nae Caranfil, plus Yanks Fred Roos and Michael Fitzgerald, gave the special jury award to Colombian production “PVC-1,” a singletake thriller by Spiros Stathopoulos that bowed in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.

Film also won actor Alberto Sornoza the actor nod, as well as winning audience and Fipresci awards.

Director prize went to Estonian helmer Veiko Ounpuu’s dark drama “Autumn Ball,” set after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and script to Thanos Anastopoulos and Vasilis Raisis for “correction”, a slice-of-life drama centered on an ex-con, directed by Anastopoulos.

Greek thesp Anna Lalasidou took home the actress award for her perf as an émigrée in Germany in drama “Elli Makra: 42277 Wuppertal,” the only world premiere by a non-Greek pic in the international competition.

The jury’s artistic achievement award went to Mexican production “The Year of the Nail” by Jonas Cuaron, son of Mexican-born director Alfonso Cuaron.

Cuaron pere was also on hand for one of Thessaloniki’s several masterclasses, as well as John Sayles (subject of a retro), Danny Glover, David Strathairn and Chris Cooper. Other celebs in town included John Malkovich for a special tribute and William Klein for an exhibition of his works.

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