NEW DELHI — Having begun its journey in Berlin, The Korea-France co-pro “Desert Dream” (“Hyazgar”), a pic depicting the plight of North Korean refugees wandering across Mongolia helmed by the ethnically Korean Zhang Lu truly arrived when it won best film at the 9th edition of India’s Osian Cinefan Festival of Asian & Arab Cinema in New Delhi on Sunday. Pic has trekked through a number of fests since unspooling last February, receiving critical approval but no prizes until now.
Osian’s main competition, which had been expanded this year to include Arabic films, made for a much wider field and a more diversified and politically charged cultural mix. The Asian-Arab Competition jury was similarly diverse. Included on the jury were helmers from Egypt (Hala Khalil), China (Wu Tianming), India (Saeed Mirza) and Thailand (Apichatpong Weerasethakul). Rounding off the jury was the presence of former Cannes fest programmer Francois Da Silva.
Splitting a special jury award between touching Iranian meller “Lonesome Trees” and the dynamic Tunisian film “Making Of” which premmed at Tribeca and recently won a best picture at Taormina. Depicting a rebellious dancer who is tempted by fundamentalism, “Making Of” was also honored by a Best Actor nod for its leading thesp, Lofti Abdelli.
Best Actress award went to the Filipino vet Cherry Pie Picache in Brillante Mendoza’s meller about a woman who prepares a child for adoption to an American family.
Fest’s Indian Competition jury lead by Bengali actress Roopa Ganguly (“Suddenly One Day” , “Bow Barracks Forever”) and renowned Filipino film academic Nick Deocampo gave Best Actress and Best Film nods to energetic Tamil film “Paruthiveeran” and its leading distaff player Priyamani (cq) who played the Juliet-styled role in a yarn about two seriously star-cross’d lovers in Southern rural India. Best actor nod went to Kay Kay Menon for his role as a cricket champion accused of match fixing in Hindi film Zero Zone (Shoonya).
A first features award went to the ethnographically flavoured Filipino digital pic “Woven Stories of the Other” (Huling Balyan Ng Buhi) which dramatizes a turf war between jungle tribes in the Southern Philippines FIPRESCI Award was handed to Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s meditation on jealousy and eroticism “Ploy.”
The NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) jury awarded its prize to the Malaysian meller about an aspirant hoofer in “Dancing Bells”
(“Chalanggai”) underlining the film’s scoring a special mention at Rotterdam’s NETPAC jury last January.
Awards ceremony was followed by screening of fest closer “Cut and Paste”
(“Qas Wi Lask”) from Egyptian juror Hala Khalil.
Fest marked swan song of artistic director, President and Cinefan and NETPAC founder Aruna Vasudev. A long time and influential fixture on the international fest circuit, Vasudev also responsible for the lofty Asia-focussed film journal “Cinemaya” is likely to remain active on the fest circuit even as she steps down from her power base.
9TH OSIAN CINEFAN ASIAN & ARAB FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS ASIAN & Arab COMPETITION
Desert Dream (Hyazgar)
Director: Zhang Lu
(Making Of aka Akher Film)
Cherry Pie Picache
Lonesome Trees (aka Tak-Derakhtha)
Director: Saeed Ebrahamifar
Making Of (aka Akher Film)
Director: Nouri Bouzid
Director Ameer Sultan
Kay Kay Menon
(Shoonya aka Zero Zone)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD
Director: Shivajee Chandrabhushan)
Woven Stories of the Other (Huling Balyan Ng Buhi)
Director: Sherad Anthony Samchez
Director: Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Director: Deepak Kumaran Menon