‘Tamanrasset’ tops Prix Italia

'Putin System' also nabs prizes at TV festival

MILAN — Merzak Allouache’s “Tamanrasset,” a drama about Africa’s teeming economic and social problems, and Jean-Michel Carre’s “The Putin System,” a critical look at the rise of the Russian leader, scooped top prizes at this year’s Prix Italia TV fest on Saturday.

“Tamanrasset,” produced by Christophe Marguerie for Arte France, won the fest’s Signis Award after impressing jurors with its thoughtful examination of the plight of ordinary Africans.

France’s FR2 channel drew the nod for TV documentary for current affairs, after the jury declared “The Putin System” a “very compelling and timely treatment” of the subject “wrapped in a compelling presentation.” In particular, they hailed the documentary makers’ achievement in getting Putin’s critics to speak out “despite the risk of severe repercussions.”

Ireland’s RTE took the award for TV documentary for cultural and general interest with Allison Millar’s “At Home With the Clearys,” an account of a priest who leads a double life. Sweden’s SvT scooped the TV drama series and serials prize with the Mikael Marcimain-helmed “How Soon Is Now?,” produced by Christer Nilsson and Magdalena Jangard. And the awards for drama and for movies and miniseries went to Norway’s NRK for “Berlin Poplars,” helmer Anders T. Andersen’s life-and-death drama produced by Bitte Monn-Iversen.

The 60th edition of the fest ran Sept. 14-20 in Cagliari.