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Valencia fest honors ‘Harragas’

Drama wins the Golden Palm Tree

BARCELONA —  “Harragas,” an immigration drama helmed by Algeria’s Merzak Allouache, won the Golden Palm Tree and E40,000 ($60,000) at the 30th Valencia Mostra, which wrapped Saturday.

Migration or displacement dramas took all the main awards at the nine-day fest.

The Silver Palm Tree and a $30,000 cash prize  went to Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s “Ajami.”

The German-Israeli production intertwines three human dramas: a Palestinian from the Occupied Territories working illegally in Jaffa; a wealthy Palestinian pursuing a love dream; and a Jewish cop obsessed with finding his missing brother. Copti and Shani also scooped the director trophy.

Valencia’s special jury award went to Costa-Gavras’ “Eden Is West,” a contempo and sometimes comedic fable about an illegal immigrant dodging Italian and French authorities on his way to Paris.

Igaal Niddam’s “Brothers,” a tale about two estranged siblings who meet up in Israel, won Valencia’s audience award.

Helmed by first-timer Freddy Mas Franqueza, “Awakening From a Dream,” an intimate drama about an Alzheimer’s patient, scooped best Valencian feature and $30,000. “Dream” is produced by Terra a la Vista with Poland’s Follow Me Film Prod.

Sicilian helmer Giuseppe Tornatore, whose epic “Baaria” reps Italy in the foreign-language Oscar race, was honored with a career achievement Palm and a retro.

Salomon Castiel, in his first year as fest director, said he intended to shift the event from Spain’s crowded fall fest season to February in 2011.

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