‘Happy, Happy’ tops Seville

'Shame' grabs best director, actor

Madrid– Anne Sewitsky’s comic drama “Happy, Happy” took the top Golden Giraldillo at the 8th Seville European Film Festival, Europe’s main meet dedicated to the continent’s films, which wrapped Friday.

Norway’s choice for the Oscars, “Happy” turns on a housewife who is trying to keep a loveless marriage alive until a perfect couple move in next door, unleashing a torrent of emotions. Pic won Sundance’s World Cinema grand jury prize.

The Golden Giraldillo carries a Euros40,000 ($54,960) cash-prize for Spanish arthouse distributor Golem, which acquired “Happy, Happy” rights from TrustNordisk at this year’s Berlin European Film Market.

Andres Veiel’s 1960s West Germany-set political drama “If Not Us, Who,” another Golem pickup for Spain, won Seville’s Silver Giraldillo.

In one of Seville’s toughest face-offs, “If Not Us” star August Diehl shared best actor prize with Michael Fassbender, the star of Steve McQueen’s sexual addiction tale “Shame.”

McQueen also snagged the director award at Seville.

Best actress nod was shared between Nadezhda Markina, for her role as a docile wife in Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s family drama “Elena,” and Belgian thesp Bien de Moor, who plays a middle-aged nurse in Urszula Antoniak’s sophomore pic “Code Blue.”

Polish helmer Lech Majewski’s “The Mill and the Cross,” based on Flemish master Pieter Bruegel’s 1564 painting “The Procession to Calvary,” nabbed Seville’s Special Jury Award. Sold by Paris-based Wide Management, “Mill” has been picked up by Kino-Lorber for the U.S..

Michel Hazanavicius’ Hollywood-set silent romancer “The Artist” won the Audience Award.

Now in its second year, Seville’s First Films First sidebar, for feature debuts, was won by black comedy “Mourning,” by young Iranian helmer Morteza Farshbaf.

Running Nov. 4-11, the Seville fest hosted a focus on recent Russian Cinema.

Event honored Moscow-born director Nikita Mikhalkov, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, European Film Academy director Marion Doring, plus Spanish exhib-distributor Enrique Gonzalez-Macho, producer Luis Minarro and actress Maria Galiana.