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‘Needle’ Wins Cannes’ Cinefondation Prize

Needle,” from U.S. film student Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, has nabbed the top prize at Cannes’ Cinefondation, whose  jury was presided by New Zealand-born multi-hyphenate Jane Campion.

Ghazvinizadeh, a student at the School of the Art Insitute of Chicago,  won €15,000. As the First Prize winner, Ghazvinizadeh will have the opportunity to present her feature debut at the Festival.

Needle” is a coming-of-age drama centering on a young girl who is going to get her ears pierced but a quarrel between her parents overwhelms the situation.

“‘Needle”s got beautiful precision and the most exciting thing about it is that I can feel a very unique flavor to this filmmaker’s voice. It’s got subtle observations and it’s also very modern,” Campion told Variety.

Sarah Hirtt from Belgium’s INSAS nabbed the second prize with “Pendant Le degel” (“Waiting For the Thaw”). The third nod was awarded to Tudor Cristian Jurgiu’s “In Acvariu” (“In the Fishbowl”), from Romania’s UNATC; and Matus Vizar’s  “Pandy” (Pandas”), from Czech Republic’s FAMU.

The second and third prizes will be awarded €11,250 and €7,500 respectively.

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“Thaw” turns on the hazardous road-trip of two long estranged siblings who reconnect for the moving of one of them. “Fishbowl” turns on a young couple struggling to break up, while “Pandas” is a 2D animated short.

Campion was an idea choice as jury president: she broke through on the international film scene with student shorts, notably “Peel” which won a Palme d’Or in Cannes and marked the starting point of her career.

“I’m a big supporter of the idea that young people can be at their very best before they’re 30. I even made a film about John Keats (‘Bright Star’) who wrote his best parts at 23,” said Campion. “I’m really aware that the world may not be ready for you but you can be ready for the world. And for me these guys (who won the Cinefondation prizes) are completely ready.”

The Cinefondation Selection comprised 18 student films, chosen out of nearly 1,550 entries coming from 277 film schools around the world.

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