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Cannes: Naomi Kawase Jury Awards ‘Anna’ Cinefondation First Prize

Cannes Festival student film competition announces four winners out of 18-title lineup

CANNES — “Anna,” a woman’s drama directed by young Israeli editor-director Or Sinai, a student at Israel’s Sam Spiegel Film & TV School, took the First Prize Friday at the Cinefondation Selection, the world’s highest-profile film school student competition.

Sinai received a €15,000 ($17,000) cash prize but, far more importantly, the guarantee that her first feature, when she makes it, will screen in Cannes’ Official Selection. Award was given by a jury headed by Japanese director Naomi Kawase.

Written by Sinai, “Anna” tracks its eponymous heroine,  a woman in her thirties who, in the dog days of August, without her 10-year-old son, suddenly finds herself alone. She wanders her small desert home town, yearning to feel like a woman again,  even in a stranger’s arms.

The London Film School graduation short of Tehran-born Hamid Ahmadi, “In the Hills” took the Cinefondation Selection Second Prize for its portrait of a immigrant living in England’s Cotswold Hills, who takes a rather radical path to social integration.

The Cinefondation Selection’s Third Prize was shared by “The Noise of Licking,” an animated short about a voyeur cat, from Hungary’s Nadja Andrasev, at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, and relationship drama “La culpa, probablemente,” from Michael Labarca, the first short from a Venezuelan film school in Cinefondation.

Beyond Kawase, the Cinefondation jury was made up of Canadian actress Marie-Josée Croze, and three directors: France’s Jean-Marie Larrieu, Romania’s Radu Muntean and Argentina’s Santiago Loza.

The Cinefondation Selection’s 18 shorts were chosen from 2,350 entries coming from 548 film schools around the world, figure way up on 2015’s stats of 1,593 candidates from 381 schools.

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