Palm Springs Film Festival Announces Winners

The Palm Springs Film Festival began rounding off its 11-day run with its annual awards luncheon held Saturday afternoon at Spencer’s at the Mountain.

The Fipresci Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year went to Taiwanese thriller “The Assassin,” directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien. The Fipresci Prize for the Best Actor of the Year went to Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíussonfrom for their work in the Iceland film “Rams,” while the Fipresci Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film went to Alena Mihulová for her role in “Home Care,” written and directed by Czech filmmaker Slavek Horak.

“Alena, who is now 50, had her first breakthrough role at (age) 17 and then nothing for 33 years,” said Horak, who accepted the award on the actress’ behalf. “She played an apprentice to a home care nurse in her first film and has now graduated to a home care nurse in my film,” he joked.

Artistic director and acting festival director Helen Du Toit delivered the welcoming opening remarks at the event, which drew filmmakers from around the globe, including Prashant Nair, who received the HP Bridging the Borders Award for his film “Umrika,” which focuses on a young Indian boy named Rama, who follows in his older brother’s footsteps to find out if he made it to the USA or wound up in Mumbai.

“We made this film with the intention of really making an impact,” Nair said of the award, presented by Cinema Without Borders and Hewlett Packard and designed to promote understanding and peace amongst different people and cultures in the world. “So getting this award really means a lot.”

The John Schlesinger Award went to Japanese filmmaker Erik Shirai for his stirring sake brewery documentary “The Birth of Saké.”

Shirai dedicated his award to his fellow “documentary filmmakers,” all of whom are striving to create compelling and important work.

The jury for the award said that “with its aesthetic approach, patience and intimacy, ‘The Birth of Saké’ mirrors the craft of making saké, and the director’s singular passion for his subject embodies the spirit of the John Schlesinger Award.”

The New Voices/New Visions Award was bestowed upon Xavier Seron’s “Death by Death,” a Belgium-France co-production, with a special mention given to the India-U.S. co-production “Thithi,” helmed by Raam Reddy.


The Palm Springs fest screened 180 films from 60 countries, including 40 of the 80 foreign language entries for this year’s Academy Awards. The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will both be announced on Sunday.

Pictured above: “Umrika.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content