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Hadas Ben Aroya’s Debut ‘People That Are Not Me’ Wins at Mar del Plata

Radu Jude takes best director; Kiro Russo’s “Loba” wins Lobolab

A lesser-known title, “People That Are Not Me,” took the big prize on Saturday night at the 31st Mar del Plata Festival, Latin America’s only so-called A festival.

Far higher-profile pics, however, featured among the prizes announced at the Argentine fest, such as Cannes competition player “Aquarius” from Brazilian Kleber Mendonça Filho, “Scarred Hearts,’ from Romania’s Radu Jude, which bowed at Locarno, as well as Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Paradise,” which competed at Venice.

World premiering at August’s Locarno Film Festival in the Signs of Life sidebar and sold by London-based Film Republic, “People That Are Not Me” delivers a portrait of Tel Aviv millennials. This is framed in a  romantic dramedy directed, produced and penned by first-timer Hadas Ben Aroya, trained at Steve Tisch School of Film at Tel Aviv University, which also stars in the movie as a 25 year-old woman who runs a wide gamut of emotions when it comes to love and sex.

Locarno’s Special Jury Prize winner “Scarred Hearts,” a 1930s-set drama inspired by the ratings of Max Blecher, took best director for Radu Jude.

Nominated twice for Golden Globes – for Hector Babenco’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and Paul Mazursky’s “Moon Over Parador”- Brazilian Sonia Braga won best actress for “Aquarius,” where she plays a a widow who opposes efforts by property developers to force her out of her home. ‘Aquarius,’ a two-storey building built in the 1940s in an upper-class neighborhood in Recife, where she is now the last resident.

Premiering at Cannes and a Grand Jury Prize winner at Amsterdam as well as best feature and actress winner at Biarritz, “Aquarius” also snagged the Audience Award at Mar del Plata.

Mar del Plata’s 2016 best actor prize went to California-born Mahershala Ali  (“House of Cards”) for his work in “Moonlight,” a drama about a shy, black gay kid growing up in a tough Miami hood. Directed by Barry Jenkins (“Medicine for Melancholy”), “Moonlight” opened the Rome Film Festival and snagged a Special Jury Prize at Gotham Awards for best ensemble performance.

Vet Konchalovsky and co-scribe Elena Kiseleva took the screenplay award with “Paradise,” a monochrome-lensed “robust, absorbing Holocaust drama,” according to a Variety reviewer.

The main prize for a Latin-American feature went to Brazilian feature “Martírio” (“Martyrdom”). Directed by Vincent Carelli, Ernesto De Carvalho and Tatiana Almeida, “Martírio” is a three-hour documentary on the expropriation of the Guarani-Kaiowa people-s homeland in Southern Brazil, in the depths of the Mato-Grosso.

Lobolab –the co-production forum launched last year by the Mar del Plata fest and curated by producer Ivan Granovsky, producer of Matias Piñeiro’s “They All Lie,” and former Mar del Plata fest producer Barbara Keen – showcased a total of 15 projects, up 50% on 2015). This year’s Lobolab jury included producers Benjamín Domenech and Luis Urbano, and fest programmer Eva Sangiorgi.

Its winner was Bolivian project “Loba” (“Shewolf”), a criss-crossing narrative from Kiro Russo about a Bolivian community’s taking justice into its own hands as the story follows two men in two different times and places: One steals to get by; the other is escaping from his wife who has turned into some kind of beast. “Dark Skull,” Kiro Russo’s feature debut, took a Fipresci nod for best Latin American film  at this October’s Rio de Janeiro Festival.

A Lobolab honorary mention went to “The Employee and the Employer,” which would be the third feature from Manuel Nieto, a Rotterdam Tiger Award winner for “The Dog Pound.”

“A Crime in Common,” directed by Francisco Márquez – whose debut “The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis,’ played at this year Cannes Un Certain Regard to an upbeat reaction –  recurred a Lobolab second mention.

The 31st Mar del Plata Intl. Festival ran Nov. 18-27.

WINNERS, 31ST MAR DEL PLATA INTL. FILM FESTIVAL

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

GOLDEN ASTOR

“People That Are Not Me,” (Hadas Ben Aroya, Israel)

DIRECTOR

Radu Jude, (“Scarred Hearts,” Romania)

ACTRESS

Sonia Braga, (“Aquarius,” Brazil, France)

ACTOR

Mahershala Ali, (“Moonlight,” U.S.)

SCREENPLAY

Andrei Konchalovsky, Elena Kiseleva, (“Paradise,” Russia, Germany)

SPECIAL MENTION, CINEMATOGRAPHY

Léo Hinstin, (“Nocturama,” France)

AUDIENCE AWARD

“Aquarius,” (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil)

LATIN AMERICA COMPETITION

BEST PICTURE

“Martírio,” (Vincent Carelli, Ernesto De Carvalho, Tatiana Almeida, Brazil)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD

“The Human Surge,” (Eduardo Williams, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal)

SHORT

“Winds of Furnace,” (Yamil Quintana, Mexico)

ARGENTINA COMPETITION

PICTURE

“Apprentice,” (Tomás De Leone)

DIRECTOR

Lukas Valenta Rinner (“A Decent Woman”)

SHORT

“Bats,” (Felipe Ramírez Vilches)

SHORT DIRECTOR

Mariano Cócolo, (“To the Silence”)

SPECIAL MENTION

“Docile Bodies,” (Matías Scarvaci, Diego Gachassin)

WORK IN PROGRESS

BEST PRODUCTION

“Construcciones,” (Fernando Restelli)

 OTHER PRIZES — NON-OFFICIAL

LOBOLAB

BEST PROJECT

“Loba,” (Kiro Russo, Bolivia)

SPECIAL MENTION

“The Employee and the Employer,” (Manuel Nieto, Uruguay)

SECOND SPECIAL MENTION

“A Crime in Common,” (Francisco Márquez, Argentina)

BEST ARGENTINE FILM AWARD

“Soldado argentino solo conocido por Dios,” (Rodrigo Fernández Engler)

ARGENTORES BEST ARGENTINE SCREENPLAY PRIZE

Fernanda Ramondo (“Don’t Forget About Me”)

SAGAI BEST ARGENTINE BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE ACTOR

Nahuel Viale, (“Apprentice”)

SAGAI BEST ARGENTINE BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE ACTRESS

Iride Mockert, (“The Decent Woman”)

VENTANA SUR – BLOOD WINDOW BEST PICTURE AWARD

“Hipersomnia, (Gabriel Grieco, Argentina)

HORA CERO BEST PICTURE AWARD

“El mago de los vagos,” (Pedro Otero, Argentina)

FEISAL UNDER-35 BEST PICTURE AWARD

“Espejuelos oscuros,” (Jessica Rodríguez Sánchez, Cuba)

FIRST MENTION

“The Silence,” (Arturo Castro Godoy, Argentina)

SECOND MENTION

“The Blind Jesus,” (Christopher Murray, Chile)

FIPRESCI BEST PICTURE AWARD

“Balloons,” (Mariano González, Argentina)

SIGNIS AWARD INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

“Scarred Hearts”

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