UPDATED: Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” was named the top foreign language film at the 28th annual Palm Springs Film Festival. This year’s winners were announced at a luncheon on Saturday during the fest, which runs through Jan. 16.
The audience awards went to “When We Rise,” the first episode of Gus van Sant and Dustin Lance Black’s ABC docudama about gay rights in the narrative category and “Take Me Home Huey” in the documentary category, directed by Alicia Brauns and Christine Steele.
When We Rise (U.S.), directed by Gus Van Sant. From Gus van Sant and Dustin Lance Black, the festival screened the first episode of this stirring seven-part docudrama that charts the progress of Gay Liberation from its early days in San Francisco in the 1960s to its 21st-century triumphs. When We Rise will air on ABC starting February 27. The screening was a North American premiere at the Festival.
“Erdmann,” a German comedy-drama starring Peter Simonischek and Sandra Huller, was lauded by the jury of international film critics (FIPRESCI) “for its originality, human complexity and unique tonal orchestration that seems natural and uncalculated. It is also an observant look at corporate culture carried by two wonderful performances.”
Gael Garcia Bernal’s turn in “Neruda” earned him the prize for best actor in a foreign film, while Isabelle Huppert took the actress prize for “Elle.”
“Bernal’s performance is the heart of the film’s tonal shifts, infusing the historical drama with the very poetry of its subject matter,” the jury said of the actor. And of Huppert, it commented, “Her intelligence, self-assurance, and gift for conveying rich emotional tones have never been more strikingly displayed.”
“White Sun” was selected for the New Voices/New Visions award, which goes to a director who brings their narrative feature to the festival for the first or second time. “Kati Kati” from Kenya and Germany and “Mellow Mud” from Latvia earned special mentions in the category. “No Dress Code Required” won the feature documentary prize for a first or second-time director at the fest. A special mention was also given to “Beauties of the Night.”
“Neruda” won the award for the best Ibero-American film at the festival and “Everything Else” got a special mention. French film “Mercenary” was selected to win from a category of films that promote bringing the people of our world closer together.