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‘Atlantis,’ ‘Rocks’ Win Top Prizes at Les Arcs Film Festival

Valentyn Vasyanovych’s “Atlantis,” a dystopian film set in war-torn Ukraine, won the Crystal Arrow Award of the 11th edition of Les Arcs Film Festival.

The film, which won the top prize at Venice’s Horizons section this year, takes place in 2025 in Eastern Ukraine after a ten-year war against Russia which has left the country in ruins. “Atlantis” follows two war veterans, Sergiy (Andriy Rymaruk) and a mate, who are both affected by the war and are living in an abandoned building.

Presided over by the French filmmaker Guillaume Nicloux, the jury was comprised of Santiago Amigorena, the Colombian screenwriter, producer and author, Mélanie De Biasio, the Belgian musician, Nina Hoss, the German actor, Atiq Rahimi, the Afghan director, and Antoine Reinartz, the French actor.

Besides the Cystal Arrow prize, five other kudos were handed out at les Arcs, including the Grand Jury Prize which went to Sarah Gavron’s “Rocks,” a coming-of-age tale set in Eastern London following a teenager and her little brother who have been abandoned by their mother.

Gavron also received the Femme de Cinema Award during the festival. The Femme de Cinema Award is given by Les Arcs in partnership with Sisley and honours visionary female directors from Europe. “Rocks” opened at Toronto and won two awards at San Sebastian. It will be released by Haut et Court in France on April 29.

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The acting prizes went to Nichola Burley and Roxane Scrimshaw for their performances in Fyzal Boulifa’s “Lynn + Lucy;” as well as Carice Van Houten who starred in Halina Reijn’s “Instinct.”

The best cinematography award went to Basil Da Cunha for the film “O fim do mundo,” while Kjartan Sveinsson won best original score for the film “Echo” which will be released in France by Jour2Fête on Jan. 1. Some of the festival’s partners include France Televisions which backs the Crystal Award with a digital campaign worth €20,000; and SACEM which supports the best musical prize with a €1000 cash prize.

Spearheaded by Frederic Boyer, who is also Tribeca’s well-respected artistic director, Les Arcs Film Festival showcased 10 feature films in competition. Nine of these films had their French premieres at the festival. “System Crasher” is the only pic that had previously opened in France. The German movie was presented in post production during last year’s Work-in-Progress session at Les Arcs and won a prize, before getting picked up by Beta Film.

Underscoring its rising profile within the festival circuit, Les Arcs kicked off with the world premiere of “The Translators,” an ambitious, high-concept film directed by Regis Roinsard and produced by Alain Attal’s Tresor Films. In the veins of “Usual Suspects” and Daniel Craig-starrer “Knives Out,” “The Translators” is a whodunnit thriller inspired by recent hacking scandals involving books and films. The movie revolves around nine translators who have been locked in a luxury bunker by a ruthless publisher to translate the next book of a famous author.

In spite of the national strike which led to many flights and trains cancelations, “The Translators” premiered at Les Arcs with most of the cast, including Lambert Wilson (“Of Gods and Men”), Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”), Riccardo Scamarcio (“Romanzo Criminale”), Maria Leite (“Diamantino “), Frederic Chau (“Serial Bad Weddings”) and Anna Maria Sturm (“Best Chance”), as well as the producer, Attal. The film will be released in French theaters on Jan. 29 by Tresor Cinema’s newly-launched distribution division.

“We’ve seen that Les Arcs Film Festival has carved itself a fairly important position among other European festivals and it seemed like an ideal place to host the world premiere of ‘The Translators’ because there is a connection between the spirit of this festival and the DNA of this film — both are about multi-nationalism and European cinema,” said Attal, referring to the diverse cast of actors coming from Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Eastern Europe, and beyond.

The producer also said it was interesting to have the film open at Les Arcs where the crowd is made up general audiences and professionals, and were the theatrical equipment is topnotch.

Les Arcs’s CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin said Les Arcs will strive to have more and more world and French premieres going forward. The 11th edition of Les Arcs Film Festival ran Dec. 14- 21.

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