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‘Pacified’ Wins Golden Shell at San Sebastian

SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a surprise – it had hardly figured in Spanish critics’ prize predictions –  “Pacified,” directed by Texan Paxton Winters, won San Sebastian’s Golden Shell, the festival’s top award, on Saturday night.

A Brazilian produced movie turning on a troubled favela-set father-daughter relationship, it snagged best actor (Bukassa Kabengele) and cinematography (Laura Merians). It is co-produced by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox ,

The other big victor of the night at the 67th edition of San Sebastian, the highest profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world, was “The Endless Trench,” from the Basque filmmaking trio of Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga, behind 2017’s Special Jury Prize winner “Handia.”

Well reviewed in San Sebastian, the film swept director, screenplay and the Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics Prize for a tightly composed and allegorical thriller about a man who hides in the walls of his own home during the Spanish Civiil War, rightly fearing for his life, and stays hidden for three decades, supported and protected by his wife.

San Sebastian’s best actress award, one of the hardest-fought at this edition, was shared by Greta Fernández for her performance in Belen Funes’ critics’ favorite “A Thief’s Daughter” where she plays a working class single mother, juggling love, broken families and low-income employment; and “The Audition’s” Nina Hoss, playing Anna, an obsessive, perfectionist violin teacher unable to cope with her own failings who takes her frustrations out on her young student. The film stands out as “another note-perfect Nina Hoss solo,” according to Guy Lodge’s Variety review.

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Fernández’s award, meanwhile, was the most celebrated of Saturday night.

“I don’t think women receive enough prizes,” Hoss said on stage, accepting her actress trophy. They certainly did, however, at this year’s San Sebastian.

San Sebastian’s Special Jury Prize, its runner up award after the Golden Shell, went to “Proxima,” the third feature from France’s Alice Winocour. Well reviewed off its Toronto world premiere, it turns on the only female astronaut (Eva Green) in training at the European Space Agency in Cologne. Mother to an eight-year-old girl and already feeling guilty about the lack of time spent together, things get complicated when she is selected for a year-long mission into space.

Apart from “Pacified” and “The Endless Trench,” other male filmmakers did get a look in: Chilean Jorge Riquelme won New Directors, the festival’s main sidebar, for “Some Beasts” a reflection on insecurities and the capacity for violence in Chile’s middle class which pairs Chile’s two biggest international stars, Alfredo Castro and Paulina Garcia.

The top prize at Horizontes Latinos, however, went to another female cineast, being won by “Again Once Again” directed by and starring another woman, playwright-actress Paula. World premiering in Rotterdam’s Bright Future, it frames an autobiographical account of a single mother’s attempt to discover a sense of identity which goes beyond motherhood.

Eight of the nine directors or producers on Laura Baumeister’s “Daughter of Rage” and Fernanda Valadez’s “Non Distinguishing Features,” the big winners of industry awards at San Sebastian this year, are women.

The TCM Youth Award went for the fourth year running to a woman, Argentina’s Ana García Blaya’s, for her feature debut “The Good Intentions,” a big hit in rough cut at Ventana Sur. Its dynamic daughter-dysfunctional father story packs a large emotional punch, while playing to broader audiences and revealing a director -and as important these days, a screenwriter – to track.

German Angela Schanelec’s mother-son relationship drama “I Was Home, But” waled off with the top prize at the ever more important Zabaltegi Tabakalera sidebar.

In further prizes, Juan Solanas’ Let It Be Law” – a documentary calling for women’s right in Argentine to legal, safe and free abortion – won the RTVE Another Look Award, to large applause from the San Sebastian audience for the cause it supported.

Presented at San Sebastian’s opening gala, Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” took the Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics Grand Prix for best film of the year.

Late San Sebastian highlights most certainly included a Donostia Award for Penelope Cruz, also in town with Gael García Bernal to talk up Olvier Assayas’ The Wasp Network.” Son Friday night, she was reduced to near tears on stage when learning that the prize would be presented by close friend U2’s Bono, and dedicated it to her father Eduardo Cruz and two children and husband Javier Bardem, sitting discreetly in the audience at the back of the hall with a big grin on his face at her Award.

In her acceptance speech, Cruz spoke out in support of the victims of machismo. As a counterpoint, women’s voices, protagonists and directors certainly made much of the running at the 67th San Sebastian Festival.

WINNERS, 67th SAN SEBASTIAN INTL. FILM FESTIVAL, SEPT. 20-28, 2019

MAIN COMPETITION PRIZES

GOLDEN SHELL

“Pacified,” (Paxton Winters, Brazil-U.S.)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

“Proxima,” (Alice Winocour, (France, Germany)

SILVER SHELL, DIRECTOR

Aitor Arregui, Jon Garaño, Jose Mari Goenaga (“The Endless Trench,” Spain, France)

SILVER SHELL, BEST ACTRESS (ex aequo)

Nina Hoss, (“The Audition,” Germany, France)

Greta Fernández, (“A Thief’s Daughter,” Spain)

SILVER SHELL, BEST ACTOR

Bukassa Kabengele, (“Pacified,” Brazil)

SCREENPLAY

Luiso Berdejo, Jose Mari Goenaga (“The Endless Trench,” Spain, France)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Laura Merians (“Pacified,” Brazil)

OTHER FESTIVAL PRIZES

HORIZONTES AWARD

“Again Once Again,” (Romina Paula, Argentina)

HORIZONTES AWARD SPECIAL MENTION

“La bronca,” (Diego Vega, Daniel Vega, Peru, Colombia)

KUTXABANK NEW DIRECTORS’ AWARD

“Some Beasts,” (Jorge Riquelme, Chile)

SPECIAL MENTION

“Sister,” (Svetla Tsotsorkova, Bulgaria, Quatar)

SAN SEBASTIAN AUDIENCE AWARD

“The Specials,” (Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano, France)

AUDIENCE AWARD BEST EUROPEAN FILM

“Sorry We Missed You,” (Ken Loach, UK, France, Germany)

ZABALTEGI-TABAKALERA AWARD

“I Was at Home, But,” (Angela Schanelec, Germnay, Serbia)

ZABALTEGI-TABAKALERA AWARD SPECIAL MENTION

“Isadora’s Children,” (Damien Manivel, France, South Korea)

OTHER AWARDS

SPANISH COOPERATION AWARD

“Our Mothers,” (César Díaz, France, Belgium, Guatemala)

TVE ANOTHER LOOK AWARD

“Let It Be Law,” (Juan Solanas, Argentina, Uruguay, France)

IRIZAR BASQUE FILM AWARD

“The Endless Trench,” (Aitor Arregui, Jon Garaño, Jose Mari Goenaga, Spain, France)

NEST FILM STUDENT AWARDS

SPECIAL MENTION

“Austral Fever” (Thomas Woodroffe, Escuela de Cine y Televisión – Universidad de Chile, Chile)

ORONA AWARD

“In Case of Fire,” (Tomás Paula Marques, Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema – ESTC, Portugal)

DONOSTIA AWARDS

Penelope Cruz

Costa-Gavras

Donald Sutherland

ZINEMIRA AWARD

Jose María ‘Txepe’ Lara

INDUSTRY AWARDS

FILMS IN PROGRESS

“Non Distinguishing Features,” Fernanda Valadez, Mexico)

GLOCAL IN PROGRESS INDUSTRY AWARD

“Andromeda Galaxy” (More Raça, Kosovo, France, North Macedonia, Italy)

GLOCAL IN PROGRESS AWARD

“Andromeda Galaxy” (More Raça, Kosovo, France, North Macedonia, Italy)

EUROPEAN-LATIN AMERICAN CO-PRODUCTION FORUM AWARDS

VIII EUROPE-LATIN AMERICA CO-PRODUCTION FORUM BEST PROJECT AWARD

“Daughter of Rage,” (Laura Baumeister, Nicaragua, Mexico, Netherlands, France, Germany)

EFADs-CAACI EUROPE-LATIN AMERICA CO-PRODUCTION GRANT

“Daughter of Rage,” (Laura Baumeister, Nicaragua, Mexico, Netherlands, France, Germany)

EURIMAGES DEVELOPMENT CO-PRODUCTION AWARD

“Almamula,” (Juan Sebastián Torales, France, Argentina, Luxembourg)

ARTEKINO INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

“Daughter of Rage,” (Laura Baumeister, Nicaragua, Mexico, Netherlands, France, Germany)

ZINEMALDIA STARTUP CHALLENGE

ZINEMALDIA STARTUP CHALLENGE AWARD

Largo Film, S.A., (Switzerland)

IKUSMIRA BERRIAK AWARDS

REC GRABAKETA AWARD / POST-PRODUCTION AWARD

“Painless,” (Michael Wahrmann, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina)

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