Spanish-language film “I Have Electric Dreams” won the Golden Peacock, the top prize at the 53rd International Film Festival of India held in Goa from Nov. 20-28. The Silver Peacock for best director was awarded to Iranian writer-director Nader Saeivar for protest drama “No End.”
Directed by Costa Rican filmmaker Valentina Maurel, “I Have Electric Dreams” explores the mercurial relationship between an artist and her 16-year-old daughter. While announcing the prize at the closing ceremony of IFFI at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, the jury said: “It was so electrifying, so vibrating, that while watching it, we felt as if we, ourselves, were trembling.”
“No End,” described as “a magical and subtle portrayal of Iran’s regressive socio-political system,” also earned its lead actor Vahid Mobasseri the Silver Peacock for best male actor. In its citation, the jury commended Mobasseri’s “economy of gestures and being capable to transmit, with no words, and only with his face, the complexity of feelings that torment the protagonist of the film.”
Daniela Marín Navarro won the Silver Peacock for best female actor for her performance as 16-year-old Eva in “I Have Electric Dreams.” The citation commended Navarro’s “ease, freshness and credibility with which the actress carries out her work, giving life to her character, full of naivety, so typical in the difficult age of adolescence.”
The award for best debut feature film of a director went to Asimina Proedrou for the Greek film “Behind the Haystacks,” a family drama set against the Greek refugee crisis.
The jury, speaking through its chief, Israeli writer and film director Nadav Lapid, criticized the inclusion in the International Competition of “The Kashmir Files,” which they alleged “felt like a propaganda movie.”
Alongside Lapid, the International Competition jury included U.S. producer Jinko Gotoh, French film editor Pascale Chavance, Spanish documentary filmmaker, film critic and journalist Javier Angulo Barturen, and Indian film director Sudipto Sen.
On behalf of the jury, Lapid thanked the festival director and head of programming for the “cinematic richness of the program and for its diversity, for the complexity.” Fifteen films were in the International Competition. Lapid said: “Fourteen out of them had the cinematic qualities and ethos. We were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, ‘The Kashmir Files,’ that felt to us like a propaganda movie, inappropriate for the artistic competitive section at such a prestigious film festival.”
Among the other winners were Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz’s revenge tragedy “When the Waves Are Gone” (Special Jury Mention), Praveen Kandregula’s Indian film “Cinema Bandi” (Special Mention) and Iranian film “Nargesi,” about a person with Down’s Syndrome’s search for love, which won the ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal.
International filmmakers and Indian cinema greats shared the stage at the closing ceremony of IFFI. Indian movie stars Chiranjeevi, Akshay Kumar, Asha Parekh, Ayushmann Khurrana, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Rana Daggubati, Esha Gupta and Sharman Joshi represented India’s diverse filmmaking centers. Among the international guests were Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon, and Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, creators of the Israeli hit series “Fauda.”
Anurag Thakur, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, congratulated Telugu actor Chiranjeevi, who was conferred with the Indian Personality of the Year Award. “Chiranjeevi had an illustrious career spanning nearly four decades and over 150 films that have left audiences spellbound,” he said.
Also present were Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, Minister of State, Information and Broadcasting, Dr. L. Murugan and Ravinder Bhakar, MD of India’s National Film Development Corporation, which organizes IFFI alongside the Entertainment Society of Goa.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Thakur said, “Over the last nine days, IFFI curated the screenings of 282 films, clocking 3500 minutes of viewing time. The festival featured 183 international films and 97 Indian films in 65 international and 15 Indian languages from 78 countries worldwide. IFFI not only entertained but also educated us.”
The awards presentation was followed by on-stage performances by singers Papon and Shalmali Kholgade and Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana, among others.