The jury presided by Czech director Jiri Menzel awarded the Grand Prix of the Americas to Poland’s “Life Feels Good,” the Grand Prix of the Jury went to “A Thousand Times Goodnight” from Norway; while the Turkish movie “The Long Way Home” got the prize for best first feature.
By Sergio Martinez
During the last night of the Montreal World Film Festival there was a general feeling of satisfaction while at the same time a climate of expectation was also very much present. Satisfaction because in general this year the selection of both, the movies in competition as well as those of the general program fulfilled the expectations of the audience, in other words, we were able to see good movies from all over the world. And naturally, among the directors, producers, and players whose movies were in competition there was the natural expectation as to who would be the winners.
The Grand Prix of the Americas (First Prize) went to the Polish movie “Life Feels Good” by Maciej Pieprzyca, the story of Mateusz a man who has cerebral palsy and who had also been diagnosed as mentally disabled. However, he turned out to be more normal than what the early assessments indicated.
The Grand Prix of the Jury (Second Prize) was awarded to the Norwegian film “A Thousand Times Goodnight” directed by Erik Poppe which focuses on the dangerous life of a female photojournalist who during a recent assignment was badly hurt. This incident makes her confront difficult choices between family and work. During his acceptance speech, Poppe dedicated the award to those press professionals who risk their lives by informing the world about tragic events like the ones in Syria today, in Afghanistan or in Pakistan.
The Best Director award was for Belgium’s Jan Verheyen who directed that excellent feature “The Verdict.” The Best Actress award went to Jördis Triebel for her role in the German movie “West.” The Best Actor distinction however was shared by two players, Canada’s Marcel Sabourin for his role as the father who becomes senile in “Another House” and Denmark’s Peter Plaugborg for his role in “The Miracle”. The Best Script award was given to Maksim Panfilov and Andrei Osipov for the Russian film “Ivan, Son of Amir,” the prize for Best Artistic Contribution was shared by Mitsutoshi Tanaka (Japan) for “Ask This of Rikyu” and François-Xavier Vives (France) for “Landes,” and the Innovation Award went to Yazhou Yang and Bo Yang (China) for their film “Feed Me.”
Other prizes were, in the Short Film Category, First Prize: “Help!” by Jean Marboeuf (France), and Jury Award: “Wolsmelk” (“Wolf’s Milk”) by Hans Vercauter (Belgium). The Zeniths for First Fiction Feature were, Gold: “The Long Way Home” (Alphan Eseli, Turkey); Silver: “Puerto Padre” (Gustavo Fallas, Costa Rica / Mexico); Bronze: “Finsterworld” (Frauke Finsterwalder, Germany).
The public also had the opportunity to vote for their favourites, once more Poland’s “Life Feels Good” was distinguished this time as the most popular film, while “L’autre maison” (“Another House”) was voted the most popular Canadian film, the Glauber Rocha Award for best Latin American film was given by the public to “The Longest Distance” by Claudia Pinto Emperador (Venezuela), the German movie “The Wagner Files” won the prize for Best Documentary, and the Best Canadian Short Film award was given to 30-Love by Richard Stark.
Finally, the Fipresci (International Press Critics Federation) awards went in Official Competition to “West” by Christian Schwochow (Germany) and in First Features Competition to “The Long Way Home” by Alphan Eseli (Turkey). The Ecumenical Prize given by representatives of the Catholic and Protestant churches went to “Life Feels Good” while commendations were given to “A Thousand Times Goodnight” and “The Ferry” (Shi Wei, China).
Speaking at the closing of the ceremony, Serge Losique, president of the Montreal World Film Festival announced that the next edition of this popular event will take place from August 21 to September 1, 2014.