Filipino Drama Wins Top Locarno Prize

By Blaney, Martin | Screen International, August 16, 2014 | Go to article overview

Filipino Drama Wins Top Locarno Prize


Blaney, Martin, Screen International


Locarno's Golden Leopard has been awarded to Filipino director Lav Diaz's five-and-a-half-hour epic From What Is Before.Scroll down for full list of winners

The film, which has the Filipino title Mula sa kung ano ang noon, also picked up the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, the Environment is Quality of Life Prize, and the International Federation of Film Societies' (IFFS) Don Quixote Prize.

On learning that he had won Locarno's top honour, Diaz said that he wanted to dedicate the award to his father.

"He brought me cinema, he's a cinema addict, and he started this passion in me," said Diaz.

"For the Filipino people, it's for them, for their struggle, and then I would like to dedicate it to all serious filmmakers in the world, to Pedro Costa, he's my brother and I love his work, to Matias Pineiro, and to the makers of all the other films in the competition."

Shot in black and white, the film revolves around the lives of poor villagers in one of the remotest regions ofthe Philippines before Martial Law was declared in 1972 by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

According to Diaz, the film is loosely based on real events and characters, and examines "how an individual and collective psyche responds to extreme and mysterious changes in the social and physical environment".

Diaz won several festival awards last year with four-hour drama Norte, the End of History.

The International Jury under the president Gianfranco Rosi awarded its Special Jury Prize to Alex Ross Perry for US feature Listen Up Philip and the Leopard for Best Direction to Portugal's Pedro Costa for Horse Money.

The two acting highlights at this year's festival were justly recognised by the jury with the Best Actress Leopard to Ariane Labed for her performance as a second mechanic on an old freighter in Lucie Borleteau's first feature Fidelio, l'Odyssée d'Alice, and the Best Actor Leopard to Russian actor Artem Bystrov as the simple and honest plumber Dima in Yuri Bykov's The Fool (Durak).

The Fool, which was picked up for international sales by m-appeal during the festival, was also presented with the prizes by the Ecumenical Jury and the Junior Jury's First Prize as well as a Special Mention from the IFFS jury of film societies.

The International Jury also gave a Special Mention to Gabriel Mascaro's first fiction film August Winds, which also tied in nicely with the fact that the Industry Days' Carte Blanche was dedicated to Brazil this year.

But other well received films such as the Greek film A Blast or past Golden Leopard winner Andrea Staka's Cure - The Life Of Another did not get any consideration by Rosi and his fellow jury members.

Filmmakers of the Present

The Filmmakers of the Present competition jury headed by the Syrian director Ossama Mohammed awarded its Golden Leopard to Mexican Ricardo Silva's first feature Navajazo and the Ciné+ Special Jury Prize to Los Hongos by Colombia's Oscar Ruiz Navia, which is being handled internationally by FiGa Films.

The prize for the best new director went to the Sicilian-born Simone Rapisarda Casanova for his Canadian-Italian co-production The Creation Of Meaning, with a Special Mention for Damien Manivel's first feature A Young Poet.

The Leopard for the Best First Feature went to Soon-mi Yoo's Filmmakers of the Present entry Songs From The North which interweaves footage from the director's three visits to North Korea with songs, popular cinema and archival footage to create what the jury describes as "a formally innovative representation of the human condition."

The jury made a special mention of Sawada Masa's feature debut I, Kamikaze, which had its world premiere in the Out of Competition and is being handled internationally by MK2.

UK victory

The only new British film in Locarno's 2014 programme - Pia Borg and Edward Lawrenson's Abandoned Goods - was named the winner of the Golden Pardino for the Best International Short Film in the Leopards of Tomorrow Competition. …

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