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Thomas Stuber’s In the Aisles won over two of the main independent juries at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, scooping up best film awards from both the Ecumenical Jury and the jury for the German Film Guild.
The romantic drama stars Franz Rogowski and Sandra Huller (Toni Erdmann) as late-night shift workers in a big-box grocery store in eastern Germany who slowly develop feelings for one another. Music Box Films picked up U.S. rights to the title shortly before its world premiere in Berlin.
The Ecumenical jury also gave a special mention to Erik Poppe’s U–July 22, a harrowing one-shot drama that follows, in real time, the deadly terrorist attacks on the Norwegian island of Utoya in 2011. German refugee drama Styx from director Wolfgang Fischer, won the Ecumenical prize for a film from Berlin’s Panorama sidebar, and Theatre of War from director Lola Arias was named best film from the Forum section of avant garde titles.
The Fipresci jury of international film critics picked Paraguayan feature The Heiresses from director Marcelo Martinessi for its top honor. The ultra-naturalistic drama follows a middle-aged gay woman forced to navigate a new life after her long-term partner is sent to jail for fraud. The Fipresci prize for a film from the Panorama section went to River’s Edge by Isao Yukisada, while the Forum prize was awarded to Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still.
Among the other indie honors handed out Saturday in Berlin included the Cicae Art Cinema Award, which gave its Panorama prize to the Brazilian drama Hard Paint from Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher and to Arias’ Theatre of War for best film from the Forum.
The Amnesty International Film Prize went to Karim Ainouz’s documentary Central Airport THF. Readers of Berlin newspaper Berliner Morgenpost chose Alexey German Jr.’ Dovlatov, which depicts six days in the life of the titular Russian writer, as their film of the festival, while those of the city’s Tagesspiegel newspaper gave Julien Faraut’s In the Realm of Perfection their top prize.
The official prizes for Berlin’s competition titles will be handed out Saturday night.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival