Chicago Film Festival: 'Sieranevada' Wins Gold Hugo for Best International Feature

Sieranevada Still 2 - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

Sieranevada Still 2 - Publicity - H 2016

Acting honors go to 'Graduation's' Adrian Titieni and 'Christine's' Rebecca Hall.

Sieranevada, a Romanian family drama, won the Gold Hugo, the top prize in the International Feature Competition at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival. In an awards ceremony held Friday night, the film's helmer, Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu), won the Silver Hugo for best director.

The Salesman, an Iranian film depicting a Tehran family's struggles amid social turbulence, won the Special Jury Prize. It was directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A Separation).

In the Documentary Competition, Pieter Van Eecke's Samuel in the Clouds, from Belgium and the Netherlands and set atop a melting Bolivian glacier auguring climate change, won the Gold Hugo. What We're Meant to Be, a picaresque Scottish folk-song saga directed by Paul Fegan, was presented the Silver Hugo.

The Founders Award was presented to Paradise, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. The honor recognizes one film across all the festival categories that “captures the spirit of the Chicago International Film Festival for its unique and innovative approach to the art of the moving image.”

“This year's festival was a special celebration of films that captured the wonders of the human spirit,” said festival founder and artistic director Michael Kutza.

In the New Directors Competition, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, helmed by Juho Kuosmanen, won the Gold Hugo, while Fado from Jonas Rothlaender won the Silver Hugo.

The Silver Hugo for best actor was presented to Graduation's Adrian Titieni for his performance as the father of a top student attacked before her final exams. Also for Graduation, Cristian Mungiu won the Silver Hugo for best screenplay.

Rebecca Hall took home the Silver Hugo for best actress for her portrayal of a woman cascading down a steep emotional spiral in Christine.

Poland's The Last Family garnered two prizes in technical areas: Kacper Fertacz earned the Silver Hugo for best cinematography, while Jagna Janicka received the Silver Hugo for best art direction.

The Roger Ebert Award was presented to Atilla Till's Kills on Wheels, a dramedy about handicapped assassins.

In the festival's Out-Look category, Heartstone, directed by Guomundur Arnar Guomundsson, won the Gold Q Hugo, while Paris 05:59, helmed by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, won the Silver Q Hugo.

Awards also were presented in the festival's Short Films section. In the Live Action category, a Gold Hugo was awarded to Madre, while Rhapsody was voted the Silver Hugo. In the Documentary section, Moriom won a Gold Hugo, while Home of the Brave earned a Silver Hugo. In the Animation category, Moms on Fire received a Silver Hugo, and I, Destini received Honorable Distinction.

The awards ceremony was held at Chicago's downtown AMC River East and hosted by Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times.