Chicago 2012: 'Holy Motors' Wins Top Honors at Festival

Holy Motors

This year’s wild card: a French auteur film about time traveling and parallel lives with plenty of SFX and a cast including Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes.

French director's Leos Carax's film won a total of three Hugos at the fest, which continues into next week.

Chicago -- French filmmaker Leos Carax’s Holy Motors (France/Germany) won the Gold Hugo, the top film award at the ongoing 48th Chicago International Film Festival. In all, Holy Motors won three Hugos, including two Silver Hugos: Denis Lavant won the Silver Hugo for Best Actor, while Yves Cape and Caroline Champetier won the Silver for Best Cinematography.

The festival held its awards ceremony Friday night, enabling filmgoers to seek out the winning films at special screenings the fest schedules during the upcoming week. 

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The oldest competitive film festival in the country, the current version began with a gala world premiere of Lionsgate’s Stand Up Guys on Oct. 11. It continues here in the Windy City through Oct. 25. The closing night film will be Chicago native Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, starring Denzel Washington.

The Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize was awarded to After Lucia (Mexico/France), directed by Michel Franco. Ulla Skoog won the Silver Hugo for Best Actress in The Last Sentence (Sweden), which was directed by Jan Troell. The Repentant (Algeria/France) won the Silver Hugo Special Mention, which was directed by Merzak Allouache.

The festival also bestowed honors in its New Directors Competition, which features first and second films of new directors. The Gold Hugo went to The Exam (Hungary), directed by Petér Bergendy. Flowerbuds (Czech Republic), directed by Zdenek Jirasky,  won the Silver Hugo.

In the festival’s Docufest Competition, the Gold Hugo went to The Believers (USA), which was directed by Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross. The Silver Hugo went to Numbered (Israel), which was directed by Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai.

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In the After Dark Competition, a competitive program of scary movies from around the world, the Gold Hugo was bestowed on Antiviral (Canada/USA), from writer-director Brandon Cronenberg. The Silver Hugo went to Sleep Tight (Spain), directed by Jaume Balagueró.

In the Short Film Competition, the Gold Hugo went to Return (Israel), directed by Shay Levi, a student filmmaker. The Silver Hugo for Best Narrative/Live Action Short went to Paul (Israel), directed by Adam Bizanski.

The Silver Hugo for Best Short Documentary went to Paradise (USA), directed by Nadav Kurtz. The Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short, the highest for an animated short film, went to Oh, Willy (Belgium), directed by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels.

The Gold Plaque for Best Student Film was won by Next Door Letters (Sweden), directed by Sascha Fülscher.


The Gold Plaque for Animated Short was awarded to Edmond Was a Donkey (Canada/France), directed by Franck Dion. The Silver Plaque for Narrative/Live Action Short was awarded to Voice Over (Spain), directed by Martin Rosete.

A Special Mention for Narrative/Life Action Short went to Café Regular, Cairo (Egypt), directed by Ritesh Batra.

In the INTERCOM Competition, which honors a range of corporate-sponsored, educational and branded films, The Gold Hugo went to Handtmann – Idea for the Future by Naumann Film. The Gold Plaque was presented to Save Bowling by Brad Bischoff; BBBS by Bengar Films; May Food Keep Us Together: Last Tall Standing by Peoples Production Limited, and Swiss Life – Corporate Movie by Seed Audio-Visual Communication AG.

The Chicago Award, presented to a Chicago or Illinois artist for the best feature, short film or documentary, went to Consuming Spirits, directed by Chris Sullivan.