Deauville: Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Prize

Bull Still - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The rodeo film also took the Revelation prize for best first film and the critics' prize.

Annie Silverstein's Texas rodeo tale Bull topped the prizes at the Deauville Film Festival, taking the grand prize as well as the Revelation prize for best first film and the critics' prize.

Jury president Catherine Deneuve said that her panel, which included Valeria Golino, Gaspard Ulliel and OrelSan, was divided and each member had a strong point of view for which they lobbied. That was evident when they announced two jury prizes and a special prize for a total of four awards instead of the usual two.

Directors Antonin Baudry, Claire Burger, Jean-Pierre Duret, Gael Morel and Nicolas Saada and actor Vicky Krieps rounded out the main jury, while the Revelation and critics' prize are selected by separate panels.

The jury prizes went to Michael Angelo Covino's The Climb and Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse. A special prize went to Carlo Mirabella-Davis' Swallow.

Silverstein was stuck in Austin after her flight was canceled and sent a video message from a French restaurant in her hometown. "It's such an honor, we're flattered and we want to thank you for supporting independent cinema from across the country and our story," she said. Bull premiered earlier this year in the Un Certain Regard section in Cannes.

The Climb also premiered in Cannes' Un Certain Regard section and took the jury prize there. Covino was on hand, with co-writer and co-star Kyle Marvin, to thank the jury. Covino said the film was inspired by French cinema, and to be accepting an award from Deneuve and her jury was "a bizarre, strange thing for us, but an amazing honor."

The Lighthouse's Eggers thanked his "passionate and uncompromising" stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. The film premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section in Cannes and took home the festival's FIPRESCI critics' prize.

Mirabella-Davis gave a passionate acceptance speech, calling Swallow a "feminist film" and thanking star Haley Bennett, producers Mollye Asher and Mynette Louie and cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi. He noted that the pic was inspired by his grandmother who was institutionalized and lobotomized in the 1950s. "I always felt that she was being punished for not living up to society's expectations of what they felt a wife and a mother should be, and I hope that wherever she is she sees this award and sees that her pain did not go unnoticed," said Mirabella-Davis.

The awards wrapped up a week that opened with Woody Allen's A Rainy Day in New York and welcomed Roman Polanski and Nate Parker to the festival. Pierce Brosnan, Johnny Depp, Sienna Miller and Kristen Stewart were among the festival's honorees.