'El Premio' Takes the Prize at Morelia Film Fest

U Media

Paula Markovitch's dirty war drama has won best picture at Mexico's top two film festivals this year.

MORELIA, Mexico -- Paula Markovitch's dirty war drama El Premio (The Prize) won best picture on Saturday at the ninth edition of the Morelia International Film Festival, giving it back-to-back victories at Mexico's top two cinema showcases. 

The Prize, Argentine-born writer-director Markovitch's first feature, is the story of a mother and daughter who must go into hiding during Argentina's dirty war era. 

The film had its worldwide premiere at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, where it won two Silver Bears for outstanding artistic achievement in camera work and production design. 

Prior to taking the director's chair, Markovitch co-wrote screenplays with indie filmmaker Fernando Eimbcke (Duck Season, Lake Tahoe). France's U Media handles sales for The Prize

Despite wins at Mexico's most prestigious film festivals (Morelia and Guadalajara), The Prize is yet to land a distribution deal here. 

The audience prize in Morelia went to Kenya Marquez's dark comedy Fecha de Caducidad (Expiration Date). It is the feature film debut of Marquez, a former director of the Guadalajara film fest. Expiration Date also got  special jury mention alongside Michel Lipkes' Malaventura and Hari Sama's El Sueno de Lu (The Dream of Lu). 

Silvestre Pantaleon, which centers on the hardships of an elderly indigenous man, took home the award for best documentary. Roberto Olivares and Jonathan D. Amith share directing and writing credits.

Special guests this year in the colonial city of Morelia included Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr, German director Volker Schlondorff and Academy Award winner Michel Gondry