'Estomago' spices up Rio fest with 4 awards


RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Marcos Jorge's dramedy "Estomago: A Gastronomic Story" spiced up the ninth edition of the Rio International Film Festival, winning four awards at Latin America's largest movie showcase.

The official jury gave "Estomago" a special jury prize as well as awards for best director and best actor (Joao Miguel). The Brazil-Italy co-production also took home the audience award. "Estomago" centers on a talented cook who aims to use his culinary skills to gain power and love.

Sandra Kogut's feature debut "Mutum" got the nod for best fiction film. The Tambellini Filmes-Gloria Films co-production is a coming-of-age story seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy living in rural Brazil. It screened this year in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar at the Festival de Cannes.

Roberto Mader's "Condor," which examines state-sponsored murders and kidnappings committed by South American military governments, grabbed best documentary, while the drug-themed "Sete Minutos" garnered a prize for best short.

The FIPRESCI international jury award went to Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas for his moving Mennonite love story "Silent Light," winner of the jury prize this year at Cannes.

New Line's "Love in the Time of Cholera," directed by Mike Newell, made its world premiere Wednesday evening as the festival closer. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez and adapted for the screen by Oscar winner Ronald Harwood, "Cholera" chronicles a 50-year love story set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Colombia.

The opening film, Jose Padilha's "Elite Squad," stirred up considerably controversy before and during the festival. Police officers who work in a special unit that combats drug trafficking sought to ban its theatrical release because they claim it falsely depicts their squad as a group of murderers and torturers. The Weinstein Co. has slated a January release stateside.

In all, 300 films from 60 countries unspooled in Rio, including Latin America premieres of more than 80 international films. Organizers said the festival drew 250,000 spectators. More than 400 international industry visitors, including representatives from major Hollywood studios, descended on the festival's Copacabana beach pavilion.

A complete list of winners follows:

Official Jury
Fiction Feature: Mutum, by Sandra Kogut
Documentary Feature: Condor, by Roberto Mader
Short: Sete Minutos (Seven Minutes) by Cavi Borges, Julio Pecly and Paulo Silva
Director (feature): Marcos Jorge – Estomago – A Gastronomic Story
Director (documentary) – Cao Guimaraes - Andarilho
Actor: Joao Miguel – Estomago: A Gastronomic Story
Actress: Carla Ribas - A Casa de Alice (Alice's House)
Special Jury Prize: Actor Babu Santana for Estomago – A Gastronomic
Story and Mare, Nossa Historia de Amor (Mare, Our Love Story)

Audience Awards
Fiction Feature: Estomago – A Gastronomic Story
Documentary Feature: Memoria para Uso Diario (Memories for Daily Use)
Short: A Maldita (Damned)

Latin American Feature: Silent Light by Carlos Reygadas

ABD&C Prize
(Brazilian Association of Documentary and Short Film Makers – Rio de Janeiro)
Documentary: Memoria para Uso Diario (Memories for Daily Use), by Beth
Short: Cabaceiras, by Ana Barbara Ramos
Special Mention: Alphaville 2007 D.C. (Alphaville 2007 AD), by Paulinho Caruso
Generation Prize (Best Film, Audience Award)
Valo, (Valo) de Kaija Juurikkala (Finland)