Filipino Director Lav Diaz Takes Home Top Prize in Locarno

Piazza Grande
Reto Albertalli/AFP/Getty Images

Locarno's vast open-space screening area the Piazza Grande will welcome several current Hollywood films including J.J. Abrams' "Super 8,"  Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis comedy "Friends With Benefits" and "Cowboys & Aliens."

The festival favorite wins big for his latest film, a five-and-a-half-hour epic

Locarno Film Festival concludes Saturday in Switzerland, after announcing its prizes for a wide variety of films from around the world.

Filipino director Lav Diaz took home the Golden Leopard for best film for From What Is Before (Mula sa kung ano ang noon), a 338-minute, breathtaking black-and-white film about his childhood in the two years leading up to martial law in the country. The jury, led by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, chose the film, which is said to be Diaz’s most accessible and most political work thus far. The award comes with a $100,000 prize, to be shared between the director and producer.

The Leopard Special Jury Prize went to Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip, an allegory to a modern-day aggressive and anxiety-ridden New York. One of the few U.S. entries to the festival, Listen Up Philip shocked European audiences who were used to seeing a more pleasant profile of the city. Jason Schwartzman and Jonathan Pryce were on hand to promote.

Best director went to Pedro Costa for Horse Money, a Cape Verdean tale set during the Carnation revolution that succeeds in memoralizing the forgotten stories of the era. Both Horse Money and Listen Up Philip are part of the official New York Film Festival selection.

Ariane Labed took home the best actress prize for her role in the French film Fidelio, L’Odyssee d’Alice, about a young sailor who has signed up for more than she bargained for upon embarking on a new job. Artem Bystrov took home the best actor prize for Russia’s The Fool about the country’s overly corrupt housing system. The special mention award was given to Brazilian filmmaker Gabriel Mascaro for his film August Winds, an intimate tale of a city woman’s struggle living in a seaside village.

The full list of awards is as follows:

International Competition

Pardo d’oro: From What Is Before by Lav Diaz, Philippines

Special Jury Prize: Listen Up Philip by Alex Ross Perry, United States

Best Director Leopard: Pedro Costa for Cavalo Dinheiro, Portugal

Best Actress Leopard: Ariane Labed for Fidelio, L’Odyssee d’Alice, France

Best Actor Leopard: Artem Bystrov for The Fool, Russia

Special Mention: August Winds by Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil

New Filmmakers Competition

New Directors Golden Leopard: Navajazo by Ricardo Silva, Mexico

Ciné+ Special Jury Prize: Los Hongos by Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia/France/Argentina/Germany

Prize for Best New Director: The Creation of Meaning by Simone Rapisarda Casanova, Canada/Italy

Special Mention: A Young Poet by Damien Manivel, France

Debut Films

Leopard for the Best First Feature: Songs From the North by Soon-mi Yoo, United States/South Korea/Portugal

Special Mention: Parole de Kamikaze by SAWADA Masa, France

Leopards of Tomorrow International Competition

Golden Leopard SRG SSR for the Best International Short Film: Abandoned Goods by Pia Borg and Edward Lawrenson, United Kingdom

Silver Leopard SRG SSR for the International Competition: Shipwreck by Morgan Knibbe, Netherlands

Locarno short film nominee for the European Film Awards: Shipwreck by Morgan Knibbe, Netherlands

Film and Video Subtitling Prize: Hole by Martin Edralin, Canada

Special Mention: White Death by Roberto Collío, Chile

National Competition

Golden Leopard for Best Swiss Short Film: Totems by Sarah Arnold, France

Swiss Silver Leopard: Petit Homme by Jean-Guillaume Sonnier, Switzerland

Action Light Prize for Best Swiss Newcomer: Off the Highway by Rhona Mühlebach, Switzerland

UBS Audience Award

Schweizer Helden by Peter Luisi, Switzerland

Variety Piazza Grande Award: Marie Heurtin by Jean-Pierre Améris, France

Twitter: @Aristonla