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Georgian film Beginning was the big winner at this year’s San Sebastian film festival, taking four of the top prizes, including the Golden Shell for Best Film, at the awards ceremony this weekend.
Dea Kulumbegashvili’s debut feature, about a woman in a closed, Jehovah’s Witnesses community who is dealing with a crisis in her marriage, and in her faith, also took the Best Director and Best Screenplay honors (for the script Kulumbegashvili co-wrote with Rati Oneli). Star Ia Sukhitashvili won Best Actress for her breakout performance. Wild Bunch is handling world sales on the film.
The Silver Shell for Best Actor went to the foursome of Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe for their performance in Thomas Vinterberg’s crowd-pleasing dramedy Another Round, which is being sold worldwide by TrustNordisk.
Beginning marks a powerful debut for Kulumbegashvili. The film, which follows a persecuted family of Jehovah’s Witness missionaries from the perspective of the wife and mother Yana (Sukhitashvili), was highly praised by critics in San Sebastian.
“An auspicious bow for a new art house talent,” noted The Hollywood Reporter‘s review.
Beginning was also picked as part of the 2020 Official Cannes Selection as well as for Toronto, Busan and the New York film festivals. Julien Temple’s music documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan, about the legendary frontman of Irish punk-folk band The Pogues, won a Special Jury Prize at San Sebastian, with the jury, headed by Italian director Luca Guadagnino, noting that the film captured MacGowan’s “beautiful, poetic, unflinching and unreconciled punk energy.” Johnny Depp produced Crock of Gold.
Yuta Tsukinaga took the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography for his work in Any Crybabies Around? Isabel Lamberti’s Last Days of Spring won the Kutxabank-New Directors Award, with Dong Xingyi’s Chinese drama Slow Singing receiving a special mention in the same category.
The Horizontes Award went to Mexican migration drama’s Mexican-set Identifying Features from Fernanda Valadez, another first-time helmer, with a special mention for Clarisa Navas’ Argentine feature for One In A Thousand.
Portuguese filmmaker Catarina Vasconcelos took the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award for The Metamorphosis of Birds, which South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo receiving a special mention for The Woman Who Ran, which premiered in Berlin earlier this year.
The Orona-Nest Award went to Catdog by Ashmita Guha, with a special mention for Haohao Yan’s The Speech. David Perez Sanudo’s Ane is Missing took the Irizar Basque Film Award, with a special mention for Where is Mikel? by Amaia Merino and Miguel Angel Llamas.
The City of Donostia/San Sebastian Audience Award went to Florian Zeller’s The Father, starring Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins. But Maite Alberdi’s documentary The Mole Agent, about an 83-year-old man hired to go undercover in a Chilean nursing home, took the Audience Award for Best European Film. Both films originally premiered at Sundance.
The TCM Youth Award went to British director Ben Sharrock for Limbo, a drama about a promising Syrian musician waiting on a remote Scottish island for a decision on his asylum request.
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