Lukas Dhont's Transgender Drama 'Girl' Wins Zurich Film Festival

Cannes_UN CERTAIN REGARD_GIRL Still 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Victor Polster stars as a transgender girl training to be a ballerina in the Dhont's feature debut.

Lukas Dhont's Girl, a drama about a 15-year-old transgender girl training to be a ballerina, has won best film at the 2018 Zurich International Film Festival.

The feature, which premiered in Un Certain Regard in Cannes, where it snatched the Queer Palm for best LGBTQ-themed film at the festival, stars Victor Polster as Lara, the eponymous Girl of the film's title. The feature is Belgium's candidate for the 2019 Oscars in the foreign-language category.

L'Animale from Austrian director Katharina Muckstein, another film that deals with sexuality and gender identity, took best film in the focus Switzerland, Germany and Austria section devoted to German-language cinema. Muckstein's second feature stars Sophie Stockinger as Mati, a small-town Austrian tomboy who struggles to find a way to fit into rural life while remaining true to her queer identity. The film premiered in Berlin.

The critics' choice award for best debut feature in Zurich, picked by the Swiss Association of Film Journalists, went to Gustav Moller's The Guilty. The tightly told Danish crime thriller, which won audience awards in Sundance and Rotterdam, focuses entirely on a single individual speaking into a headset in a Danish emergency call center (played by Swedish actor Jakob Cedergren). Zurich's audience award went to Cold November from Kosovar director Ismet Sijarina.

Documentaries are a major focus in Zurich, and this year, Heartbound, from Borg v McEnroe director Janus Metz and Sine Plambech, which looks at the hundreds of Thai women who have married Danish men in the small, rural region of Jutland, took the Golden Eye for best documentary. Nature documentary Walden from Daniel Zimmermann won the emerging Swiss talent prize.

The award for best treatment for an unproduced film went to Maurizius Staerkle Drux and Lenz Baumann for their project C.O.D.A. – Children of Deaf Adults.