Lima Film Festival's Top Prize Goes to First-Time Director

Paula Markovitch's "The Award" is named best picture, leading an awards sweep by Argentine films at Peruvian festival.

BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina led the awards stand at the Lima Film Festival, as first-time filmmaker Paula Markovitch won the top prize with her film The Award. The Argentine sweep also included Anahi Berneri picking up best director for In Your Fault, the best opera prima award for Las Acacias, and writers Ana and Miguel Cohen walking away best script for Sin Retorno.

A Mexican production that had won the Silver Bear in the last Berlin International Film Festival, The Award is set during the last Argentine junta and focuses on a little girl’s perspective of things while she lives in hiding with her mother.

Directed by Pablo Giorgello and winner of the Golden Camera in Cannes,  Las Acacias describes the relationship between an introverted truck driver and the woman he’s giving a 1,500-kilometer lift to Buenos Aires from Paraguay’s capital Asuncion. 

Anahi Berneri’s It’s Your Fault also took home the Peruvian Film Critics Assn. Prize for “depicting a family’s border-line situation through an economy of language without losing expressive richness,” and creating “an oppressive climate by adding apparently innocuous scenes.” APRECI’s statement also praised the film’s “transparent and crude manner” in which it depicts the family ties’ violent ambiguity “without prejudice or judgment” and lead actress Erica Rivas, who “is now inscribed among the new heroines of melodrama.”

The jury presided by Geraldine Chaplin also gave a special jury prize to Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman’s Jean Gentil (Dominican Republic/Mexico), which also won the FIPRESCI Award. The international critic’s jury added a special jury’s mention to Federico Veiroj’s A Useful Life, from Uruguay.

The best actor and actress awards went to Damian Alcazar for Chicogrande (Mexico) and Elena Albagarian for Trabajar cansa (Brazil).