Locarno fest picks winners

'She, a Chinese' takes home Golden Leopard

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- "She, a Chinese," by Chinese novelist-turned-filmmaker Guo Xiaolou, scooped the Golden Leopard Saturday at the 62nd edition of the Locarno Film Festival.

But closing night was largely a celebration of European art-house cinema, as films from Greece, Germany, The Netherlands and Russia dominated the prize list.

"Buben Baraban," a Russian film about human endurance in the face of despair; "Akadimia Platanos," about Greek-Albanian tensions; and "Nothing Personal," an Ireland-set study of solitude by first-time filmmaker Urszula Antoniak, each won multiple prizes from the main competition jury and from juries awarding parallel prizes. "Nothing Personal" was described at one point in the proceedings as "a perfect European co-production," with multinational funding and a Polish-born director who lives in The Netherlands.

The winning film, "Chinese," also boasts solid Euro roots. A tale of a Chinese village girl who sets off for a London she has only ever seen in glossy calendars, it was funded by public sources in the U.K. and Germany and sees Guo currently based in the U.K.

The loudest cheer of the evening rang out when the Public Prize was announced as going to "Giulias Verschwinden," (Julia's Disappearance), a German-language, Swiss-made drama about ageing.

There was also a rousing send-off for outgoing artistic director Frederic Maire, who has piloted the festival for the past four years and now hands over to former Cannes Directors Fortnight programmer Olivier Pere.

The full list of international competition jury prizes:

Golden Leopard
"She, a Chinese"  Guo Xiaolou, U.K.
Special jury prize
"Buben Baraban" Alexei Magirev, Russia
Best director
Alexei Magirev, Russia for "Buben Baraban" 
Best actress
Lotte Verbeek in "Nothing Personal"
Leopard for best actor
Antonis Kafetzopoulos in AKADIMIA PLATONOS by Filippos Tsitos, Greece/Germany
Jury prize
"Akadimia Platanos"  Filippos Tsitos, Greece
Filmmakers of the Present Jury prizes
City of Locarno, Golden Leopard
"The Anchorage" C.M. Winter and Anders Edstroem, Sweden
CinéCinéma Special Jury Prize / Filmmakers of the Present Competition
PIOMBO FUSO by Stefano Savona, Italy
Best first film
"Nothing Personal" Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands
Leopards of Tomorrow (short film) jury prizes
Golden Leopard – SRG SSR idee suisse Prize for the International Leopard of Tomorrow Competition: "Believe"  Paul Wright, U.K.
Silver  Leopard: "Variaciok"  Krisztina Esztergalyos, Hungary
Int'l film: "No Country for Chicken" Huang Huang, China
Special Mention: "Edgar" Fabian Busch, Germany
Swiss National Competition (short films)
Golden Leopard: "Las Pelotas"  Chris Niemeyer, Switzerland
Silver Leopard: Nachtspaziergang"  Christoph Wagner, Switzerland
Best Swiss newcomer: "Connie" Judith Kurmann, Switzerland
Prize -- Cinema e Gioventu -- Leopards of Tomorrow
Best short film in the International Competition:
"Tuneles en el Rio" Igor Galuk, Argentina
Special Mention
"Gjemsel" Aleksandra Niemczyk, Norway
Best short film in the Swiss National Competition:
"Kitsch Panorama" Gilles Monnat, Switzerland
Youth Jury Prizes
1st prize: "Akadimia Platanos"  Filippos Tsitos, Greece
2nd prize: "La Donation"  Bernard Emond, Canada
3rd prize: "Nothing Personal"  Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands
Special Mention: "Buben Baraban"  Alexei Magirev, Russia
Grand Prix for the Environment: "La Donation"  Bernard Emond, Canada
Prix du Public
"Giulia's Verschinden" (Julia's Disappearance) Christoph Schaub, Switzerland
Variety Piazza Grande Prize
"Same, Same But Different"  Detlev Buck, Germany
Prix des Cineclubs
"La Donation" Bernard Emond, Canada
Ecumenical Prize
1st prize: "Akadimia Platanos"  Filippos Tsitos, Greece
Specail mention: "Nothing Personal" Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands
"Nothing Personal" Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands
"Nothing Personal" Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands
NETPAC Jury Prizes
NETPAC prize for best Asian film
"At the end of Daybreak" Ho Yuhang, Malaysia
Special mention: One Night in Supermarket" Yanh Qing, China
Swiss Critics Week
"Pianomania – Auf der Sucht Nach Dem Perfekten Klang"  Robert Cibis, Lilian Franck, Germany