Oldenburg: 'Puppy Love' Takes Independence Award, Actress Honor for Paz de la Huerta

Puppy Love
Courtesy of Ozman Pictures

Daniel Aráoz wins best actor honor for 'The Longest Night,' and Miles Hargrove's 'Miracle Fishing' takes the audience prize.

Michael Maxxis' Puppy Love was the big winner at the 27th Oldenburg International Film Festival, scooping both the German Independence — Spirit of Cinema honor for best film and the best actress honor for star Paz de la Huerta. 

The unconventional love story stars de la Huerta as a drug-addicted prostitute and Hopper Jack Penn as a guy working in a fast food joint who falls hard for her. Puppy Love opened this year's Oldenburg Film Festival in its world premiere. 

Argentine performer Daniel Aráoz took Oldenburg's best actor honor for his performance in Moroco Colman's The Longest Night, which tells the true story of Argentina's most notorious serial rapist.

The Oldenburg audience award went to Miracle Fishing, Miles Hargrove's documentary re-telling of his father's kidnapping by Columbian rebels in 1994, the story that was the basis of the 2000 Russell Crowe action film Proof of Life

This year's Oldenburg Festival was a hybrid affair, with in-person screenings in the northern German city as well as online streaming of festival films for those unable to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Oldenburg, which has earned a reputation as one of Europe's leading independent fests, is among a small handful of film festivals that have held physical events since the COVID-19 lockdown.

In place of the traditional red carpet galas, Oldenburg held Living Room Galas, inviting the director and cast of selected films to have their premieres in the private homes of Oldenburg residents, with all of the participants having been tested for COVID-19 and maintaining proper social distancing. Efforts by organizers, particularly director Torsten Neumann, to secure travel exemptions for festival talent meant that many of the actors and directors made the trip to Oldenburg this year.