Spain’s Perfect Life ended CanneSeries on a high note Wednesday night as this year’s big winner at the TV festival. The show, created, written by and starring Leticia Dolera, took home both the best series prize and the special performance prize for Dolera and her co-stars Celia Freijeiro and Aixa Villagran.
Dolera, whose series centers on a disillusioned overachiever, gave a rousing acceptance speech. “Stories are a great bridge of empathy, and I think stories are a great tool to fight against hate, against intolerance, against ignorance, against racism, against machismo, that’s why I think culture should be a pillar in society,” she said, imploring for women’s voices to be included.
Dolera thanked those who fought for women’s rights and those who had had been oppressed and concluded, “So girls, take your pens, pencils, computers, cameras and tell your stories and express yourselves.”
The best performance acting prize went to Reshef Levi, another triple-threat creator, writer and star for the Israeli single-dad dramedy Nehama, who dedicated his award to his late brother in a speech that was turns heart-wrenching and hilarious.
Belgian jury drama The Twelve earned best screenplay honors for Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens.
The best music prize went to the German drama Bauhaus – A New Era.
Dark creator Baran bo Odar headed up this year’s jury, alongside Vikings star Katheryn Winnick, Sex Education star Emma Mackey and The Bureau composer Rob.
Odar compared being on the jury to being in heaven, joking, “Who knew there was so much to eat and to drink in heaven, and you get to watch shows? I have to become religious.”
He also thanked the filmmakers: “We felt blessed to see your work, it was inspiring for us. What we enjoyed the most was literally the new future that international stories will have. It was really humbling to see the richness of your storytelling.”
The closing ceremony was hosted by French comedian Monsieur Poulpe and featured red-cloaked and -hatted The Handmaid’s Tale handmaids handing out awards, while The Walking Dead-style zombies were on hand to pull off winners whose speeches went over the one-minute mark.
Poulpe entered the Palais singing a musical number while on horseback, rather inadvisably, as the visibly scared horse promptly pooped onstage. It made for some unintentional comedy when the dancers for the next number had to change their steps. Odar then had to move the mic for his speech. It was all aired live on CanalPlus.
The six-day series extravaganza closed with the world premiere of BBC One, HBO and CanalPlus’ highly anticipated futuristic family drama Years & Years from A Very English Scandal writer Russell T. Davies and starring Emma Thompson.
A handful of English-language dramas also held their world premieres out of competition here in Cannes, including AMC’s vampire series NOS4A2 starring Zachary Quinto; ITV’s Beecham House from Bend it Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha; Starz’s Now Apocalypse from White Bird in a Blizzard helmer Gregg Araki; and the supernatural spy thriller The Rook, starring Joely Richardson and Olivia Munn.
StudioCanal’s French-language Vernon Subutex, starring Romain Duris and Celine Sallette, also had its world premiere out of competition on the festival’s opening night.