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27th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FESTIVAL WINNERS

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27th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FESTIVAL WINNERS

 

The Assassin Receives FIPRESCI Prize;

Alena Mihulová, Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson Receive Acting Prizes;

Death By Death Receives New Voices/New Visions Award and Thithi Receives a Special Mention;

The Birth of Saké Receives The John Schlesinger Award;

Umrika Receives The HP Bridging The Borders Awards

 

Palm Springs, CA (January 9, 2016) - Setting the stage for the year’s film festival circuit, the 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announced this year’s juried award winners at a luncheon at Spencer’s Restaurant on Saturday, January 9, 2016.  The Festival, held from January 1-11, 2016, screened 180 films from 60 countries, including 40 of the 80 foreign language entries for this year’s Academy Awards®.  The Mercedes-Benz Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will be announced on Sunday, January 10.

 

FIPRESCI PRIZE

A special jury of international film critics reviewed 40 of the 80 official Foreign Language submissions to the Academy Awards® screened at this year’s Festival to award the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.  The jury selected the Oscar shortlisted The Assassin (Taiwan), directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien. In 9th-century China, during a time of political unrest, a beautiful woman, trained in the arts of swordsmanship, is sent to her home province on a lethal mission. The jury presented the award, “As one of the best films of a master director, and an example of the martial arts genre which is elevated into the realm of art by its superb visual style.”

 

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film went to Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson from Rams (Iceland), directed by Grimur Hakonarson.  The jury said, “For the darkly comic urgency and sense of shared past with which they imbued their performances, and for the graceful way in which they guided their characters from animosity to interdependence, the award for Best Actor is shared by Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson for the Icelandic film Rams.

 

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film went to Alena Mihulová from Home Care (Czech Republic), directed by Slávek HorákThe jury said,The FIPRESCI prize for best female actress goes to Alena Mihulová for her multi-faceted performance in Home Care. Mihulová’s portrait of an over-extended nurse - and woman - reflects the film’s key merits of humor, despair and, most importantly, a true quest for a decent existence.”

 

The 2015 FIPRESCI jury members were Jon Asp, Derek Malcolm and José Teodoro.

 

NEW VOICES/NEW VISIONS AWARD

The New Voices/New Visions competition included 12 new international talents making their feature film debut at the Festival, with the additional criteria that the films selected are currently without U.S. distribution and are US premieres.  The winner received a sculpture designed by famed glass artist Dale Chihuly and a $60,000 Panavision camera rental package.

 

The winner of the New Voices/New Visions award is Death By Death (Belgium/France), directed by Xavier Seron.  The film is a tale about the relationship of anxious, part-time actor Michel and his ailing, overly attached mother, who has been told that she is living on borrowed time, but has no intention of dying.

 

“The jury lauded this Belgian dark comedy for its humor and unique, unexpected approach to narrative storytelling that pushes form and structure within a story that follows themes that are common to many films.

 

A special jury mention goes to Thithi (India/US). “The jury commended director Raam Reddy for taking his audience on a happily rambling journey, weaving a complex and layered narrative into an inviting film whose structure mirrors the content of the story.”

 

The films were juried by U.S. distributors which include Gary Rubin (Cohen Media), Dan Berger (Oscilloscope) and Ryan Kampe (Visit Films/Monument Releasing).

 

THE JOHN SCHLESINGER AWARD

The Birth of Saké (Japan), directed by Erik Shirai, received The John Schlesinger Award, which is presented to a first-time documentary filmmaker.  The winner received a Kennedy statue.

 

The film is about a beautiful and immersive portrait of life at the 144-year old Yoshida Brewery, a producer of world class sake. With changing times ahead and new regime led by the 6th generation heir, this is a rarified look at the personal and professional intensity needed to create a revered product and the artisans behind it. 

 

The jury issued the following statement, “With its aesthetic approach, patience and intimacy, The Birth of Saké mirrors the craft of making saké, and the director’s singular passion for his subject embodies the spirit of the John Schlesinger Award."

 

The films were judged by Simon Kilmurry (Executive Director, International Documentary Association), Jeffrey Schwarz (Emmy Award winning producer and director) and Lois Vossen (Founder and Executive Director of Independent Lens).

 

THE HP BRIDGING THE BORDERS AWARD

The HP Bridging the Borders Award is presented by Cinema Without Borders and Hewlett Packard, which honors the film that is most successful in exemplifying art that promotes bringing the people of our world closer together. The prize includes an HP ZBook 17 mobile workstation, valued at $3,000.

 

Umrika (India), directed by Prashant Nair, received the award. The film traces the journey from mountain village innocence to big city experience of young Rama, who follows in his older brother’s footsteps to discover if he made it to the USA, or came to a sticky end in Mumbai.

 

Audience Award winners will be announced on Sunday, January 11.  The Best of the Fest screenings will take place on Monday, January 12.  

The complete list of award winners are:

 

Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

TBA on Sunday, January 10

 

Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

TBA on Sunday, January 10

 

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

The Assassin (Taiwan), directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien

 

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film

Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson from Rams (Iceland)

 

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film

Alena Mihulová from Home Care (Czech Republic)

 

New Voices/New Visions Award

Winner: Death By Death (Belgium/France), directed by Xavier Seron

Special Mention: Thithi (India/US), directed by Raam Reddy

 

The John Schlesinger Award

The Birth of Saké (Japan), directed by Erik Shirai

 

HP Bridging the Borders Award

Umrika (India), directed by Prashant Nair

 

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries.  The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon. The presenting sponsor of the Awards Gala is BIGHORN and major sponsors are Entertainment Tonight and Mercedes-Benz.

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