The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival screened 191 films from 60 countries, including 46 of the 76 foreign language entries for this year’s Academy Awards®. It brought a record number of filmmakers and film goers to the desert.
Award winners were chosen by the audience, and a jury of international film critics.
This year’s Festival attendees selected Lakshmi (India) directed by Nagesh Kukunoor the Mercedes-BenzAudience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Based on true events, Lakshmi is the heart-wrenching story of a 13 year old girl kidnapped and sold into prostitution; her refusal to give up hope, and her courageous stand against her oppressors.
The runner-up narrative films in alphabetical order included: Belle (United Kingdom), The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium/ The Netherlands), Burning Bush (Czech Republic), Generation War (Germany), The Keeper of Lost Causes (Denmark), Love and Lemons (Sweden/Norway), Tangerines (Estonia/Georgia), Two Lives (Germany/Norway), The Verdict (Belgium), Words and Pictures (USA).
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (USA) directed by Nicholas Wrathall received the Audience Award Best for Documentary Feature. The film is a fascinating exploration of the life, times and work of the late, great American writer.
The runner-up documentary films in alphabetical order included: Finding Vivian Maier (USA), Monk with A Camera (USA), Plot for Peace (South Africa, Spain), The Square (Egypt/USA), Two: The Story of Roman and Nyro (USA).
Both winners received the John Kennedy Statue (“The Entertainer”) specially designed for the Festival.
The complete list of award winners are:
Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Lakshmi (India) directed by Nagesh Kukunoor
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (USA) directed by Nicholas Wrathall
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium), directed by Felix van Groeningen
FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film
Mads Mikkelsen from The Hunt (Denmark), directed by Thomas Vinterberg
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film
Bérénice Bejo from The Past (Iran), directed by Asghar Farhadi
New Voices/New Visions Award
Medeas (USA), directed by Andrea Pallaoro - Winner
Left Foot Right Foot (Switzerland), directed by Germinal Roaux – Special Mention
Cine Latino Award
Heli (Mexico), directed by Amat Escalante and Living is Easy With Eyes Closed (Spain), directed by David Trueba – Winner
Gloria (Chile), directed by Sebastian Lelio – Special Mention
The John Schlesinger Award