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THESSALONIKI 2020 Awards

Identifying Features scoops Thessaloniki’s Golden Alexander

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- Fernanda Valadez’s road movie has won the International Competition, Georgis Grigorakis received five awards, and Ameen Nayfeh was the big winner in Meet the Neighbors

Identifying Features scoops Thessaloniki’s Golden Alexander
Identifying Features by Fernanda Valadez

The debut feature by Mexican film director-screenwriter-editor Fernanda Valadez, Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, has won the “Theo Angelopoulos” Golden Alexander for Best Feature Film at the 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which ran from 5-15 November entirely online and attracted more than 80,000 viewers and film-industry professionals.

The international jury, comprising Macedonian writer-director Teona Strugar Mitevska, director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam Vanja Kaludjerčić, Greek director Yorgos Tsemberopoulos, Iranian actress Melika Foroutan, and Icelandic sound designer and mixer Björn Viktorsson, handed the €15,000 prize to the Mexican-Spanish road movie, as they were “impressed by the directorial approach to the cinematic form, a form that never overpasses the natural flow of the story, but constantly elevates it to a higher and deeper stance and proposition”.

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The second award, the Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander, valued at €8,000, was bestowed upon Digger [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Georgis Grigorakis
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]
, the debut feature by Greek writer-director Georgis Grigorakis, as “with cinematic force, it enters the woods and nature, to dig into a transforming rural community of people, so local and yet so universal”. The film also received the Greek Film Centre (GFC) Best Greek Debut Award, the JF Costopoulos Foundation Award, the Best Feature Film Award from the Youth Jury as well as the Audience Award.

Furthermore, the Bronze Alexander for Best Director went to Anders Ølholm and Frederik Louis Hviid for their debut, Shorta [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anders Ølholm and Frederik …
film profile
]
. In the jury’s words: “By unravelling excessive police brutality, social unrest and systemic racism, the directors cleverly confront us with fiery topical issues of stigma and hatred in our society.” The Danish crime-drama also received the FIPRESCI Award for the International Competition.

Joanna Scanlan snagged the Best Actress Award for her performance in Aleem Khan’s After Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Aleem Khan
film profile
]
, in which she positions her character “away from the usual stereotypes and graces her with a remarkable dignity that requires true contemplation and mastery of her art”. Greek thesp Aris Servetalis was recognised with the Best Actor Award for his “quiet and subtle, yet powerful and memorable performance, while his expressive face, his intelligent sense of humour and the full control he has over his body give us a tragically funny impersonation of a man supposedly suffering from amnesia”, in Christos Nikou’s debut, Apples [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christos Nikou
film profile
]
. Finally, Philippe Lacôte received the Best Artistic Achievement Award for Night of the Kings [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Philippe Lacôte
film profile
]
, thanks to the fact that its “carefully choreographed scenes are masterfully filmed with radiance and freshness, increasing our emotional charge”.

In the Meet the Neighbors competition, 200 Meters [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ameen Nayfeh
film profile
]
, the first work by Palestinian director Ameen Nayfeh, received the section’s Golden Alexander and the Bronze Alexander for Best Director. The Special Jury Award went to the topical Should the Wind Drop [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Armenian first-time filmmaker Nora Martirosyan. Also, Luxor [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zeina Durra
film profile
]
by Zeina Durra and Spiral [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Cecília Felméri both received the Special Jury Award.

The Best Location Award from the Hellenic Film Commission went to Vassilis Dinopoulos, location manager for Janis Rafa’s feature debut, Kala azar [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Janis Rafa
film profile
]
, who selected “locations of rich narrative power, capable of implying their own, rough stories”. As for the film critics’ awards, FIPRESCI picked Tailor [+see also:
film review
interview: Sonia Liza Kenterman
film profile
]
by Sonia Liza Kenterman as the Best Film in the Greek Film Festival, and it also received the Special Youth Jury Award. Finally, Ghosts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by first-time Turkish writer-director Azra Deniz Okyay received the Human Values Award from the Hellenic Parliament and the WIFT Award.

Here is the complete list of winners at the 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival:

International Competition

Best Feature Film Award - “Theo Angelopoulos” Golden Alexander
Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Fernanda Valadez (Mexico/Spain)

Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander
Digger [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Georgis Grigorakis
film profile
]
 - Georgis Grigorakis (Greece/France)

Special Jury Award for Best Director - Bronze Alexander
Anders Ølholm, Frederik Louis Hviid - Shorta [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anders Ølholm and Frederik …
film profile
]
(Denmark)

Best Actress Award
Joanna Scanlan - After Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Aleem Khan
film profile
]
(UK)

Best Actor Award
Aris Servetalis - Apples [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christos Nikou
film profile
]
(Greece/Poland/Slovenia)

Best Artistic Achievement Award
Philippe Lacôte - Night of the Kings [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Philippe Lacôte
film profile
]
(France/Ivory Coast/Canada/Senegal)

Meet the Neighbors

Best Feature Film Award - Golden Alexander
200 Meters [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ameen Nayfeh
film profile
]
- Ameen Nayfeh (Palestine/Jordan/Italy/Qatar/Sweden)

Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander
Should the Wind Drop [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Nora Martirosyan (France/Belgium/Armenia)

Special Jury Award for Best Director - Bronze Alexander
Ameen Nayfeh - 200 Meters

Special Jury Award (ex aequo)
Luxor [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zeina Durra
film profile
]
- Zeina Durra (UK/Egypt/UAE)
Spiral [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Cecília Felméri (Hungary)

Other awards

Greek Film Centre Award for Best Greek Debut
Digger - Georgis Grigorakis

Hellenic Film Commission Best Location Award
Vassilis Dinopoulos - Kala azar [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Janis Rafa
film profile
]
(Netherlands/Greece)

Human Values Award
Ghosts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Azra Deniz Okyay (Turkey/France/Qatar)

J F Costopoulos Foundation Award
Digger - Georgis Grigorakis

Mermaid Award
Days - Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan)

FIPRESCI awards

Best Film in the International Competition
Shorta - Anders Ølholm, Frederik Louis Hviid

Best Film in the Greek Film Festival
Tailor [+see also:
film review
interview: Sonia Liza Kenterman
film profile
]
- Sonia Liza Kenterman (Greece/Germany/Belgium)

WIFT Award
Ghosts - Azra Deniz Okyay

Youth jury awards

Best Feature Film Award
Digger - Georgis Grigorakis

Special Youth Jury Award
Tailor - Sonia Liza Kenterman

Fischer Audience Awards

International Competition Award
Digger - Georgis Grigorakis

Greek Film Festival – Michael Cacoyannis Award
Vasy’s Odyssey - Vasilis Papatheocharis (Spain)

Meet the Neighbors/Balkan Survey Award
Daniel ’16 [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Dimitris Koutsiabasakos (Greece)

Open Horizons Award
My Tender Matador - Rodrigo Sepúlveda (Chile/Argentina/Mexico)

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