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SAN SEBASTIÁN 2021 Awards

Romanian debut film Blue Moon wins the Golden Shell at San Sebastián

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- In a bold move, the jury has bestowed the festival’s main prize upon Alina Grigore’s raw and challenging movie; Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s and Tea Lindeburg’s works also won big

Romanian debut film Blue Moon wins the Golden Shell at San Sebastián
Director Alina Grigore and producer Gabi Suciu clutching their Golden Shell for Blue Moon (© SSIFF)

After a hugely successful 69th edition of the San Sebastián International Film Festival, where there was a general consensus among attendees about the high quality of the films in competition, the awards handed out by the official jury, chaired by director Dea Kulumbegashvili (winner of last year’s Golden Shell for Beginning [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dea Kulumbegashvili
film profile
]
), and made up of directors Audrey Diwan (fresh off her Golden Lion win with Happening [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and Maite Alberdi, actress Susi Sánchez and producer Ted Hope, have caused a stir – or at least in some circles, among both the critics and the audience.

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The raw and challenging first film by Romania’s Alina Grigore, Blue Moon [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alina Grigore
film profile
]
, was the surprise winner of the Golden Shell, even after it was by no means a press or audience favourite for any award. In a very bold and interesting move, the jury highlighted its “uncompromising commitment to the language of cinema that explores the state of both youth and womanhood”. When accepting the award, Grigore said, “In the name of all my female colleagues, directors and producers, a huge thanks to all those who are offering us the chance to get our message as far as it can get.”

In fact, the list of winners was largely dominated by women. The other two main winning films of this edition weretwo very special and powerful approaches to surrealist mystery and religion-fuelled heteropatriarchy, respectively. Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Earwig [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
film profile
]
won the Special Jury Prize, an award the French director had already received for her previous film Evolution [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, and for the Danish first feature As in Heaven [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tea Lindeburg
film profile
]
, Tea Lindeburg received the Silver Shell for Best Director and Floria Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl the Silver Shell for Best Leading Performance (which she shared with US actress Jessica Chastain for her turn in Michael Showalter’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye, offering a touch of Hollywood glamour to the awards list).

As a reminder, this year was the first one in which the festival didn’t separate the Best Performance Awards by gender, and hence it gave out a second prize, but to the Best Supporting Performance, which went to the full cast of Who’s Stopping Us [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonás Trueba
film profile
]
, a three-hour-plus docufiction made by Spain’s Jonás Trueba in close collaboration with a group of secondary-school students over a total period of five years. The ceremony offered a very emotional moment as some of the actors and actresses went up on stage to collect the award for their work on a film which was by far the critics’ favourite, as its FIPRESCI and Feroz Zinemaldia Awards wins proved.

British master Terence Davies won the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay for his inspired (and witty) writing in Benediction [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which earned him his first official award after having competed at the festival three times.

Lastly, French DoP Claire Mathon received the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography for her work on Thierry de Peretti’s Undercover [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Thierry de Peretti
film profile
]
.

In the parallel sections, a few titles shone brightly, such as Tatiana Huezo’s Cannes-premiered and now Netflix-acquired Prayers for the Stolen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(winning several accolades, including the Horizontes Latinos Award), Vortex [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Gaspar Noé (awarded by the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera jury, who also gave a Special Mention to Helena Girón and Samuel M Delgado’s They Carry Death [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Samuel M Delgado and Helena…
film profile
]
) and Unwanted by Russia’s Lena Lanskih (awarded the main prize in the New Directors section), as well as Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Emmanuel Carrère’s Between Two Worlds [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Emmanuel Carrère
film profile
]
, both winners of the Audience Awards in the Perlak section.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Competition

Golden Shell for Best Film
Blue Moon [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alina Grigore
film profile
]
– Alina Grigore (Romania)

Special Jury Prize
Earwig [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
film profile
]
– Lucile Hadzihalilovic (UK/France/Belgium)

Silver Shell for Best Director
Tea Lindeburg – As in Heaven [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tea Lindeburg
film profile
]
(Denmark)

Silver Shell for Best Leading Performance (ex aequo)
Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl – As in Heaven
Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye (USA)

Silver Shell for Best Supporting Performance
Film cast – Who’s Stopping Us [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonás Trueba
film profile
]
(Spain)

Jury Prize for Best Screenplay
Terence Davies Benediction [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(UK)

Jury Prize for Best Cinematography
Claire Mathon – Undercover [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Thierry de Peretti
film profile
]
(France)

New Directors

New Directors Award
Unwanted
– Lena Lanskih (Russia)

Special Mention
Carajita – Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra (Argentina/Dominican Republic)

Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Section

Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award
Vortex [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Gaspar Noé (France)

Special Mention
They Carry Death [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Samuel M Delgado and Helena…
film profile
]
– Helena Girón, Samuel M Delgado (Spain/Colombia)

Horizontes Latinos Section

Horizontes Latinos Award
Prayers for the Stolen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Tatiana Huezo (Mexico/Germany/Brazil/Switzerland/USA)

Other awards

RTVE Another Look Award
Prayers for the Stolen – Tatiana Huezo

Spanish Cooperation Award
Prayers for the Stolen – Tatiana Huezo

City of Donostia/San Sebastián Audience Award
Petite Maman [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Céline Sciamma (France)

Audience Award – Best European Film
Between Two Worlds [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Emmanuel Carrère
film profile
]
– Emmanuel Carrère (France)

TCM Youth Award
Mass – Fran Kranz (USA)

Irizar Basque Film Award
Maixabel [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Icíar Bollaín
film profile
]
– Icíar Bollaín (Spain)
Special Mention
Kuartk Valley – Maider Oleaga (Spain)

FIPRESCI Award
Who’s Stopping Us – Jonás Trueba

Feroz Zinemaldia Award
Who’s Stopping Us – Jonás Trueba

Sebastiane Award
The Power of the Dog [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Jane Campion (UK/New Zealand/Australia/Canada/USA)

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