The Red Awn wins at Thessaloniki Film Festival

The 48th annual Thessaloniki International Film Festival closed on Sunday. The main prize, the Golden Alexander for Best Film, went to Chinese drama The Red Awn, written and directed by Cai Shangjun. The Red Awn had previously won the FIPRESCI prize, awarded by a jury of international film critics, at the Pusan Film Festival in South Korea in October. It is the story of a Chinese man who returns to his hometown after being declared dead and tries to reconnect with his son, whom he has not seen in five years.

The festival jury, helmed by Czech filmmaker Jirí Menzel, gave the special prize to Colombian thriller PVC-1, the film that was also the audience’s favourite in Thessaloniki. Directed by Spiros Stathoulopoulos, PVC-1 also brought Alberto Sornoza the best actor prize. Based on a true story and shot in a single take, the film follows a kidnap victim whose family fails to pay the ransom and who is subsequently turned into a human time bomb.

Estonian filmmaker Veiko Ounpuu was voted best director for his drama Autumn Ball, a meditation on abandonment and solitude, and Thanos Anastopoulos and Vasilis Raistis won the prize for best screenplay for Correction, a drama directed by Anastopoulos that also won the third prize in the State Cinema competition. El Greco by Iannis Smaragdis was voted best Greek film at the festival.

Anna Lalasidiou won the award for best actress for her performance in the feature Elli Makra: 42277 Wuppertal.

The jury gave the award for artistic achievement to Mexican film The Year of the Nail, directed by Jonas Cuaron.

You can read about other winners in more detail on the Alternative Film Guide blog.

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