Entertainment

Roma film wins top prize in Montreal

Algerian-French director Tony Gatlif's film Korkoro was a big winner at the Montreal World Film Festival, taking the audience prize and the Grand Prix des Americas, the festival's top jury prize.
French film director Tony Gatlif, shown with a Turkish Roma man in Istanbul in April 2008, won the top prize for his film Korkoro. ((Ibrahim Usta/Associated Press) )
Algerian-French director Tony Gatlif's film Korkoro was a big winner at the Montreal World Film Festival, taking the audience prize and the Grand Prix des Americas, the festival's top jury prize.

Korkoro (Freedom), is the story of a group of Roma, then called gypsies, in Second World War-era France who face internment because of their nomadic lifestyle.

Quebec-born actress Marie-Josée Crozé stars in the film as a teacher in a small French village who tries to help the family get fake ID cards, but is later arrested as a resistance operative.

Gatlif was awarded the audience and jury prizes on Monday, at the end of the 12-day festival. Korkoro also shared the Ecumenical Prize with Ceasefire, by Lancelot von Naso of Germany.

Chinese film Weaving Girl was a double winner, taking the special Grand Prix and also earning the Fipresci International Critics Prize.

Directed by Wang Quan'an, Weaving Girl is a contemporary drama about a woman working in a Chinese textile factory. Wang won the Golden Bear in Berlin last year for Tuya's Marriage.

Pierre Lebeau (driving) and Julien Adam in Roger Cantin's Un Cargo Pour l'Afrique, which was named favourite Canadian film by audiences at the Montreal World Film Festival. (K Films)
Quebec director Roger Cantin's Un Cargo pour l'Afrique (A Cargo to Africa) was voted most popular Canadian feature by audiences. The film marked Cantin's transition from a director of light family films to more grown-up fare.

It stars Pierre Lebeau as a former aid worker keen to return to Africa and the relationship he starts with a young boy. Lebeau was also honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

Other winners at the Montreal festival:

  • Best director: Japan's Kichitaro Negishi for Villon's Wife.
  • Best actress: Marie Leuenberger for Swiss film Will You Marry Us?
  • Best actor: Cyron Melville for Danish film Love and Rage.
  • Best screenplay: Alain Le Henry for Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante (I'm Glad My Mother Is Alive) from France.
  • Artistic contribution: Srdjan Dragojevic for St. George Shoots the Dragon, from Serbia-Bosnia-Bulgaria.
  • Innovation award: Mohsen Amiryoussefi for Iranian film Atashkar (Fire Keeper).
  • Best short: Lucas Martell of the U.S. for Pigeon Impossible.
  • Jury award for shorts: Carin Brack, Cecilia Actis and Mia Hulterstam of Sweden for Fast Vid Dig (Attached to You).
  • Best Canadian short:  Surmenage by Quebec's Alexandre Leblanc and Benoît Bourbonnais.

Awards for first fiction features went to France's Sophie Laloy, for Je te mangerai (You Will Be Mine), Iran's Mohammadreza Vatandoost for When the Lemons Turned Yellow, and Ecuador's Cristina Franco, Jorge Alejandro Fegan, Diego Coral López and Nataly Valencia, for Los Canallas (Riff Raff).

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