Turkish director Selman Nacar’s “Between Two Dawns,” a taut moral thriller exploring ethical and familial responsibilities over the course of one 24-hour period, took home the top honor at the 39th edition of the Torino Film Festival, which ran from Nov. 26 – Dec. 4.
Chaired by director Ildikó Enyedi, and made up of actor Alessandro Gassmann, composer Evgueni Galperine and sales exec Isabel Ivars, this year’s jury commended Nacar’s filmmaking, calling the winning title “a mature film, directed with intelligent sobriety, which reveals a new, big talent.” The prize came with a purse of €18,000 ($20,000).
No doubt glad to return to in-person, restriction free screenings after last year’s online only edition, the jury spread the love around, offering special jury prizes to both Omar El Zohairy’s “Feathers” and Amalia Ulman’s “El Planeta.” Ulman’s film also won the FIPRESCI prize. Acting honors went to South Korea’s Gong Seung-yeon, star of Hong Sung-eun’s tale of big city solitude “Aloners,” and Germany’s Franz Rogowski, who led Sebastian Meise’s prison drama turned love story “Great Freedom.”
“It is extremely difficult to raise deep and complex emotions in the audience with your sheer presence,” the jurors commented, but said that Gong had succeeded in doing so. The jury also noted that, “[Rogowski’s] face and body show the effects of the odyssey that the movie recounts, experiencing it with pain, desperation, and extraordinary intensity.”
French thesp-turned-filmmaker Sandrine Kiberlain won the screenplay prize for her directorial debut “A Radiant Girl,” which centered on a 19-year-old aspiring actor living in Occupied France, unwilling to recognize what was going on around her.
“I wanted the film to bring us back to the period we are living in,” Kiberlain recently told Variety. “The heroine had to be very contemporary, so that we could identify with her, so that young people could say to themselves ‘that could be me.’”
Enyedi’s jury also awarded two prizes in the shorts competition, naming Guillaume Collin’s “Babatoura” as best in show and offering a special jury prize to Ahmad Saleh’s “Night.”
On the industry front, the parallel track TorinoFilmLab welcomed 200 international participants for this year’s TFL Meeting Event, capping off months of training sessions and workshops and three days of in-person events with a closing ceremony where 11 projects received production and development grants.
Four FeatureLab projects won Production Awards, with a grand total of €170,000 ($192,338) split by “Family Time” from writer-director Tia Kouvo, “Home” from writer-director Or Sinai, “Things That You Kill” from writer-director Alireza Khatami, and “Dayao Swims Against the Flow” by writer-director Tao Zhang. The four Production Award winning projects will also receive the Green Filming award, promising an additional investment in sustainable on set practices.
On the development front, Nathalie Álvarez Mesén ScriptLab project “The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands” received a Eurimages Co-production Development Award for € 20,000 ($22,628), Catarina Vasconcelos’ “Unfinished Painting” benefitted from an €8000 ($9051) CNC Award, and Maura Delpero’s “The Mountain Bride” claimed the ArteKino International Award to the tune of €6000 ($6788).
Written and directed by Janis Rafa and taking place “in a small town ravaged by infertility, where rumors spread that women started giving birth to animals,” the ScriptLab title “The Future is an Elder Cow” received this year’s TFL White Mirror award, a €3000 ($3394) boost that goes to a development project tackling environmental concerns.
“It has been great to once again breathe the incomparable energy of live events,” TFL program coordinator Angelica Cantisani tells Variety. “It has been a different edition of the TFL Meeting Event for sure, as we had to reduce the number of our guests to grant a safe environment. But, at the same time, [it created a] more intimate atmosphere.” “
“We have been able to schedule 500 meetings in two days,” Cantisani continues. “I think there is an important message behind these numbers. Even if it’s the worst moment for the cinema industry, filmmakers still have a lot to say and the industry players are ready to help them to make their movies come to life.”