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Saturday October 20, 2012 20:13

Top films receive awards at Chicago film festival

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by Jian Ping

CHICAGO – A private celebration was held late Friday for the presentation of the Hugo Gold and Silver Awards to the top films in six categories of competition at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF).

A couple of hundred people from the film industry, film festival sponsors and the media were invited to attend the ceremony at the Blackstone Hotel.

Winners of CIFF included films from France, Germany, Hungary, Canada, Mexico, Israel and the United States.

Holy Motors, co-produced by France and Germany, was the biggest winner of the evening, taking away three Hugo Awards in the International Feature Film Competition. The awards were the Gold Hugo for Best Film, the Silver Hugo for Best Actor, and the Silver Hugo for Best Cinematography.

The jury for the category praised the movie for its “sheer beauty, originality and breathtaking scope of its cinematic vision.”

The Best Actor Award went to Denis Lavant in Holy Motors for “breathing life into a character who is alternately tragic, hilarious, shocking, profound, hideous, beautiful, wise, but always human.”

The Best Actress Award went to Ulla Skoog in The Last Sentence, a Swedish film directed by Jan Troell, for “showing, with great subtlety and skill, the depth, complexity, and humanity of a seemingly ‘ordinary’ human-being.”

Troell accepted the award on Skoog’s behalf, saying this was her first dramatic performance in film. He added that the actress “is a most known, beloved comedian in Sweden.”

In the New Directors Competition, the Gold Hugo went to The Exam from Hungary.

“I’m very excited to see a film festival that dedicates new filmmakers as a category,” said Rebeca Gonget, one of the four juries for the category.

The Gold Hugo for Docufest Competition went to The Believers from the U.S. and the Silver Hugo went to the Israeli movie Numbered.

Other competition categories include After Dark and Short Film Competitions.

“This year’s festival is quite special,” Michael Kutza, founder and Artistic Director of CIFF, told Xinhua.

“So many of the films at the festival are made by Chicago directors,” he said. “They are famous now.”

Kutza referred to the special screenings of feature films such as Stand Up Guys, which was shown at the opening ceremony, Cloud Atlas and Flight. They were all made by filmmakers originated from Chicago.

“The Chicago Film Festival is an old and very prestigious film festival,” said Iranian director Mani Haghighi, who attended the festival for the second time with his film.

Charles Sturridge, a British director, said CIFF was a film festival “that really embraces international cinema.”

“It’s extraordinary to see the genuine enthusiasm for independent and international filmmaking,” he added.

It was very competitive to enter the film festival. Dragon, Full House, and Hometown Boy from China also attended the festival.

“We selected 175 films out of more than 4,000 applications,” said Vivian Teng, managing director of the festival.

CIFF will continue to run until Oct. 25. Friday’s award-giving ceremony is expected to help generate more awareness and excitement for the winners of the festival. (Xinhua)

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