Monday, June 12, 2006
BiFF annouces winners
Each of the films I saw were of the highest quality - I rated them at least 4 stars (out of 5) as an audience voter. Except for late starts and a persistent hum in the sound system, the festival ran smoothly, and was friendly to films buffs and press alike.
BiFF's big winner was the festival's opening film - Libero De Rienzo's Blood: Death Does Not Exist. It received both the Best of Festival and Best Feature awards. "It took 8 years of work to make this movie," De Rienzo explained. "Everyday and every night - Christmas and birthdays. We did what we wanted in order to seek the truth in a country [Italy] where cinema is dying." Blood's story of incest ends farcically in a church.
Julio Soto's Radiophobia - about Chernobyl - was selected Best Documentary. Joel Palombo won the Best New Director award for Milk and Opium; the film's 12-year-old star Swaroop Khan tied for Best Actor. Khan's vivid portrayal of a Southern Indian musician who travels to New Delhi in search of work is truly touching.
Eyal Haifon's What a Wonderful Place, which follows the lives of several Ukrainian prostitutes and their Israeli pimps, received the Best Screenplay award. This multi-layered film surprises from beginning to end.
Audience awards were given to Billy Kent's The Oh in Ohio (Feature), and Joseph Mathew and Dan DeVivo's Crossing Arizona (Doc). Mohamed Al-Daradji's Ahlaam (Feature) and Aruna Matelis' Before Flying Back to Earth received Spirit awards.
For the complete list of winners, go to the BiFF website.