The Senegalese film Félicité  won the FIPRESCI Best Foreign Language Film of the Year to highlight the 29th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) juried award winners, who were honored today at a luncheon at the Hilton Palm Springs.

The festival, held from January 2-15, 2018, screened 180 films from 77 countries. Last year, it welcomed 135,000 attendees for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500.

The Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will be announced tomorrow. .

Félicité  was selected for its honor by a special jury of international film critics, who reviewed 45 of the 92 official submissions for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category screened at this year’s Festival. FIPRESCI stands for the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI is short for Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique), an association of national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world for “the promotion and development of film culture and for the safeguarding of professional interests.”

Directed by Alain Gomis, Félicité  explores the sights and sounds of Kinshasa while loosely chronicling the day-to-day travails of the eponymous single-mom and nightclub-chanteuse (Congolese singer Véro Tshanda Beya) at the heart of the film. The film is on the shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award.

The FIPRESCI prize for Best Actor in a Foreign Language Film went to Nakhane Toure from South Africa’s The Wound, a docudrama that explores a clandestine relationship between two Xhosa men set against the backdrop of a traditional coming-of-age ceremony.

The FIPRESCI prize for Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film went to Daniela Vega from Chile’s Fantastic Woman. Making a living waiting tables in downtown Santiago while pursuing her dream of becoming an nightclub singer, young transgender woman Marina (Daniela Vega) finds safety and solace from an often-cruel world in her relationship with older divorcee Orlando (Francisco Reyes, Neruda). But when Orlando suffers a violent fall and massive injuries in the last moments of a fatal aneurysm, suspicion falls on Marina, causing her to flee the hospital and the eye of a judgmental city.

All three films that received prizes are on the shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award. The FIPRESCI jury members were Nathan Lee (Film Critic, Film Comment), Marco Lombardi (Critic and Journalist) and Amber Wilkinson (Editorial Director, Eye For Film).

The New Voices New Visions award focuses on films that our programmers feel represent the most distinctive new directors to have emerged in the last year.  Each of the 12 films in competition represent the filmmakers’ debut or second feature. The winner is selected by a special jury of U.S. distributors, critics, and curators.

This year, the award went to Denmark’s The Charmer.  Directed by Milad Alami, it’s a topical exploration of the immigrant experience with elements of psychological thriller and erotic drama.  It follows  an Iranian man’s increasingly desperate attempts to secure citizenship by seducing a string of Danish women.

The complete list of award winners are:

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

TBA on Sunday, January 14

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature 

TBA on Sunday, January 14 

 

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Félicité (Senegal), directed by Alain Gomis

 

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor in a Foreign Language Film

Nakhane Touré from The Wound (South Africa)

 

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film

Daniela Vega from A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

 

New Voices New Visions Award

The Charmer (Denmark), directed by Milad Alami.

Honorable Mention for Exceptional Direction: Léa Mysius for Ava (France)

 

The John Schlesinger Award

Brimstone and Glory (US/Mexico), directed by Viktor Jakovleski

Cine Latino Award

Killing Jesús (Colombia/Argentina), directed by Laura Mora

Honorable Mention: A Fantastic Woman (Chile), directed by Sebastián Lelio

 

HP Bridging the Borders Award

Winner: The Insult (Lebanon), directed by Ziad Doueiri