Russia’s Oscar-Short Listed ‘Leviathan’ Takes Top Prize At Palm Springs

The juried award winners were announced for the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival with Sony Pictures Classics Russian title Leviathanabout a man who battles a local corrupt mayor in a coastal town on the Barents Sea, taking the top Fipresci Prize. The film, which is short listed in the Oscar foreign language cateory, was directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev.  In a statement, he exclaimed, “We are thrilled and very proud to receive this honor from the Palm Springs Film Festival jurors. Our film attempts to portray a universal truth while staying close to its Russian roots; it is deeply gratifying to feel that audiences in the US respond to this story and the spirit in which it was told.”

This year’s festival was held from January 2-12, and screened 196 films from 65 countries, including 51 of the 83 foreign language entries for this year’s Oscars.  Audience Award winners will be announced on Sunday, January 11.  The 2015 FIPRESCI jury members were Ella Taylor (film critic), Michael Oleszczyk (film critic and scholar) and Ernesto Diezmartínez Guzman (columnist and author).  New Voices/New Visions films were juried by Daniel Hammond (Co-founder and CEO), Broad Green Pictures), Danielle Digiacomo (Director of Acquisitions, The Orchard) and Eric Doctorow (CEO & Founder Random Media).

“Eastern European filmmakers — both emerging and established — have utterly dominated our juried awards this year: first time feature director Vuk Rsumovic from Serbia takes the New Visions New Voices prize for No One’s Child, the Bridging the Borders award goes to Georgian director George Ovashvili’s Corn Island plus a special jury prize to Kosovo’s Three Windows and a Hanging directed by Isa Qosja, and the Schlesinger award goes to Polish director Eliza Kubarska for her debut documentaryWalking Under Water. The power of stories from this region is palpable and infectious” said Artistic Director Helen du Toit.

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:  Leviathan (Russia)

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film:  Haluk Bilginer from Winter Sleep (Turkey), directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, which is on the Oscar shortlist.

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film: Anne Dorval from Mommy (Canada), directed by Xavier Dolan.

New Voices/New Visions Award: No One’s Child (Serbia), directed by Vuk Ršumovic.
Special Mention: Fidelio, Alice’s Journey (France), directed by Lucie Borleteau.

Cine Latino Award
Flowers (Spain), directed by Jon Garaño and José Mari Goenaga – Winner
Not All Is Vigil (Spain/ Colombia), directed by Hermes Paralluelo – Special Mention

The John Schlesinger Award
Walking Under Water (Poland), directed by Eliza Kubarska – Winner 

HP Bridging the Borders Award
Corn Island (Georgia), directed by George Ovashvili – Winner
Three Windows and a Hanging (Kosovo), directed by Isa Qosja – Special Jury Award



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