UPDATED with Audience Award winners: The 31st annual Palm Springs Film Festival has named the Bhutan drama Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom the winner of its Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, and Gay Chorus Deep South its Audience Award for Best Documentary.
The news Sunday comes after the fest yesterday revealed its juried award winners at a luncheon at the Hilton Palm Springs. There, Russian pic Beanpole took the FIPRESCI prize, while Bong Joon-Ho’s Oscar favorite Parasite copped the FIPRESCI Screenplay prize.
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, from director Pawo Choyning Dorji, was filmed on location at more than 16,000 feet in one of the most remote villages in Bhutan. The pic centers on a young displaced teacher who is taught his own life lessons from the happy and kind locals.
David Charles Rodrigues’ U.S. docu Gay Chorus Deep South follows the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as it embarks upon a tour of the Deep South, where both the singers and the Southerners find their stereotypes challenged.
Beanpole, from director Kantemir Balagov, is set in 1945 Leningrad, revolving around two scarred Russian women who have survived the war and must now learn to survive the peace in a somber epic of the aftermath of war.
This year’s PSIFF ran January 2-13, screening 192 films from 81 countries. See the complete list of winners below.
Other jury award categories included the FIPRESCI Prize for films in the International Feature Film Oscar submissions program; New Voices New Visions Award for unique viewpoints from first and second-time directors; Best Documentary Award for compelling non-fiction filmmaking; Ibero-American Award for the best film from Latin America, Spain or Portugal; Local Jury Award for the film that promoted understanding and acceptance between people; and the Young Cineastes Award for the film chosen by the Youth Jury.
Finally, the GoEnergistics Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders, honors the film that is most successful in bringing the people of our world closer together.
For the FIPRESCI Prize, a special jury of international film critics reviewed 51 of the 93 official submissions for the International Feature Film category screened at this year’s festival.
The films were juried by Ken Jacobson (senior documentary programmer, AFI Institute), Shannon Service (director/producer, Second Sleep Studios) and Abby Sun (curator, The DocYard).
The complete list of winners:
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)
Director Pawo Choyning Dorji
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Gay Chorus Deep South (USA)
Director David Charles Rodrigues
FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film of the Year
Director Kantemir Balagov
FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor in an International Feature Film
Corpus Christi (Poland)
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in an International Feature Film
System Crasher (Germany)
FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay
Parasite (South Korea)
Screenwriters Bong Joon-Ho and Han Jin-Won
Special Mention: Antigone (Canada), Screenwriter Sophie Deraspe
New Voices/New Visions Award
Song Without A Name (Peru/Spain/USA/Chile)
Director Melina León
The Documentary Award
Talking About Trees (France/Sudan/Germany/Chad/Qatar)
Director Suhaib Gasmelbari
Director Alejandro Landes
Special Mention: Workforce (Mexico)
Director David Zonana
Local Jury Award
Director Maryam Touzani
Young Cineastes Award
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Director Jan Komasa
GoEnergistics (GoE) Bridging the Borders Award
Director Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche
Special Mention: The Australian Dream (Australia), Director Daniel Gordon