The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced the winners of the event’s diverse competitions on Friday night. Prizes were awarded to films in the following categories: International Feature Film Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look Competition; and Short Film Competition. The Chicago Award and the Founder’s Award were also presented.
Animated feature Bombay Rose (India/U.K./Qatar/France) by director Gitanjali Rao was awarded the Silver Hugo in the New Directors competition, sharing the honor with César Díaz for Our Mothers.
In the Animated Short Film Competition, the Gold Hugo was awarded to French Cannes-selected short And Then the Bear, with the silver going to I Bleed (Sangro), a Brazillian piece about living with HIV which won the Jean-Luc Xiberras prize at Annecy.
Other major prizes went Int’l Feature Film winners Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Gold) and Vitalina Varela (Silver); Best Director to Maya Da-Rin for The Fever (Silver); New Director Gold Hugo to Franco Lolli, Litigante; Roger Ebert Award for emerging filmmaker to Maryam Touzani, Adam; Founder’s Award to Martin Scorsese, The Irishman; and The Chicago Award for local film to Ed Flynn, Tour Manager.
“It is our honor and pleasure to present a lineup of films that surprise, move and inspire our audiences at the Festival,” said Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “The diverse, dynamic group of award recipients from the 55th edition of the Festival serves as a celebration of excellence in filmmaking and the power of cinema to bring people together, introduce us to new worlds and cultures, and remind us of our shared human experience.”
The International Competition Jury was comprised of Gabor Greiner, Tatiana Leite, Tetsuya Mariko, Cosmina Stratan and Jennifer Reeder. Animated Short Film Competition jurors were Shelley Lynn Dodson, Ozge Samanci and Jim Vendiola.
New Directors Competition
Silver Hugo, Ex Aequo – Bombay Rose | Gitanjali Rao | India/U.K./Qatar/France
A dreamy, lush animated film with a rich aesthetic palette, this captivated the jury with its multigenerational story of longing, hope, love, belief, and family. The film’s striking hand-painted visuals alternately juxtapose Bollywood spectacle with Hindu symbolism and Islamic heroic iconography; we found its haunting soundtrack of traditional and contemporary Hindi, Persian and Urdu songs equally complex and affecting. The result is a formally and narratively ambitious tapestry that centers on star-crossed lovers, yet lingers poignantly amidst multiple intersecting stories and perspectives with finely textured details that are as exquisite as the whole.
Animated Short Film Competition
Gold Hugo – And Then the Bear | Agnès Patron | France
A young boy conjures a fierce bear to cope with his defiance and familial jealousy. Combining phantasmagoric imagery with an unusual Freudian narrative, director Agnes Patron expertly blends narrative and experimental techniques to convey a cohesive, nightmarish manifestation of inner turmoil.
Silver Hugo – I Bleed | Tiago Minamisawa, Bruno H Castro, Guto BR | Brazil
Beautifully poetic in narration and style, I Bleed utilizes a powerful collage of mixed media to tell the intimate personal journey of one man’s experience living with HIV. The film is a tragic-yet-hopeful meditation on the healing power of art.
Learn more at www.chicagofilmfestival.com.