The Sapphires (Australia) directed by Wayne Blair, and based on the real-life story of an all-female Aboriginal singing group in 1960’s Australia that went from folk to soul with unexpected success, received the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (USA) directed by Ramona Diaz received the Audience Award Best for Documentary Feature. This documentary is about the dilemma the rock band Journey faces to replace their lead singer Steve Perry after he quits the band. They eventually find the perfect solution via YouTube: a street kid who fronted a Filipino cover band.
The FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year jury selected Fill the Void (Israel), directed by Rama Burshtein, “for portraying a culture usually depicted in stereotypical terms, with subtlety, sympathy and sensuality and employing a style that is intimate, but not intrusive.” In the film, an 18-year-old in Tel Aviv’s Hassidic community must choose between her heart’s desire and familial duty in a drama that make the conventions of the marriage plot feel brand new.
The New Voices/New Visions selected The Cleaner (Peru) directed by Adrian Saba. The film tells the story of a mysterious and deadly epidemic in Lima, Perù, where a depressed and isolated man cleans up after the dying. When he takes in a frightened young boy who has lost his mother, he’s quietly transformed by the experience of caring for another human being.
The Cine Latino Award was presented to Blancanieves(Spain), directed by Pablo Berger, which was the Opening Night film of the Festival. This silent movie is an adaptation of Snow White, where the daughter of a famous bullfighter is mistreated by her wicked stepmother. When she runs away and joins a band of dwarfs, her natural bullfighting talent is discovered, but her stepmother plots to bring her down.
Stolen Seas (Somalia/Kenya/UK/Italy), directed by Thymaya Payne, received The John Schlesinger Award, which is presented to a first-time documentary filmmaker. Stolen Seas presents the inside story of Somali piracy. The filmmakers spent three years in some of the world’s most dangerous places, talking to pirates, hostages, hostages’ relatives, and the shipping company executives caught up in this deadly culture clash.
Jump (Ireland/UK), directed by Kieron J. Walsh, received the HP Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema Without Borders and Hewlett Packard, which honors the film that is most successful in exemplifying art that promotes bringing the people of our world closer together. In the film, a fateful New Year’s Eve throws half a dozen characters into cross-purposes in this complex, wildly inventive and occasionally giddy mix of crime caper, romance and moral tale from Northern Ireland.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival, held from January 3-14, 2013, screened 182 films from 68 countries.
The complete list of award winners are: