The 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announced this year’s juried award winners with the top prize – FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film going to the Russian film Beanpole, directed by Kantemir Balagov. Bartosz Bielenia from Corpus Christi won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actor in an International Feature Film and Helena Zengel from System Crasher won the FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actress in an International Feature Film.
31st Palm Springs International Film Festival Jury Winners
FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film: Beanpole (Russia), Director Kantemir Balagov. Leningrad, 1945. Two scarred Russian women who have survived the war must now learn to survive the peace in this sombre, hypnotically beautiful epic of the aftermath of war by the gifted 28-year-old visionary director Kantemir Balagov.
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actor in a International Feature Film: Bartosz Bielenia from Corpus Christi (Poland). In a world where forgiveness doesn’t come easy, God’s peace works in mysterious ways. After his spiritual awakening in juvenile prison, a 20-year-old violent offender passes himself off as a priest in a community still reeling from tragedy.
FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actress in a International Feature Film: Helena Zengel from System Crasher (Germany). Lacking in stature but mighty in her roar, 9-year-old human cyclone Benni is determined to break away from the childcare system that’s failing her and return home to her mother in this wild and complex depiction of youth in revolt.
FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay: Parasite (South Korea), Screenwriters Bong Joon-Ho and Han Jin-Won.
FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay Special Mention: Antigone (Canada), Screenwrier Sophie Deraspe.
NEW VOICES NEW VISIONS AWARD
New Voices New Visions Award: Song Without A Name (Peru/Spain/USA/Chile), Director Melina León. When her pleas are ignored by authorities after her newborn daughter is kidnapped by a shady “clinic,” an indigenous woman enlists the help of a journalist who helps uncover a massive child smuggling operation in this powerful debut feature.
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD
Best Documentary Award: Talking About Trees (France/Sudan/Germany/Chad/Qatar), Director Suhaib Gasmelbari. Four Sudanese filmmakers attempt to bring back the culture of cinema in a country where politics and fundamentalism have destroyed its film industry. This transportive and profoundly moving documentary is both an elegy and an ode to the enduring power of movies.
The Ibero-American Award is presented to the best film from Latin America, Spain or Portugal screened at the festival.
Ibero-American Award: Monos (Colombia), Director Alejandro Landes. Hidden away in a bunker on an Andean mountain top, a small group of teenage guerillas raised to fight in an unnamed conflict descend into madness in this powerful new survivalist drama.
Ibero-American Special Mention: Workforce (Mexico), Director David Zonana.
LOCAL JURY AWARD
The Local Jury Award is presented to the film that promoted understanding and acceptance between people.
Local Jury Award: Adam (Morocco), Director Maryam Touzani. Set in the streets of Casablanca, a random encounter between two women irrevocably changes the course of their lives. The unlikely pair slowly builds a trust that evolves into a deep bond, eventually helping both overcome the hardships of their respective lives.
YOUNG CINEASTES AWARD
For the second year, the Young Cineastes Award jury is comprised of local students who not only have shown talent and aspirations for making films but a sincere passion for watching and learning more about cinema and life at every moment possible. This group of young people spans from Yucca Valley all the way to Coachella and none of them had really met or knew each other before coming together to be a part of this jury. There couldn’t not be a more deserving group of young people to represent the future generation coming from the greater Palm Springs area.
Young Cineastes Award: Corpus Christi (Poland), Director Jan Komasa. In a world where forgiveness doesn’t come easy, God’s peace works in mysterious ways. After his spiritual awakening in juvenile prison, a 20-year-old violent offender passes himself off as a priest in a community still reeling from tragedy.
THE GoE BRIDGING THE BORDERS AWARD
At a time when physical, religious, racial, cultural, and economic borders divide the population of our planet, efforts to bridge those borders should be appreciated. In that spirit, Cinema Without Borders presents the GoE Bridging the Borders Award to a film that is most successful in bridging and connecting the people of our world closer together. The winner of the 2020 GoE Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema Without Borders and sponsored by GoEnergistics will receive a cash award of $2500.
GoE Bridging the Borders Award: Advocate (Israel/Canada/Switzerland), Director Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche. This intimate and moving documentary spotlights fiercely optimistic and compassionate human rights attorney Lea Tsemel as she continues her lifelong mission of defending the defenseless, despite the torrent of backlash she receives for being an Israeli lawyer seeking justice for Palestinians accused of terrorism.
GoE Bridging the Borders Special Mention: The Australian Dream (Australia), Director Daniel Gordon.