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First Award Winners Announced At Rome FilmFest


Friday, October 26-----------As the Rome FilmFest enters its final weekend, award ceremonies abound and we will cover them for you in detail. The first award was given out last Saturday to 19-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf, who received the Paolo Ungari UNICEF prize for her film BUDDHA COLLAPSED OUT OF SHAME, which screened in the Alice In The City Competition section. The prize was awarded "for her courage and subtlety when dealing with such a sensible issue as the girl's discrimination in schooling" . The film tells the story of a six-year-old Afghan girl, who is challenged to go to school, despite her obvious poverty, and is harassed by boys playing games that mimic the terrible violence they have witnessed. The boys want to stone the little girl, to blow her up as the Taliban blew up the Buddha statues, but the young girl's vibrancy and desire to learn allows her to transcend these violent war games. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

A few days ago, the prizes were also announced for the New Cinema Network section of second works from European directors. The Festival screened the debut films of each director and showcased their sophomore projects, still in development, for international industry distributors, financiers and press. The SIAE Prize for Best Italian Project was awarded to RETURNING TO HAIFA, by Mohsen Melliti, for its human look at the suffering of exiles on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The MINI Prize for Best European Project was awarded to BONOBO JINGO by Slawomir Fabicki (Poland), a beautifully told and original story about a young boy who lives with his family in old railway carriages. This earnest story of survival, tempered by family love, portrayed the struggles of the Polish underclass one decade after the fall of Communism.

Today, the Festival announced the winners of the school prizes for the Alice In The City competition section, a program of children and family-oriented features from around the world. Children and youngsters from Italian schools packed the Sala Sinopoli,  and witnessed the awards ceremony, conducted by RomeFilmFest section led by Gianluca Giannelli,. The Consiglio dei Bambini Prize was given to PRIDE by Sunu Gonera, a film shown out of competition, "for having shown that there is no difference between blacks and whites, men and women, and that commitment and teamwork enable all obstacles to be overcome in sport just as in life". The prize was collected by Domenico Fioravanti, 2-time gold medal winner for swimming at the Olympic Games in Sydney and testimonial for the World Swimming Championships in Rome 2009. PRIDE is produced by Cinered, Lionsgate, Element Films and Fortress Features, with Lionsgate International is handling world sales. The Corto Scuola K12 Prize was awarded to TU SARAI, from the Scuola Elementare Montefalcone in Benevento, in collaboration with the Centro Cultura Millelire in Turin, "because watching this short film is like leafing through an album that represents our past, present and future, reminding us that we would not be here without our grandparents".The Corto Scuola Young Adults Prize was given to the film NEL NOME DI NESSUNO, by the Liceo Classico Vivona in Rome "for the themes tackled - politics, loneliness and homosexuality - which become points to generate reflection in people of any social class, intelligently managing to capture the dark and fake reality of daily life".

The AAMS Public Prize was awarded to the American film CANVAS by Joseph Greco, which screened in competition. The film portrays in dramatic terms the effect of a mother's mental depression on her husband, children and entire family. Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden is brilliant in the role of the mentally disturbed mother, with Joe Pantolliano also getting raves for his performance as the long-suffering husband and father. The film is produced by Rebellion Pictures, and world sales are being handled by Cinema Vault.

Sandy Mandelberger, Rome FF Dailies Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Online Dailies of CINEMA: Rome Film Fest: October 18-27, 2007


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