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2007 Montreal World Film Festival Awards


Monday, September 3--------In an unprecedented move, the Competition Jury of the Montreal World Film Festival decided to split the Festival's highest honor, the Grand Prix Des Ameriques, a first in Festival history. The period drama UN SECRET by veteran French director Claude Miller, which had its world premiere at the event and closed the Festival's 31st edition this evening, shared the honor with BEN-X, a Belgian/Dutch co-production by first-time director Nic Balthazar. BEN-X, a highly imaginative film about an autistic young man who uses the world of on-line communications and computer games to exact revenge on the bullys who torment him. The film was a big prize winner, also winning the Ecumenical Prize for its "unsual use of religious imagery to promote spiritual and human awareness", as well as  winning the Festival Audience Award.

La CajaLa CajaBalthazar was certainly the "find" of this year's Festival, which had an unusually strong roster of films in the World Cinema Competition and the First Film Competition. Nearly 75 films in all sections of the Festival were from first-time directors, further solidifying Montreal's reputation as a festival of discovery of new talents. Three films were honored in the First Film Competiton, including DONG SUN (BAMBOO SHOOTS), a story of cultural conflict in modern China by director Jian Yi, which won the Bronze Zenith; MALOS HABITS (BAD HABITS), a tale of hearty appetites and table manners by Mexican director Simon Bross, which won the Silver Zenith; and LA CAJA (THE WOODEN BOX), a tale of community set in the 1960s in the Canary Islands, by Spanish director Juan Carlos Falcón, which won the Golden Zenith (first pirze).

Other major awards announced to a packed house at the Maisonneuve Theater, the Festival's impressive screening venue, included a Special Grand Jury Prize to the Israel film NOODLE by director Ayelet Menahemi; the Best Director Prize to Switzerland's Jacob Berger for the multi-character drama 1 JOURNEE (1 DAY); and a shared Best Actor Prize for the two leads (playing a transsexual and an autistic boy respectively) in the Portugese drama A OUTRA MARGEM (THE OTHER SIDE) by director Luis Filipe Rocha.Samira's GardenSamira's Garden

The Best Screenplay Award to Moroccan writer/director Latif Lalouh for SAMIRA'S GARDEN, a lacerating indictment of arranged marriage and the emotional turmoil of love and betrayal. That film also won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, announced earlier this afternoon. Unfortunately, the twin awards for Lalouh were somewhat bittersweet. The director was rushed to a Montreal hospital earlier in the day after suffering a mild heart attack. One only hopes that the honors given to him by the Festival will help him have a speedy recovery.

A full list of Festival Awards is included below. For more information on the films, visit the Festival's website:

Sandy Mandelberger, Montreal World FF Dailies Editor




Grand Prix des Ameriques:
BEN X by Nic Balthazar (Belgium / Netherlands)
A SECRET by Claude Miller (France)

Special Grand Prix of the Jury:
NOODLE by Ayelet Menahemi (Israël)

Best Director:
1 DAY (1 JOURNÉE) by Jacob Berger (Switzerland)

Best Artistic Contribution:

Best Actress:
ANDREA SAWAKTZKI for the film THE OTHER BOY by Volker Einrauch (Germany)

Best Actor:
FILIPE DUARTE and TOMÁS ALMEIDA for the film A OUTRA MARGEM (THE OTHER SIDE) by Luis Filipe Rocha (Portugal / Brazil)

Best Screenplay:
SAMIRA'S GARDEN by Latif Lahlou, screenplay by Latif Lahlou (Morocco)

Innovation Award:
D75-TARTINA CITY by Issa Serge Coelo (Tchad / France / Morocco)



1er prize:
CLEANING LADY'S DREAMS by Banu Akseki (Belgium)

Jury Award:
L.H.O. by Jan Zabeil (Allemagne)


Golden Zenith for the Best First Fiction Feature Film:
LA CAJA (THE WOODEN BOX) by Juan Carlos Falcón (Spain)

Silver Zenith for First Fiction Feature Film:
MALOS HABITOS (BAD HABITS) by Simon Bross (Mexico)

Bronze Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film:

Special Mention in the First Feature Film Category:
WIND MAN by Khuat Akhmetov (Russie)


Public Award for the most popular film of the Festival :
BEN X by Nic Balthazar (Belgium / Netherlands)

Public Award for the most popular canadian feature film :
SURVIVING MY MOTHER by Émile Gaudreault (Canada)

Glauber Rocha Award for the Best Latin American Film :
PARTES USADAS (USED PARTS) by Aarón Fernandez (Mexico)

Award for Best Documentary Film :
NACH DER MUSIK (A FATHER'S MUSIC) by Igor Heitzmann (Germany)

Award for Best Canadian Short Film :
GILLES' LILI (LA LILI A GILLES) by David Uloth (Canada)

Feature film:
SAMIRA'S GARDEN by Latif Lahlou (Morocco)
Short film:

BEN X by Nic Balthazar (Belgium / Netherlands)


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