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San Sebastian and the winners are: Half Moon...

Saturday Afternoon in the press room where the Concha prizes have been
announced, and, the Main Winners were -- -- -- (pause for bated breath) -- -- -

Kurd-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi scored another big victory here with two of the most important awards, the Golden Concha, or Grand Prix for Best Film, “NIEMANG/HALF MOON, and the International Film Critics FIPRESCI prize as well. This was Ghobadi’ second Golden Concha best film prize here in
Donostia, where his “Turtles Can Fly” really took off and flew -- around the world -- after takling the top award at this festival. Is this getting to be a habit?... and will he make it ‘three in a row’ with his next one?
Bahman is in fact all set to shoot another movie, this one to be set in Teheran and filmed in Farsi (Persian), not Kurdish, as his last two were. The working title is “Looking for Hassan”, and Bahman plans to start the cameras rolling as soon as he gets back home from San Sebastian.

Abbas Yari, editor of Iran’s leading film magazine, “The Iranian Int’l Film Quarterly”, who is a close friend of Ghobadi’s told me that Ghobadi told him – that -- he has altogether SIX more film projects in mind at this moment, two Persian subjects, and Four More Kurdish ones! Remember, (ahem, ahem) that you heard that one first on this Website – and this is Louella Parsons speaking to you from Gollywood, with my next exclusive –Wait-a-sec –what am I saying? -- I’m not Louella Parsons – I’m just a mild-mannered reporter for -- wonder what Abbas spiked my pistachio nuts with this morning at breakfast? In any case, you did hear this hot insider news right here, and if you read this Website, you will be the First To Know – even before CNN makes you the first to regret you turned your TV set on.
And anyway you look at it – if you have any interest in the International film scene, this Ghobadi is one dude to keep your eye on, period.

The top prizes were announced to the press in French by jury president Jeanne Moreau, wrapped in a heavy black sweater and seated at the usual press conference table with the other jurors at her side. Her characteristic melodious voice was a bit clouded by a slight hoarseness, but otherwise she looked fine. The Ghobadi awards were greeted with a round of applause that were more polite, it seemed to me, than heatedly enthusiatic, but there were no catcalls, hisses, or groans, as is sometimes the case at these pre-announcements to the press -- unlike two years ago, when it was all but unthinkable that any film but “Turtles Can Fly” could possibly take the Gold. To say that the present award for “Half Moon” was more political than anything else would be, at this point, somewhat hasty. A certain reflection is called for -- we’ll see what the Spanish press has to say about it tomorrow.

The Silver Shell for best director prize went to Juan Diego, for the Spanish film “Vete De Mí” (Get outta my sight!), best actor to Tom Dicillo for the American production “Delirious”, and the best actress was Nathalie Baye for her work in the French film “Mon Fils à Moi” (My Son). Ghobadi’s “Half Moon” picked up a third distinction for the camera work of New Zealander, well deserved and generally concurred upon.

A special Jury Prize was awarded to the Argentine film “El Camino de San Diego”, by Carlos Sorín, whose lovable “Bombón: The Dog” won the FIPRESCI prize here in 2004. Tonite, the closing red-carpet gala official Concha Award ceremony, where the close-out film will be “Lonely Hearts” starring John Travolta and Mexican beauty, Selma Hayek – this to be followed by the gala closing party at a fancy palacio up on the hill overlooking Concha Beach and the marvellous half-moon bay of the city.

Alex in Donostia,

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Chatelin Bruno
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