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Saint Omer, More  

That’s a wrap on the 34th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The desert fest rolled its credits Sunday by announcing this year’s slate of award winners, including jury prizes and audience awards. Taking top honors — the Fipresci Prize as voted on by a special jury of international film critics who reviewed 35 of 93 official submission for the Academy Awards international feature film category — was Alice Diop’s legal drama Saint Omer.

The jury praised the French film for how it interrogates issues of society, culture, race and gender. “By harnessing the skills of her technical team, Diop turns Saint Omer into a shrewd, cogent, ambitious and overwhelming film which teases a metafictional awareness while remaining clear-eyed and unsentimental,” the jury said in a statement.

Other Fipresci Prizes went to screenwriters Carla Simón and Arnau Vilaró for Alcarràs for international screenplay (Spain), Oksana Cherkashyna from Klondike for best actress in an international feature (Ukraine), and Ali Junejo from Joyland for best actor in an international feature (Pakistan). The Fipresci jury consisted of Andrew Kendall of Stabroek News, Anders E. Larsson of Lund Fantastic Film Festival and Robert Horton of Herald and Seattle Weekly.

The best documentary award went to Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger. “The filmmakers sensitivity to the subjects’ experience and their poignant capture of shifting tones is a superb use of the genre, resulting in a remarkable story profiling an enduring father-daughter bond exemplifying a social evolution,” per the jury statement. Diana Cadavid, director of the LALIFF and the FICCALI, filmmaker Amir George and film festival programmer Robin Robinson served that jury.

The New Voices New Visions Award went to The Damned Don’t Cry from director Fyzal Boulifa. The Ibero-American Award — presented to the best film from Latin America, Spain or Portugal — went to director Manuela Martelli’s Chile ’76. The local jury award honored So Yun Um’s Liquor Store Dreams. The Young Cineastes Award Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps while the Mozaik Bridging the Borders Award went to Wissam Charaf’s Dirty Difficult Dangerous along with a $2,500 cash prize.

Two audience awards were doled out as well with Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 winning for best fiction film, while Ross Kaufman’s Of Medicine and Miracles won for best documentary. For a full recap of the winners and jury statements, click here.

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Charli D’Amelio 01/16/2023

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