The Chinese production Kaili Blues, by Bi Gan, wins the Golden Lady Harimaguada – Cajamar Foundation of this 16th International Film Festival

Jane Weiner, Inge de Leeuw, Kogonada, Rodríguez Merchán y Juan Barrero durante la lectura del palmarés

Jane Weiner, Inge de Leeuw, Kogonada, Rodríguez Merchán and Juan Barrero during the list of winners’ reading

  • The film Three Stories of Love, by Ryosuke Hashiguchi, wins the Silver Lady Harimaguada
  • David Caracol, protagonist of the film Posto Avançado do Progresso and Verónica Gerez from Cómo funcionan casi todas las cosas win the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, respectively
  • Martín Solá’s film, La familia chechena, wins the Special Jury Award, and the French-Swiss production Aloys, by Tobias Nölle, distributed in Spain by Atera Films, wins the Audience Award

The jury of the 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival (march 4-13) has granted the Golden Lady Harimaguada – Cajamar Foundation to the Chinese film Kaili Blues (2015, 110 min.), by director Bi Gan, a decision that, just like the jury’s president, Jane Weiner, highlighted during the moving reading of the list of winners, offers a “tremendous examination of the formal limits without losing the connection to the landscape and the daily life in current China.” It is, she added in English, “a superb first feature film.” The jury appreciated as well from Kaili Blues the “masterful camerawork and mise-en-scène” that immerse the audience in the “surprising visual and sound universe of the film.”

The second award of this Festival’s 16th edition, the Silver Lady Harimaguada, was granted to the film Three Stories of Love (Japan, 140 min.), by Ryosuke Hashiguchi. It offers, according to the jury, “a refreshing and uninhibited look at Japanese contemporary life, through its protagonists’ love difficulties, shown with harshness and in a quite natural way, without falling into clichés or sensationalist drama.”

Director Juan Barrero –fellow member in the jury of Weiner, as well as video-artist Kogonada, Rotterdam Festival’s programmer, Inge de Leeuw and writer and film critic Eduardo Rodríguez Merchán- has been the one in charge of reading aloud in Spanish this 16th edition’s list of winners during the ceremony held today Saturday, March 12, at the Rodríguez Quegles Palacete.

The work of actress Verónica Gerez, protagonist of the feature Cómo funcionan casi todas las cosas, by Fernando Salem, has won the Best Actress Award “for her captivating and quiet presence.” The actress is able to, according to the jury, “immerse the audience in the tale thanks to her ability to convey emotional complexity and to construct a character in constant dramatic evolution” and predicts her, in addition, a solid future: “We are convinced”, reflect the minutes, “this rising actress will keep on developing her interpretative talent and showing the complexity of women’s role in our current society.”

A completely different film, the Portuguese Posto Avançado do Progresso, by Hugo Vieira da Silva, has won the Best Actor Award because of David Caracol, whose “complex interpretation of a secondary role manages to keep the whole film afloat while taking us to the reality and geographical context in which the plot develops, avoiding predictable conventions”. Thanks to his work, they also stress that “the universe of the film overcomes any reductionist Manicheism.”

The jury decided as well to grant the Special Jury Award to the feature La Familia Chechena, by Martin Solá (Argentina, 2015), “for letting us rethink and question our prejudices about the Sufi culture in the afflicted Chechnya, throbbingly immersing us in the heart of their rituals.” “A great contribution”, adds the jury, “from the creative documentary sphere.”

Lastly, the popular jury, made up of a diverse 30-cinephile group, has announced this evening, too, the Audience Award, granted to Tobias Nölle’s film Aloys (Switzerland, France, 2016, 91 min.), a portrayal of a taciturn detective and the relationship he establishes with a mysterious woman after his work material is gone. The film is distributed in Spain by Atera Films, Miren Aperribay.

Best Short Film Award

Marc Johnson’s film, Yúyú (USA, France, 2015, 15 min.) has won, in the short-film category of this 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, the Best Short Film Award, an honor granted by the jury made up of director Alberto Gracia, filmmaker Elena López Riera and musician and film critic (in the Caiman, Cuadernos de Cine magazine) Jonay Armas, “because of the power of its pictures and its poetic construction of narrative tension from a simple ritual.” They also granted the Special Jury Award to Figura (Poland, Belgium, 2015, 9 min.), by director Katarzyna Gonde “for its reflection on the picture and its communicative dimensions.”

At the beginning of the ceremony, which included the intervention of the director of the festival, Luis Miranda, the participants in the Canarias Cinema section also received their awards, which were announced last Monday, March 7.