Matthias Schoenaerts, Bullhead
AFI FEST 2011, currently being held in Los Angeles, has announced the winners of its audience and jury awards. The Breakthrough section Audience Award winner was Alexandra-Therese Keining's Swedish romantic drama With Every Heartbeat, starring Ruth Vega Fernandez and Liv Mjönes as two women who meet and fall in love at a family wedding.
Michaël R. Roskam's Belgian [not Dutch, as previously stated in this post] crime drama Bullhead, that country's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry, was the winner in the New Auteurs section. The film's star, Matthias Schoenaerts, was given the Acting Award for his portrayal of a Limburg cattle farmer enmeshed in shady activities.
In the Young Americans section, the winner was Clay Liford's comedy Wuss, the story of a high-school teacher whose life takes a turn for the worse after he gets beaten up by his own pupils. David Gelb's Philip Glass-scored documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about sushi master Jiro Ono, and Alrick Brown's Rwanda-set Kinyarwanda shared the Audience Award in the World Cinema section.
Kinyarwanda is one of several AFI FEST winners dealing with the Rwanda genocide/ethnic tensions: Terry George's Hotel Rwanda was the Audience Award winner in 2004; Lee Isaac Chung's Munyurangabo won the Feature Film Jury Prize in 2007.
The New Auteurs Jury Prize went to Julia Loktev's The Loneliest Planet, a thriller featuring Hani Furstenberg, Gael García Bernal, and Bidzina Gujabidze. Athina Rachel Tsangari nabbed the Special Jury Prize for Attenberg, Greece's submission for the 2012 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
In the short film categories, the Grand Jury Prize winners were Grzegorz Jaroszuk's Frozen Stories (live action) and Michael Please's The Eagleman Stag (animation). The runners-up were, respectively, Marc Fratello's Babyland and Penny Lane's The Voyagers.
Bullhead picture: AFI FEST