Matteo Garrone’s organized crime drama Gomorrah (above, top photo), based on Roberto Saviano’s polemical book, took top honors at the 2009 David di Donatello awards. The Italian Film Academy voted Gomorrah the best Italian film of the year and Garrone the best director, in addition to handing the film five other awards, including best screenplay and best producer.
Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo (above, lower photo), which also deals (however indirectly) with the mafia, also received a total of seven statues (out of 16 nominations), including the best actor trophy for star Toni Servillo’s brilliant caricature of former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti, and a Best Supporting Actress win for Piera Degli Espositi.
Last year, Gomorrah won the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix while Sorrentino’s Il Divo was awarded the Special Jury Prize. Italy’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, Gomorrah surprisingly failed to be included in the list of final Oscar nominees.
According to Variety, Gomorrah has grossed more than $25 million internationally, with about half its take originating from outside Italy.
Among the other David winners were best actress Alba Rohrwacher (above, with Silvio Orlando), for her portrayal of a young woman locked up in a Fascist-era mental institution in Pupi Avati’s Giovanna’s Father; best first-time director (and Gomorrah co-screenwriter) Gianni Di Gregorio for Mid-August Lunch; best supporting actor Giuseppe Battiston for Non pensarci; and Young David winner Giulio Manfredonia for Si può fare.
Also, the best European Union film was Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, while the best foreign film was Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.
Veteran actress Virna Lisi was one of this year’s winners of the Italian Academy’s Honorary Awards.
Fausto Brizzi’s Ex, nominated in ten categories, went home empty-handed.
Student Academy Awards Finalists + Tribeca Film Festival Winners
Thirty-six students from 20 US colleges and universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2009 Student Academy Awards competition. Academy members will pick the winners after watching the competing films at special screenings.
Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards, along with accompanying cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, may be presented in each of the four categories below. The winners will later take part in a week of industry-related and social activities, including the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 13, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):
Alice’s Attic, Robyn Yanoukos, University of California, Los Angeles
Breathe, Sean Conaty and John Thompson, University of Southern California
Matter, In Quiescent State Prepares Itself to be Transformed (above), Kwibum Chung, School of Visual Arts, New York
Subconscious, Jason Chen, University of the Arts, Pennsylvania
Thirty-One Thousand Feet Above, Imran Shafi, University of Southern California
Cadillac ’59, Hamilton Lewis, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
Divers, Paris Mavroidis, Pratt Institute, New York
Entering the Mind through the Mouth, Jin Sung Choi, Academy of Art University, California
I Live in the Woods, Max Winston, California Institute of the Arts
Kites, Jud Henry, Brigham Young University
Lilium Urbanus (above), Joji Tsuruga and Anca Risca, School of Visual Arts
Pajama Gladiator, Glenn Harmon, Brigham Young University
Scrimshander, George Smaragdis, Pratt Institute
Sebastian’s Voodoo (top, upper photo), Joaquin Baldwin, University of California, Los Angeles
Close to Home, Theo Rigby, Stanford University
In Circles, Emile Bokaer and Alaa Eldin El Dajani, Stanford University
The Last Mermaids (top, middle photo), Liz Chae, Columbia University
Nutkin’s Last Stand (above), Nicholas Berger, Stanford University
A Place to Land, Lauren DeAngelis, American University, Washington, D.C.
Sustaining Life, Robert Hess, Savannah College of Art and Design
Three Pilots, Philip Leaman, University of Michigan
The Wait, Cassandra Lizaire and Kelly Asmuth, Columbia University
Win or Lose: A Summer Camp Story, Louis Lapat, Columbia University
After the Storm, Michael Green, Florida State University
Bohemibot (top, lower photo), Brendan Bellomo, New York University
The Bronx Balletomane (above), Jeremy Joffee, City College of New York
Ida y Vuelta (Round Trip), David Martin-Porras, University of California, Los Angeles
Kavi, Gregg Helvey, University of Southern California
1915, Marco Garcia, University of North Carolina
Short Term 12, Destin Cretton, San Diego State University
Transposition, Joshua Overbay, Regent University, Virginia
Una y Otra Vez, Antonio Mendez, Columbia University
As per the Academy’s press release, “to reach this stage, students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region is permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalist films in each of the four categories.” Additionally, a film by a student attending a foreign university or school will be chosen as the 2009 Honorary Foreign Film.
The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 37 Oscar nominations and have won or shared six awards. Two former Student Academy Award winners were nominees at the 2009 Academy Awards: Pete Docter received his fourth nomination for the original screenplay for WALL-E, and Honorary Foreign Film award winner Reto Caffi got his first nomination for the live action short film Auf der Strecke (On the Line).
Tickets for the 36th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony, at which the Gold Medal-winning films and the Honorary Foreign Film will be screened in their entirety, are free and available now. A maximum of four tickets may be requested online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office, by mail, or by calling the Student Academy Awards department at (310) 247-3000, ext. 130. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 5 p.m. All seating is unreserved.
Honorary Foreign Film Award Finalists
Five finalists will be vying for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (website) 2009 Honorary Foreign Film award in the 36th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. The five finalists were selected from a record 57 entries representing 39 countries. The winning student filmmaker will be brought to Los Angeles to join U.S.-based Student Academy Award winners “for a week of industry-related activities and social events,” including the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 13, in Beverly Hills.
The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):
Elkland (above, center photo), Per Hanefjord, Dramatiska Institutet, Sweden
Face-to-Face Confrontation, Igor Khomsky, Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, Russia
The Incredible Story of My Great Grandmother Olive (above, lower photo), Alberto Rodríguez, National Film and Television School, United Kingdom
Our Wonderful Nature (above, top photo), Tomer Eshed, HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany
Pinhas, Pini Tavger, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Last year’s Honorary Foreign Film winner, Reto Caffi, went on to receive an 2009 Oscar nomination in the best live action short film category for Auf der Streke (On the Line). In 2005, student winner Ulrike Grote’s Ausreisser (The Runaway) was nominated as well, while in 2003 student winner Martin Strange-Hansen of Denmark won the Oscar for This Charming Man (Der Er Eu Yudig Mand). (The previous year, Strange-Hansen had won the Honorary Foreign Film award for Feeding Desire.)
Also, in 2000 German filmmaker Florian Gallenberger, whose John Rabe was the big winner at this year’s Lola Awards, won both the Honorary Foreign Film award and the live action short film Oscar for Quiero Ser (I Want to be…).
Two other previous winners, Jan Sverak, who was a student in the former Czechoslovakia, and Mike van Diem of The Netherlands, have gone on to direct films that won Oscars in the Foreign Language Film category – Kolya and Karakter, respectively.
Tickets for the 36th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony, at which the Honorary Foreign Film and the Gold Medal award-winning films from the U.S. will be screened in their entirety, are free and available now. A maximum of four tickets may be requested online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office, by mail or by calling the Student Academy Awards department at (310) 247-3000, ext. 130. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 5 p.m. All seating is unreserved.
Iranian Drama Tops Tribeca Film Festival Awards
Tribeca Film Festival 2009: April 22-May 3 ’09
The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature: About Elly / Darbareye Elly, directed and written by Asghar Farhadi
Best New Narrative Filmmaker: Rune Denstad Langlo for North / Nord, written by Erlend Loe
Best Actor: Ciarán Hinds in The Eclipse, directed and written by Conor McPherson
Best Actress: Zoe Kazan in The Exploding Girl, directed and written by Bradley Rust Gray
Best Documentary Feature: Racing Dreams, directed by Marshall Curry
Special Jury Mention: Defamation / Hashmatsa, directed by Yoav Shamir
Best New Documentary Filmmaker: Ian Olds for Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi
New York Competition
Best New York Narrative: Here and There / Tamo i ovde, directed and written by Darko Lungulov
Best New York Documentary: Partly Private, directed by Danae Elon
Short Film Competition
Best Narrative Short: The North Road / La route du Nord, directed and written by Carlos Chahine
Best Documentary Short: Home, directed by Matthew Faust
Special Jury Mention: The Last Mermaids, directed by Liz Chae
Student Visionary Award: Small Change, directed and written by Anna McGrath
Special Jury Mention: Oda a la Piña, directed and written by Laimir Fano
2009 Babelgum Online Film Festival Award winners: April 27, 2009 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City
In Francesco Sperandeo’s Bab Al Samah / The Door of Forgiveness, a man’s desire to get over past humiliations, symbolized by a heavy, old door, leads him on a life-changing journey.
Looking for Genius Award: BAB AL SAMAH / THE DOOR OF FORGIVENESS by Francesco Sperandeo (Italy)
Short Film: MARADONA BABY by Nino Sabella (Italy)
Animation: HEY ANIMATION MUSIC VIDEO by Guy Ben Shetrit (Israel)
Documentary: THE LADIES by Christina Voros (United States)
Mini Masterpiece: I HAD A DREAM I WENT TO CONEY ISLAND by Sherwin Akbarzadeh (Iran)
Professional Jury Award / Short Film: THE DOOR OF FORGIVENESS by Francesco Sperandeo (Italy)
Professional Jury Award / Animation: MR. HAPPY by Michael Patrick O’Hara (Canada)
Professional Jury Award / Documentary: GLUE by Joseph Cottrell-Boyce (United Kingdom)
Professional Jury Award / Mini Masterpiece: DECKLIN AND THE DARKNESS by Lance Dumais (United States)
Jury: Richard Abramowitz, President of Abramorama, a consulting firm that serves the film industry in the production, marketing, and distribution of independent films (U.S.), Joe Bateman, Festival Director of the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival (U.K.), Michael Cox, Talent Executive for Chelsea Lately on E! Entertainment (U.S.), Tiziana Loschi, Managing Director of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival/Citia (City of Moving Images) (France), Carl Spence, Artistic Director of the Seattle International Film Festival and Director of Programming of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (U.S).