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‘The Donor’ Wins the Golden Star at Marrakech

Variety logo Variety 12/10/2016 Martin Dale
© Provided by Variety

MARRAKECH, Morocco —  In a near repeat of October’s Busan Festival which throws the light on two up-and-coming Chinese directors, kidney organ donation drama “The Donor” topped the 16th Marrakech Film Festival on Saturday, winning its Golden Star Festival Grand Prize, while Wang Xuebo’s “Knife In The Clear Water,” a measured portrait of life in a remote Chinese Muslim mountain village, took directing.

The Marrakech Festival’s Jury Prize was awarded to circus docu-fiction “Mister Universo.” Best Actor went to Baldur Finarsson and Blaer Hinricksson for their roles in Icelandic coming of age drama “Heartstone,” by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. Best Actress was awarded to Fereshteh Hosseini for Afghan-Iranian drama “Parting,” by Navid Mahmoudi.

Fourteen competition films competed this year at Marrakech, including five freshman titles and two sophomore outings.

The jury was presided by Hungarian director, Béla Tarr, accompanied by Lisandro Alonso, Bille August, Jason Clarke, Suzanne Clément, Bruno Dumont, Kalki Koechlin, Fatima Harandi and Jasmine Trinca.

“The Donor” director Xang Qiwu, who film is a critique of the lengths to which the poor in Chuina are willing to go to advance their material prosperity, picked the award up in person at Marrakech saying that “being shown in such a festival for such a young director was a great honour.”

On the red carpet, jury prexy Tarr admitted that he was deeply moved by the winning films. Jury member Bille August added that he saw excellent films from different parts of the word and described his experience on the jury as a great education.

Fellow jury member Jason Clarke concurred: “It reminded me of who I am and where I come from. They are all very heartfelt personal stories, wherever they came from, they are wonderful films that really touched me.”

Frimmel dedicated his award to his uncle who fled Nazi Germany and was given asylum in Morocco. “I would like to thank Morocco,” he said on stage.

16TH MARRAKECH INTL. FILM FESTIVAL. DEC. 2-10, 2016

GOLDEN STAR FESTIVAL GRAND PRIZE

“The Donor,” (Zang Qiwu, China)

JURY PRIZE

“Mister Universo,” (Reiner Frimmel, Tizza Covi, Austria, Italy)

BEST DIRECTING PRIZE 

“Knife in the Clear Water,” (Wamg Xuebo, China)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS 

Fereshteh Hosseini (“Parting,” Navid Mahmoudi, Iran, Afghanistan)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR 

Baldur Einarsson, Blaer Hinriksson (“Heartstone,” Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, Denmark, Iceland)

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