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Winners of the Marrakech International Film Festival

Winners of the Marrakech International Film Festival
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The 11th annual Marrakech International Film Festival came to a close with the announcement of the competition winners.

Fifteen productions were in the running.

The jury was made up of critically-aclaimed actors and directors from around the world and headed by Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica, who announced the winners.

The Grand Prix prize went to Danish film ‘Out of Bounds’ the first feature-length movie directed by Frederikke Aspöck. Receiving the award, she was joined on stage by the film’s screenwriter Daniel Dencik and actress Stephanie Leon.

Set on the Swedish island of Gotland and with only three characters,‘Out of Bounds’ i’s the story of a young couple Stella and Oskar coming to visit the Stellar’s father Nathan, who lives alone on the island with just his dog. Stella is pregnant and happy, but Oskar has doubts and tensions rise between Oskar and Stella’s father.

“It’s very Scandinavian in its tradition. It’s three people and it’s a sort of chamber play but under the open sky, on a wild deserted island with a crazy snowstorm. To everyone who worked on my film, thank you for your hard work and it was extremely hard, thank you,” said Aspöck.

Winner of the Jury Prize, Australian movie ‘Snowtown’ was written by Shaun Grant and directed by Justin Kurzel – his first foray into feature-length productions.

That was not the only time the Australian film was recognised by the judging panel. In another first, Daniel Henshall scooped best male actor for playing the lead in ‘Snowtown’, where he portrayed a serial killer – for the theatre and television actor, his only role in a feature-length film.

In the true story of Australia’s worst serial killings, Henshall is psychopathic murderer John Bunting. Bunting’s crimes were uncovered when the remains of eight of his 11 victims were found in barrels of acid in Snowtown, South Australia in the 1990s.

Director of ‘Snowtown’ Justin Kurzel explained why he made the film: “A script came along about the killings, and it was the first script about them I read and found compelling. It told a very personal story, with the kind of brutality that was in the events, in a way that I thought was really compelling and interesting.”

‘Snowtown’ actor Daniel Henshall said the film’s success was down to a group effort: “We had a great team, a really good enclosed team. Not to sound clicheed, but we formed a familly. They gave us a wonderful sense of trust and respect. Not being insensitive the way we portrayed the story, inbetween the takes there was a lot of humour.”

American actress and singer Joslyn Jenson went home with the Best Actress prize for her performance in Mark Jackson’s ‘Without’. It is her debut film, but her second award, after being recognised at the Mar del Plata Film Festival in Argentina earlier this year.

In ‘Without’ 19-year-old Joslyn, the character and actress’s name, has been hired to take care of a wheel-chair bound man in a vegetative state. With no mobile phone or internet, boredom soon sets in, and she looks for other ways to amuse herself.

“It is really amazing. It’s such a treat and sort of very, very glamourous and not really what I am used to, but it’s also very beautiful being here,” Jenson said.

Emir Kusturica announcing the best dirctor award for italian film director duo Gianluca & Massimiliano De Serio for “Seven Acts of Mercy”

The Italian twins Gianluca & Massimiliano De Serio shared the Best Director award for ‘Seven Acts of Mercy’. The duo have already had a short film pre-selected for an Oscar.

‘Seven Acts of Mercy’ follows a young illegal immigrant living on the edge of a shanty town who hatches a plan to change her circumstances. To carry it through, she has to work with Antonio, a sick and mysterious old man. An unavoidable clash between the two of them leads to unforeseeable consequences.

Together with his brother on the red carpet, Massimiliano De Serio told euronews he prefers to work as a duo: “We’re happy to work as a pair because, for us, this means discovering something more. From the beginning, ours ideas and screenplays are always double work for us, but it also means we discover something more.”

There was only one Morrocan movie represented in the competition, but this did not put a damper on the star-studded nine-day event.