Curtain drops on Marrakech Film Festival

Curtain drops on Marrakech Film Festival
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The Marrakech Film Festival has come to an end with a glittering awards ceremony.

Winners were chosen from the 15 films in competition. The president of the jury, Martin Scorsese, announced each of the laureates.

The festival’s Grand Prize went to South Korean director Lee Seo-Jin for his debut film behind the camera 'Han Gong-Ju', a psychological drama about a teenage girl suffering from post-stress trauma, who overcomes her experience by changing schools and starting a new life.

US and Cuban directors Jeremy Saulnier and Carlos Machado Quintela were both handed the Jury’s Prize for ‘The Swimming Pool’ and 'Blue Ruin' respectively.

The story of four teenagers, each suffering from a disability, who spend a hot summer’s day together with their coach, 'The Swimming Pool' is an intimate snapshot of five outcasts.

“It’s incredible for me to win this prize. I haven’t quite realised it yet, maybe I will once I get home after a 17-hour plane journey. I don’t even know whether I deserve it,” said Carlos Machado Quintela.

Italian director Andrea Pallaoro won Best Director for 'Medeas'. A lyrical contemporary twist on Greek tragedy, the film charts the breakdown of a Californian farming family struggling with five kids, hard financial times and bitter marital tensions.

“I’m so happy, this award means so much to me because of the competition, the films that belong to this competition and the incredible jury, the filmmakers that have inspired me since I was young, and to be given an award by them is a dream,” said Andrea Pallaoro.

In the Best Actor category, the jury handed out the prize jointly to French actors Slimane Dazi and Didier Michon for their performances in 'Fièvres' by Hicham Ayouch.

“The trophy is heavy, it’s beautiful, we’ve experienced some wonderful moments here in Marrakech, I’m very touched by the way we’ve been made welcome and to receive this prize and share it with young Didier,” said Slimane Dazi.

‘Fievres’ is the story of 13-year-old Benjamin, who is at war with life, with adults, and with himself. One day, his mother is sent to prison and Benjamin finds out about his father for the first time, a 40-year old man who lives with his parents in the Paris suburbs.

The Best Actress award went to Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.

“I’m very happy, it’s such an honour. Not only to be here and have my film here, that meant a lot to me, it’s also a big honour for Scandinavian film, there have been a lot amazing filmmakers, I mean just to have that jury hand out this award to me was a really, really… it was a very big day,” said the young actress.

Alicia Vikander picked up the gong for her role in 'Hotell', in which she plays a young mother, who deals with severe post-natal depression in a peculiar way, by joining up with other mentally unstable characters who escape their trauma by living out fictional lives in hotel rooms.

And the Cinecoles Prize went to the short film ‘Bad’ by Ayoub Lahnoud and Alaa Akaaboune.

“We are very happy, we worked very hard on this film and now we are reaping the rewards, we would like to keep working together and make films together in the future,” said Alaa Akaaboune.

A good career start for these two students at the Marrakech School of Visual Arts, and two names to look out for at future editions of the Marrakech Film Festival.