Belarusian-set pic Mother Vera has picked up Locarno’s Creativity Media First Look Award, the biggest prize handed out by the festival’s industry section.
The award comes with a €50,000 ($55,000) cash prize that covers services towards the completion of films in post-production. Filmmakers Cécile Embleton and Alys Tomlinson co-directed the pic with producer Laura Shacham.
Discussing their choice, the Locarno Pro jury — comprised of Ava Cahen (Artistic Director, La Semaine de la Critique Cannes), Gaia Furrer (Artistic Director, Giornate degli Autori), and Eugene Hernandez (Festival Director, Sundance Institute) — said: “From the opening moments of this film, we were immediately drawn to the strikingly photographed stark portrait of a fascinating nun in Belarus who makes a journey to France. We congratulate filmmakers Cécile Embleton and Alys Tomlinson and wish them the best with this new film, Mother Vera.”
Embleton is a London-based filmmaker who has predominantly worked in docs. Her debut film, The Watchmaker, screened at Dok Leipzig, Hot Docs, and SXSW. Tomlinson is a filmmaker best known internationally for her photography work, which has been exhibited across Europe — and is held in collections such as the National Portrait Gallery in London. Their film follows a young Orthodox nun who, after 20 years as a monastic faces, deep inner conflict and now must confront her past and trust her instincts to find the liberation she desires.
Elsewhere, No Ifs Or Buts by Sarah Lewis and co-produced by DoBeDo received both the Jannuzzi Smith Award — worth €8,500 for the design of an international poster — and the Le Film Français award, which consists of advertising space to a value of €5,600 in the French industry mag.
Locarno’s three-day co-development platform Alliance 4 Development also closed today, with Pas Ta Maman by Michèle Flury, produced by Felix Schreiber from Sommerhaus Filmproduktion winning the Alphapanda Market Breakout Award. The award comes with a cash prize to cover consultancy services up to the value of €3,500
The inaugural Heritage Online Restoration Contest was won by Mulher de verdade (1954) by Brazilian director Alberto Cavalcanti. The film will enter a restoration process conducted by Zurich and Berlin-based company Cinegrell, which will start immediately following the close of this year’s festival. The restored film will premiere during next year’s edition in the Heritage Online section.
Check out the full list of winners below:
Creativity Media First Look Award: Mother Vera by Cécile Embleton and Alys Tomlinson, produced by Laura Shacham (She Makes Productions)
Jannuzzi Smith Award: No Ifs Or Buts by Sarah Lewis, produced by Sarah Lewis (Felt Culture), co-produced by DoBeDo
Le Film Français Award: No Ifs Or Buts by Sarah Lewis, produced by Sarah Lewis (Felt Culture), co-produced by DoBeDo
ALLIANCE 4 DEVELOPMENT
Alphapanda Market Breakout Award: Pas Ta Maman by Michèle Flury, produced by Felix Schreiber from Sommerhaus Filmproduktion
Script consultancy residency at DreamAgo, offered by the Valais Film Commission: La P’tite (The Young One) directed by Despina Athanassiadis, produced by Quentin Daniel (Wombat Films, France)
MIDPOINT Consulting Award: WHO/MAN directed by Lorenz Merz, produced by Michela Pini (8horses, Switzerland)
Ticino Film Commission Residence Award: Objet a by Ann Oren, produced by Kristof Gerega, Sophie Ahrens and Fabian Altenried (Schuldenberg Films, Germany)
HERITAGE ONLINE RESTORATION CONTEST: Mulher de verdade (1954) by Alberto Cavalcanti