Roundup: Documentary "Tir" wins Rome film festival's top prize
by Eric J. Lyman
ROME, Nov.16 (Xinhua) -- "Tir," a documentary about the unlikely career path of a Bosnian truck driver directed by Albert Fasulo, became the first Italian film to win the Golden Marcus Aurelius award at the eight-year-old Rome Film Festival Saturday.
Meanwhile, two big-name Hollywood actors -- Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey -- won the main acting prizes and a total of three of the ten prizes from the in-competition selection went to Asian films, including "Blue Sky Bones" (Lanse gutou) from Cui Jian, which won a special mention from the jury.
Separately, Tsui Hark was given the festival's second Maverick Director Award, while his latest film, "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 3D" had its international premiere immediately following the award ceremony.
The awards -- which also included a pair of honors for the Japanese thriller "Seventh Code" (best director to Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Koichi Takahashi for best technical contribution) and the best emerging actor or actress honor to the entire cast of "Acrid" (Gass) from Iranian director Kiarash Asadizadeh -- were well received by the crowd in attendance and will surely shine a favorable light on the festival, under the artistic direction of Marco Muller for the second year.
Johansson's award was unusual, because it represented a rare acting honor in a non-animated film for someone who did not appear on screen in the film that earned her the nomination.
In Spike Jonze's "Her," Johansson played the voice of a seductive computer operating system that attracts the amorous desires of the film's protagonist, played by Joaquin Phoenix.
McConaughey was honored for his work in Jean-Marc Vallee's "Dallas Buyers Club," which also won the festival's audience award.
The award to "Tir" means the last two major Italian film festivals honored Italian-made documentaries with their top awards, following the Venice Film Festival, which in September gave its top prize to "Sacro GRA" from Gianfranco Rosi. Before that, no documentary had ever won the top award at either of the festivals.
Among the other sections, Aliona Polunina won the CinemaXXI section for innovations in cinema with "Nepal Forever," while Scott Cooper won the prize for best first or second film for "Out of the Furnace," part of the main selection. "Dal profondo" from Valentina Pedicini won the award for best Italian documentary.
Festival officials said that early indications were that the event out-performed last year's event in every aspect, with ticket sales 20 percent higher and the average film screening to cinemas 70 percent full.
An estimated 150,000 people attended the events over 10 days, with high media attention, including more than 750 reports in the international press, nearly 1,200 in the national printed press, and an average of more than 500 articles a day online over the length of the festival.
The Business Street, the festival's market event, also saw increases, with representatives of 49 countries on hand and 10 percent more badge holders and 15 percent more buyers than a year ago.
Earlier in the day, Muller said the Rome event would become a "festaval" -- a term he coined from a mix for the Italian words for "festival" and for "party," meaning it would be a hybrid event with characteristics of both types of events.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
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