News in 2013

Announcement of Festival Winners
2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival
2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival


The Sapphires ReceivesMercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature;
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey ReceivesAudience Award for Best Doc Feature;
Fill the Void Receives FIPRESCI Prize;
The Cleaner Receives New Voices/New Visions Award;
Blancanieves Receives Cine Latino Award;
Stolen Seas Receives The John Schlesinger Award

Palm Springs, CA (January 13, 2013) - Setting the stage for the year’s film festival circuit, the 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announced this year’s award winners at a luncheon at Spencer’s Restaurant on Sunday, January 13, 2013.  The Festival, held from January 3-14, 2013, screened 182 films from 68 countries, including 42 of the 71 foreign language entries for this year’s Academy Awards®.  

“I couldn't be more delighted that our juries selected so many films by debuting and emerging directors for honors, in addition to the films they singled out from established filmmakers at this year's event,” said Festival Director Darryl Macdonald.  “In that sense, their choices perfectly reflected the Festival's own programming choices for this year's line-up, validating our selections and providing ample evidence of a new generation of exceptional filmmaking talent currently emerging on the world stage.”

“This is a great day for IberoAmerican cinema!” said Artistic Director Helen du Toit.  “I was delighted that Pablo Berger's magnificent film Blancanieves was selected to receive our inaugural Cine Latino Award. This is Pablo’s third time at PSIFF and the third time he has won a prize.  In fact, this has been an extraordinary year for Cine Latino cinema at the Festival with new Argentinean director Dario Nardi, winning the Cine Latino award special mention for Sadourni’s Butterflies and the New Voices/New Visions jurors selecting Peru's The Cleaner followed by Paraguay's 7 Boxes.”


This year’s Festival attendees selected The Sapphires (Australia) directed by Wayne Blair, as the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.  Based on the real-life story of an all-female Aboriginal singing group in 1960’s Australia that went from folk to soul with unexpected success.

The runner-up narrative films in alphabetical order included: Allez, Eddy! (Belgium/ Luxembourg/The Netherlands); Any Day Now (USA); Emperor (Japan) starring Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones; English Vinglish (India); The Hunt (Denmark); I Do (USA); Inuk (Greenland); the Academy Award® nominated Best Foreign Language Films Kon-Tiki (Norway/UK) and A Royal Affair (Denmark); Still (Canada); and The Third Half.

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (USA) directed by Ramona Diaz received the Audience Award Best for Documentary FeatureThis documentary is about the dilemma the rock band Journey faces to replace their lead singer Steve Perry after he quits the band. They eventually find the perfect solution via YouTube: a street kid who fronted a Filipino cover band.

The runner-up documentary films in alphabetical order included:  Defiant Requiem (USA), More than Honey (Germany/Austria/Switzerland), No Place on Earth (USA/UK/Germany), and Nuala (Ireland).

Both winners received the John Kennedy Statue (“The Entertainer”) specially designed for the Festival.

A special jury of international film critics reviewed 42 of the 71 official Foreign Language submissions to the Academy Awards® screened at this year’s Festival to award the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.  The jury selected Fill the Void (Israel), directed by Rama Burshtein, “for portraying a culture usually depicted in stereotypical terms, with subtlety, sympathy and sensuality and employing a style that is intimate, but not intrusive.”  In the film, an 18-year-old in Tel Aviv’s Hassidic community must choose between her heart’s desire and familial duty in a drama that make the conventions of the marriage plot feel brand new.

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film went to Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano and Giovanni Arcuri from Caesar Must Die (Italy) directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani  The jury selected the three actors, “for embodying roles with several levels of dramatic meaning, and drawing them together to achieve a compelling emotional resolution.”  Emilie Dequenne from Our Children (Belgium), directed by Joachim Lafosse, received the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film, “for depicting through gestures, expressions and silences the claustrophobia of an oppressive domestic situation, and for conveying with wrenching intensity the descent into madness.” 

The 2013 FIPRESCI jury members were Jacob Lundström (editor-in-chief FLM, film critic Direktpress and contributor to Aftonbladet); Peter Keough (film editor Boston Phoenix); and Malwina Grochowska (Polish film critic, writer for Kinon and Film).

The New Voices/New Visions selected The Cleaner (Peru) directed by Adrian Saba.   The film tells the story of a mysterious and deadly epidemic in Lima, Perù, where a depressed and isolated man cleans up after the dying. When he takes in a frightened young boy who has lost his mother, he’s quietly transformed by the experience of caring for another human being.  The New Voices/New Visions competition included ten new international talents making their feature film debut at the Festival, with the additional criteria that the films selected are currently without U.S. distribution.  The winner received a sculpture designed by famed glass artist Dale Chihuly and a $60,000 Panavision camera rental package.

The jury stated, “While it is set in the midst of a deadly epidemic, this film eschews the usual genre tropes and instead offers an aesthetically distinctive, minimalist portrayal of a human connection at a time when it seems all hope is lost.  The director creates an eerie, strangely calm atmosphere which is carefully controlled but never feels forced, and without sensationalism or overt sentiment, allows a touching bond to develop between his lead characters, a lonely old man and a young boy.  With The Cleaner, Adrian Saba has created a singular, unusual and intimate tale which stayed with us long after viewing.”

The jury presented a special mention to 7 Boxes (Paraguay), directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori.  The jury stated, “We were impressed by the energy and pacing of this dynamic first feature which immersed us in the sights and sounds of contemporary Paraguay, and took us on a frenetic, fast paced journey through a labyrinthine marketplace using expertly controlled camera work and editing.”

The films were juried by Rebeca Congent (VP of Acquisitions and Distribution at Film Movement); Debra McClutchy (VP Home Entertainment Production/Creative at Oscilloscope Pictures); and Michael Kananack (Head of International Acquisitions for Gathr Films). 

New this year, the Cine Latino Award, was presented to Blancanieves(Spain), directed by Pablo Berger, which was the Opening Night film of the Festival.  The jury stated, “A great homage to cinema and storytelling, Blancanieves has reinvented a fairy tale, enhanced it with superb performances, rich in characters of all dimensions to create a tapestry of Spanish society in which faith and fascism vie for control.”  This silent movie is an adaptation of Snow White, where the daughter of a famous bullfighter is mistreated by her wicked stepmother.  When she runs away and joins a band of dwarfs, her natural bullfighting talent is discovered, but her stepmother plots to bring her down.

Honorable Mention went to Sadourni's Butterflies (Argentina).  The jury stated, “Stunning cinematography, outstanding production design and editing have combined to create an innovative, intellectually stunning, well paced and thrilling risk-taking surrealistic work of art.”

The jury for the Cine Latino Award included Juan Carlos Arciniegas (CNN en Español); Sydney Levine (IndieWire); Iván Trujillo, (Festival Director from the Guadalajara International Film Festival).  The Cine Latino Award is sponsored by the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) and the University of Guadalajara Foundation/USA, the winner received a $5,000 cash prize.  The Cine Latino program is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

Stolen Seas (Somalia/Kenya/UK/Italy), directed by Thymaya Payne, received The John Schlesinger Award, which is presented to a first-time documentary filmmaker.  Stolen Seas presents the inside story of Somali piracy.  The filmmakers spent three years in some of the world’s most dangerous places, talking to pirates, hostages, hostages’ relatives, and the shipping company executives caught up in this deadly culture clash.  The jury stated, “Stolen Seas is a gripping and eye-opening film about Somali piracy that shows us that things are often not what they seem. Full of rich moral dilemmas, fresh perspectives, rigorous journalism and visually striking storytelling, Stolen Seas takes us on an emotional journey where we are forced to re-examine our prejudices about a misunderstood African reality.” The winner receives the John Kennedy Statue (“The Entertainer”).

The jury gave a special mention to Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (USA).  The jury stated, “How can you not be gobsmacked with a film about a children’s book artist who cheerfully and unapologetically says, ‘It is good to traumatize children!!?’  This very inventive portrait celebrates a highly irreverent, underappreciated and brilliant artist who, through his work, helps us find redemption in darkness.”

The films were judged by Claire Aguilar (Executive Content Advisor at Independent Television Service); Geoffrey Smith (award-winning documentary filmmaker); and Clemence Taillandier (Head of Theatrical Sales and Festivals for Zeitgeist Films).

Jump (Ireland/UK), directed by Kieron J. Walsh, received the HP Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema Without Borders and Hewlett Packard, which honors the film that is most successful in exemplifying art that promotes bringing the people of our world closer together.  In the film, a fateful New Year’s Eve throws half a dozen characters into cross-purposes in this complex, wildly inventive and occasionally giddy mix of crime caper, romance and moral tale from Northern Ireland.  The prize includes an HP Elitebook 8770W, valued at $5,000.

The Cinema Without Borders Special Jury Award went to When Day Breaks (Serbia/Croatia/France) directed by Goran Paskaljevic.  The winner received a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in West Hollywood, CA, valued at $2000.

The Best of the Fest screenings will take place on Monday, January 13.  For a complete list of screenings visit

The complete list of award winners are:

Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
The Sapphires (Australia)

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (USA)

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Fill the Void (Israel)

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film
Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano and Giovanni Arcuri from Caesar Must Die (Italy)

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film
Emilie Dequenne from Our Children (Belgium)

New Voices/New Visions Award
The Cleaner (Peru) - Winner
7 Boxes (Paraguay) – Honorable Mention

Cine Latino Award
Blancanieves(Spain) – Winner
Sadourni’s Butterflies (Argentina) – Honorable Mention

The John Schlesinger Award
Stolen Seas (Somalia/Kenya/UK/Italy) – Winner
Far Out Isn’t Fair Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (USA) – Honorable Mention

HP Bridging the Borders Award
Jump (Ireland/UK) – Winner
When Day Breaks (Serbia/Croatia/France) – Honorable Mention

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries.  The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Danny Boyle, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet.

The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival is presented by Title Sponsor, the City of Palm Springs.  Presenting Sponsors are Spencer’s, The Desert Sun, Entertainment Tonight, Wells Fargo, Regal Entertainment Group, Bank of America and Wintec. Major sponsors are Panavision, Ocean Properties Development, Raymond|Lawrence, Chihuly, Telefilm Canada.  The Festival’s Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit

Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
B|W|R Public Relations
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David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Festival