Tom Hanks jokingly referred to last Saturday's Palm Springs International Film Festival gala as "This little, intimate, Sonny Bono rec-room chicken dinner get-together for two-and-a-half-thousand people."
This Saturday's luncheon at Palm Springs' Spencer's Restaurant, at which the PSIFF announced the festival's 2014 juried award winners, was slightly more modest--but the scope of international films represented among the winners was far reaching and impressive.
Felix van Groeningen's "The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium), won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year; the FIPRESCI Prizes for Best Actor and Best Actress of the Year in Foreign Language Films went to Mads Mikkelsen (for Denmark's "The Hunt") and Bérénice Bejo (for Iran's "The Past") respectively.
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Overall, the festival, which takes place in Palm Springs Jan. 3-13, 2014, showed 191 films from 60 countries, including 46 of the 76 Oscar entries up for this year's best foreign language film.
"International Cinema is not just alive and well, but positively thriving," said festival Artistic Director Helen du Toit in a statement. "It is my greatest hope that U.S. distributors will find ways of bringing these success stories to a wider audience who is clearly eager for fresh voices."
Festival Director Darryl Macdonald said this year's PSIFF, its 25th anniversary year, enjoyed record numbers of both attending filmmakers and filmgoers. "But the real standout has been the overall excellence of the films in this year's festival lineup," he said, "proving that the phenomenally strong year we've witnessed in Hollywood filmmaking has been more than matched by the strong upswing in quality filmmaking worldwide."
Here's the full list of PSIFF award winners:
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:
"The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium), directed by Felix van Groeningen.
FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor of the Year in a Foreign Language Film:
Mads Mikkelsen from "The Hunt" (Denmark), directed by Thomas Vinterberg.
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress of the Year in a Foreign Language Film:
Bérénice Bejo from "The Past" (Iran), directed by Asghar Farhadi.
New Voices/New Visions Award:
"Medeas" (USA), directed by Andrea Pallaoro – Winner.
"Left Foot Right Foot" (Switzerland), directed by Germinal Roaux – Special Mention.
Cine Latino Award:
"Heli" (Mexico), directed by Amat Escalante and "Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed" (Spain), directed by David Trueba – Winner.
"Gloria" (Chile), directed by Sebastian Lelio – Special Mention.
The John Schlesinger Award:
"Finding Vivian Maier" (USA), directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel – Winner.
HP Bridging the Borders Award:
"Walesa. Man of Hope" (Poland), directed by Andrzej Wajda – Winner.
"Plot for Peace" (South Africa), directed by Carlos Agulló and Mandy Jacobson – Special Jury Award.
Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature:
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature:
The PSIFF Audience Award winners will be announced on Sunday, Jan. 12.