Anders Refn’s WWII saga “Into the Darkness” (Denmark) and Ko Chen-Nien’s abuse drama “The Silent Forest” (Taiwan) won the major prizes at the 51st International Film Festival of India in Goa.
“Into The Darkness” won the Golden Peacock for best film. The award carries a cash prize of INR 4 million ($54,800). The Silver Peacock for best director went to Ko, for “The Silent Forest.” The award comes with a cash prize of INR 1.5 million ($20,550).
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Liu Tzu-Chuan won best actor, male, for “The Silent Forest,” while Zofia Stafiej won best actor, female, for her role in Piotr Domalewski’s comedy-drama “I Never Cry” (Poland).
Kamin Kalev won the special jury award for drama “February” (Bulgaria/France). Cassio Pereira dos Santos won best debut for trans coming-of-age film “Valentina” (Brazil). Indian director Kripal Kalita was given a special mention for for Assamese-language film “Bridge.”
The International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication UNESCO Gandhi Award, given to a film that best reflects Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence, was given to Ameen Nayfeh’s “200 Meters” (Palestine/Jordan/Qatar/Italy/Sweden). Emmy nominee Ramesh Sharma’s documentary “Ahimsa – Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless” had its world premiere in the festival’s Panorama strand, which also featured Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi.”
“We are honored that the International Film Festival of India Goa has acknowledged “Ahimsa – Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless” as one of the best films made in the country over the last year,” Sharma said. “The film has a universal appeal and pays tribute to the Mahatma’s courage in taking on the might of the British empire and shows how his teachings spread around the world, inspiring the marginalized as well as the freedom struggles of the oppressed. We are delighted to be perpetuating his legacy through our film.”
The festival, which ran Jan. 16-24, was operated in a hybrid version with a mix of physical and online events because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For this edition, it moved to January from its customary late November slot.
Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” opened the festival, while Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Wife of a Spy” closed it. The mid-fest film was Sandeep Kumar’s “Mehrunisa,” a picture questioning the entrenched patriarchy in the film industry.
Argentinian director Pablo Cesar chaired the jury that also included Prasanna Vithanage (Sri Lanka), Abu Bakr Shawky (Austria), Priyadarshan (India) and Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh).
Veteran actor, director and producer Biswajit Chatterjee was presented with the Indian personality of the year award, while legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro was conferred the lifetime achievement award. The focus country this year was Bangladesh.
The festival paid homage to recently deceased Indian film personalities Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput and Basu Chatterjee.
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