At an awards ceremony dominated by films from Eastern Europe, the Berlin Film Festival named the Romanian drama Child's Post (Pozitia Copilului) the winner of its prestigious Golden Bear award. The film, about the efforts of a domineering woman to use her wealth to keep her irresponsible son out of prison after he kills a child while speeding, was a surprise selection by the jury headed by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. It was produced by HiFilm Productions, headed by Ada Sullivan, who has spoken out repeatedly about her struggle to find support for her film projects from the state-run Romanian Film Center. Accepting the Golden Bear trophy on Saturday, she remarked, Romanian politicians should pay much more attention to the kind of ambassador Romanian cinema is for our country around the world. Receiving almost equal attention from the media was the second-place Jury Grand Prix award won by Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic's An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, made on a shoestring budget. It also won an acting award for Nazif Mujic in the title role. Mujic still collects scrap metal to support himself and his family. Collecting his piece of metal on stage at the Berlinale Palast Theater, Mujic said, Of course, I'm not an actor. I simply played my own story. Also receiving much notice was the award for best script to Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who, for a second time, defied Iranian authorities by writing and directing a film and smuggling it out of Iran despite his conviction on charges of making propaganda against the state. Accepting the award, Panahi's longtime collaborator, Kamboziya Partovi, commented that it has never been possible to stop a thinker and a poet.
The top prizes at the Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale):
Golden Bear for Best Film: Child's Pose, by Calin Peter Netzer (Romania); Silver Bear for Best Director: David Gordon Green for Prince Avalanche (U.S.); Jury Grand Prix: An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, by Danis Tanovic (Bosnia); Silver Bear for Best Actress: Paulina Garcia for Gloria; Alfred Bauer Prize: Vic+Flo Saw a Bear, by Denis Cote (Canada); Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: Closed Curtain, Jafar Panahi (Iran).
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.