‘Sideways’ gets best movie award at Marrakesh festival

“Sideways” movie of US director Alexander Payne has scooped the “Etoile d’Or” (Golden Star) top award at the fourth international film festival of Marrakech (IFFM) that wound up Sunday in the Southern Moroccan city.

The special jury award went to Menying Tong Nian by Chinese director Xiao Jiang and Moolaade by Senegal’s Ousmane Sembene. Russian actor Bogdan Supka was named best actor for his role in the film Svoi by Dmitry Meskhiyev, while Vera Farmiga won the best actress award for her role in the American film “Down to the bone” by Debra Granik.

The festival jury was headed by British director Alan Parker.

14 full-length films were selected for the official competition “on a purely artistic base looking only for new talents and rewarding the best,” according to organisers. Among the films in competition were: “Buenos Aires 100 Km” of Pablo JosŽ Meza (Argentina), “Bown to Bone” of Debra Granik (United States), “El Crimen Perfecto” d’Alex of la Iglesia (Spain), “Hom Rong” of Itthi- Sunthorn Wichailak (Tha•land) and “Tenja” of Hassan Legzouli (Morocco).

The one-week festival was opened by IFFM chairman, Prince Moulay Rachid who said this event has “come to maturity.”

This festival has also become the “window of Morocco, a country asserted in its values and resolute in its options while open to the outside world,” wrote the younger brother of King Mohammed VI, in the “Guide of the festival.”

At the closing ceremony, Sunday, Prince Moulay Rachid received the Fellini prize awarded by UNESCO to the Marrakesh Film Festival.

“This award is putting wind in our sails, making us more determined than ever to pursue our endeavors, so that this festival may always be a forum for dialogue, aimed at promoting exchange and cultural diversity,” he said in a speech.

A selection of films was also shown out of competition namely “Le grand voyage” of Isma•l Ferroukhi (Morocco) and “Le plus beau jour de ma vie” of Julie Lipinski (France).

The IFFM paid tribute to Claudia Cardinale (Italy), Sean Connery (Scotland) and Youssef Chahine (Egypt).

Sixty five films were screened during the fourth edition of this Festival which premiered the movie Alexander of US director Oliver Stone.

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