A pair of Quebec films earned international kudos over the weekend, with the sperm donor comedy Starbuck and the searing drama Incendies honoured in the U.S. and France, respectively.
The hit comedy Starbuck features Quebec actor Patrick Huard as an immature man who discovers he's the biological father of more than 500 children through his prolific sperm donations. A slacker, he searches for direction in life through his newly discovered fatherhood.
The Ken Scott-directed film won the audience award for best narrative feature at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Sunday. Starbuck was among the host of largely international movies celebrated at the southern California event.
Other winners included:
- Best documentary feature: (tie) The Girls in the Band and Wish Me Away (both U.S.).
- FIPRESCI Award: The Turin Horse (Hungary).
- Actor: Matthias Schoenaerts, Bullhead (Belgium).
- Actress: Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat and Sarina Farhadi, A Separation (Iran).
- New Voices, New Vision Award: The House (Slovakia).
- First-time doc filmmaker (John Schlesinger Award): The Tiniest Place (Mexico).
- Bridging Borders Award: Terraferma (Italy).
Across the Atlantic, Denis Villeneuve's acclaimed drama Incendies scored an award at the Prix Lumière, which celebrated French-language cinema on Friday. Voted on by about 200 international journalists based in Paris, the award is France's equivalent to Hollywood's Golden Globes.
Incendies — based on Wajdi Mouawad's play about siblings who travel to the Middle East attempting to unravel a mystery left by their late mother — won the prize for best foreign film in French at Friday's ceremony in Paris.
Villeneuve's adaptation has earned a raft of awards both at home and abroad, winning at Canada's Genie Awards and Quebec's Jutra Awards, receiving critical praise from reviewers as well as festival honours in Vancouver, Rotterdam and the Czech Repuoblic. It was also Canada's official submission for the best foreign film Oscar in 2011.
Michel Hazanavicius's silent film homage The Artist also picked up a trio of honours at the Lumière ceremony: best film, best actress for Bérénice Bejo and a special mention for Uggy, the talented, scene-stealing canine featured in the movie.
Other Lumière winners included:
- Director: Maiwenn, Polisse.
- Screenplay: Jean-Louis Milesi and Robert Guediguian, Les Neiges de Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro)
- Actor: Omar Sy, Intouchables
- Female Newcomer: Alice Barnolle, Adèle Haenel and Céline Sallette in L'Apollonide, souvenirs de la maison close (House of Tolerance)
- Male Newcomer: Denis Menochet, Les adoptés (The Adopted)