Director Alejandro Landes hails it as happiest day of his life

Colombian film Porfirio, directed by Alejandro Landes and produced by Francisco Aljure, won the coveted Golden Peacock Award at the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, 2011, out of 14 films from different countries in the competition section.

The film is a true story of an air pirate's struggle for dignity as he is confined to a wheelchair after the police shoot him in the back and show little willingness to compensate him.

Tamil film actor Surya, chief guest for the closing ceremony on Saturday, presented the award and citation to Mr. Landes as well as a cash prize of Rs. 20 lakh each and certificates to Mr. Landes and Mr. Aljure.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting C.M. Jatua, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Secretary for Information and Broadcasting D.P. Reddy, IFFI Director Shankar Mohan and a number of dignitaries from the film industry, national and international, were present.

Chairman of the International Competition Jury Adoor Gopalkrishnan said the selections were entirely unanimous. The other members of the Jury were film museum curator Laurence Kardish, directors Lee Yong Kwan, Tahmineh Milani and Dan Wolman.

The Silver Peacock Award for the Best Director with a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh went to Asghar Farhadi for the film from Iran “Jodaeiye Nader az Simin”(Nader and Simin: A Separation). Martine Aramand received the award from Chief Minister Kamat on behalf of Mr. Farhadi.

Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu (Abu, Son of Adam), an Indian film directed by Salim Ahmed, which combines the universal values of religion, nature and humanity, won the Special Jury Award and a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh.

“Happiest day”

An elated Mr. Ahmed said that it was the happiest day of his life and that he would utilise the prize money for “Oscar promotion of the film.”

Russian actor Nadezda Markina, who starred in Elena by Andrei Zvyagintsev, bagged the best female actor prize for her subtle and restrained performance while Israeli actor Sasson Gabay, of Israeli film Restoration directed by Joseph Madmony, bagged the best male actor award. Both the prizes carried Rs. 10 lakh each and certificates.

Mr. Surya said India was a huge country with diverse regional cinema. However, a lot of very good regional films did not get enough focus, he regretted.

According to him, a huge pool of talent thus remained unrecognised, and called for sharing of the content across the country and globally for wider recognition.

He also spoke of the need for more exposure to films having great content but often made on shoe-string budgets by lesser known producers and directors and without stars.

Common platform

The IFFI came to a close with the screening of French director Luc Besson's film ‘The Lady.' This film recounts veteran Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi's political and personal struggles and stars Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh.

Tribute to Filho

A one-minute silence was observed as tribute to Brazilian director Oscar Maron Filho, who passed away during the festival.

The 11-day festival was inaugurated by Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan on November 23 in Margao.