• Festivals

Un Certain Regard Awards Highlight an Eclectic Mix of Styles, Languages and Themes

The winners of the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival were announced -in a mix of languages: French, English and even Japanese– in a short ceremony at the Debussy Theater on Saturday evening, the penultimate night of the festival. The members of the jury presented the awards to an eclectic range of international films. Jury president, German actress Marthe Keller, was joined by fellow jury members, Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, French actress Celine Sallette, Austrian director Jessica Hausner and actor Diego Luna who gleefully called them the “coolest jury” in Cannes.

Top prize went to Finnish Director Joho Kuosmanen for his black and white film, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki. The stunned first time director thanked the jury onstage for their “weird taste in cinema.” The film, a six-year project for Kuosmanen, details the build up to the 1962 world featherweight championship title match between country baker Maki and the American titleholder, Davey Moore.

“This is a very special festival for everyone but it’s the very first festival I have ever been,” said the excited director. “Success is not important but I have to say it feels pretty good.”

The Jury prize was awarded to Japanese writer-director Koji Fukada’s familial drama Harmonium. “It’s a film about a family that gets destroyed from the inside and we were really moved and impressed by the film,” said jury member Jessica Hausner who presented the award to Fukada.

Japanese cinema was given another nod on the night with the Special Jury Prize going to the feature animation, The Red Turtle, made in collaboration with revered Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. It was also good news for animator Michael Dudok De Wit who was awarded the prize. The Dutch shorts animator is making his feature film debut with the gently paced, dialogue-free story of a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds. (The Red Turtle has just been acquired by Sony Classics for North America, with a release planned for the fall.)

Screenplay prize went to the French sister filmmakers Delphine and Muriel Coulin for The Stopover about two young military women on leave from a tour of duty in Afghanistan unable to leave the impact of war behind them.

One of the most popular wins of the evening went to actor-turned-filmmaker Matt Ross who scored Best Director for festival favorite Captain Fantastic. An emotional Ross brought the film’s star Viggo Mortensen onstage with him to accept the honor.

Ross spoke exclusively to goldenglobes.com after his win saying that “he could barely breathe” when his name was announced. “I was so nervous I forgot to even thank my family,” he said.

Ross, who is known for his acting work in HBO’s Big Love and Silicon Valley made his directing debut in 2012 with 28 Hotel Rooms but Captain Fantastic – about a father who raises his family off the grid of capitalist society- has been winning over audiences since its debut at Sundance earlier this year.

“To get this award as director is very meaningful to me because this is what I have wanted to do all my life, to direct and write. It is such an honor to be recognized in this way,” he said.

Ross said he wanted Mortensen to be a part of the evening as he was so integral to the film. “I wanted to honor him and his work. I could not have done this film without him. He has put in so much time and energy into this film and he really is the face of it,” said Ross.

Ross hopes that the recognition of Un Certain Regard will help find a wider audience for the film. “As a film maker that’s what you hope for and that the film can become part of a wider cultural discussion,” he said.

As to where he plans to place his award, Ross a simple solution:“ Well I think I will frame it and put it into my office, but tonight I think I will be sleeping with it by my pillow”, he laughed.