‘107 Mothers,’ ‘Captain Volkonogov Escaped’ Among Winners at Les Arcs Film Festival

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Peter Kerekes’s “107 Mothers,” a Slovak drama about women living and working in a Ukrainian prison, won the Crystal Arrow Award at the 13th edition of Les Arcs European Film Festival.

The festival, which wrapped on Dec. 18, took place as an in-person event with “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius presiding over the jury which also included actors Laetitia Dosch and Sidse Babett Knudsen, author Tania de Montaigne and actor-director Éric Judor. The selection was curated by Frederic Boyer, the artistic director of both Les Arcs and Tribeca.

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Represented in international markets by Films Boutique, “107 Mothers” world premiered at Venice in the horizons section and revolves around the relationship between Leysa (Maryna Klimova), a new inmate who gives birth in prison, and Iryna (Iryna Kiryazeva), the prison’s ward.

The grand jury prize was awarded to “Captain Volkonogov Escaped,” a Russian historical thriller directed by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov. The movie, sold by Memento Film International, follows a faithful enforcer of the National Security Service (NKVD) who flees during political persecutions perpetrated by the Soviet regime in 1938.

Jonas Carpignano’s “A Chiara” won best actor for Swamy Rotolo, as well as the press award. The movie, repped by MK2 Films, world premiered in the directors fortnight section of Cannes, where it won the Europa Cinemas Cannes Label award. Set in Calabria, “A Chiara” focuses on a 16-year-old girl who realizes that her beloved father may be part of the local criminal organization.

The best actress nod was awarded to Laure Calamy (“Call My Agent!”) for her performance in Eric Gravel’s “A plein temps,” another film which world premiered at Venice in the horizons section. The movie, sold by Be for Films, is a drama about a single mother who goes to great lengths to raise her two children in the countryside while keeping her job in a Parisian luxury hotel. “A plein temps” also won the Cineuropa prize.

Blerta Basholli’s “Hive,” a drama set against the backdrop of the war in Kossovo, won both the audience prize and the high school award. The film follows a woman who sets up a small business to provide for her kids after her husband goes missing. Repped by LevelK, “Hive” previously won the audience and directing awards at Sundance.

Best original music and cinematography were awarded to Alex Baranowski for “True Things” and Renato Berta for “Il Buco,” respectively.

The festival and its Industry Village gathered more than 500 professionals from across Europe and screened over 120 films, mostly French premieres. Special tributes were given to French director Laurent Cantet (“Arthur Rambo”), actor Matthias Schoenearts (“Bullhead”) and Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, the Croatian director of “Murina” who won this year’s Golden Camera award and picked up the Sisley/les Arcs Woman of Cinema Prize at Les Arcs.

Les Arcs also welcomed Swedish actor Noomi Rapace who introduced her film “Lamb” on opening night, as well as Bérénice Béjo, Alex Lutz, Déborah Luklumena, Reda Kateb, Lyna Khoudri and Calamy.

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