Chinese Directors Scoop Two Main Awards at Marrakech Film Festival

The 16th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival wrapped up with the two main awards going to two Chinese directors.

The Festival’s Grand Prix, the Golden Star, was awarded to Zang Qiwu’s “The Donor” while the best director prize went to Wang Xuebo for his film, “Knife in the Clear Water”.

“The Donor” sheds light on the phenomenon of organ donation in modern China. The movie depicts the life a Chinese peasant whose life turned into tragedy after transplantation surgery failed. He decides to sell one of his kidneys in order to make some money to meet the needs of his family. The movie shows the exploitation of poor classes in modern China.

The best actress award was received by Afghanistan’s Fereshteh Hosseini who stars in the Irani-Afghan co-production ‘Parting’ about a young Afghani couple risking their lives to find refuge and a better life in Europe.

The jury led by Hungarian veteran director Bela Tarr awarded the Best Actor Prize ex aequo to Baldur Einarsson and Blaer Hinriksson for their performances in “Heartstone.”

Italian Tizza Covi and Austrian Rainer Frimmel received the jury prize for ‘Mister Universo’ about a circus lion-tamer in search of his lost lucky charm.

The Festival, held December 2-10, paid a country tribute to Russian cinema.

Faithful to its tradition of championing quality cinema and shunning commercialism and mediocrity, the festival featured a selection of 14 movies from different countries.

The Festival paid career tributes to “Elle” director Paul Verhoeven, French star Isabelle Adjani, Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto and Moroccan actor Abderrahim Tounsi, known as Abderraouf. It also paid tribute in memoriam to Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, who passed away this year.

As part of efforts to showcase the attractiveness of Morocco as a hub for filmmaking, the festival managed to draw a U.S. delegation of industry players, including Gary French, senior VP of production at Touchstone Television Productions, and Gary Goodman, executive VP of productions at Lionsgate.

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