Felicite: Alain Gomis’s Touching Chronicle of Single Mom and Nightclub Singer

Félicité (Senegal)

Directed by Alain Gomis.

Bursting at the seams with energy, Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis’s Berlin festival prizewinner immerses us in the sights and sounds of Kinshasa while loosely chronicling the day-to-day travails of the eponymous single-mom and nightclub-chanteuse.

Congolese singer Véro Tshanda Beya renders an unforgettable performance.

The film is on the shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award.

The film won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film   

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actor in  Foreign Language Film:

Nakhane Touré from The Wound (South Africa). South African co-writer/director John Trengove’s balanced docudrama explores a clandestine relationship between two Xhosa men, set against the backdrop of a traditional coming-of-age ceremony.

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film: Daniela Vega from A Fantastic Woman (Chile). Making a living waiting tables in downtown Santiago while pursuing her dream of becoming an nightclub singer, young transgender woman Marina (Daniela Vega in a stunning debut) finds safety and solace from an often cruel world in her relationship with older divorcee Orlando (Francisco Reyes, Neruda). But when Orlando suffers a violent fall and massive injuries in the last moments of a fatal aneurysm, suspicion falls on Marina, causing her to flee the hospital and the eye of a judgmental city.

All three films that received prizes are on the shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award.  The FIPRESCI jury members were Nathan Lee (Film Critic, Film Comment), Marco Lombardi (Critic and Journalist) and Amber Wilkinson (Editorial Director, Eye For Film).

NEW VOICES NEW VISIONS AWARD

The New Voices New Visions focuses on films that our programmers feel represent the most distinctive new directors to have emerged in the last year.  Each of the twelve films in competition represents the filmmakers debut or second feature. The winner is selected by a special jury of U.S. distributors, critics, and curators.

New Voices New Visions AwardThe Charmer (Denmark), directed by Milad Alami. A searing and topical exploration of the immigrant experience shot through with elements of psychological thriller and erotic drama, Milad Alami’s striking feature debut follows an Iranian man’s increasingly desperate attempts to secure citizenship by seducing a string of Danish women.

Honorable Mention–Direction: Léa Mysius

Ava (France). Thirteen-year-old Ava’s summer vacation gains a new urgency when she learns she is rapidly going blind. In the face of creeping darkness, she squeezes in all the life she can, rebelling against her mother, stealing a dog, and becoming romantically entangled with a mysterious beach rat, sending her on an unpredictable journey of self-realization.

JOHN SCHLESINGER AWARD

The John Schlesinger Award, named after the director, writer, producer and festival supporter, is presented to the director of a debut feature documentary from among those screened at the festival.

Schlesinger Award:

Brimstone and Glory (US-Mexico), directed by Viktor Jakovleski. Equal parts awe-inspiring and anxiety-inducing, Brimstone and Glory’s chronicle of an annual fireworks extravaganza in Tultepec, Mexico, is a visual, jaw-dropping spectacle like no other documentary before it.

The films were juried by Jennifer Cochis (Director, LA Film Festival), Andy Greenblatt (Executive Director, Philadelphia Film Society) and Marcie Hume (Director, Producer A&E).

CINE LATINO AWARD

The Cine Latino Award, presented to the best Ibero-American film screening at the festival, aims to highlight the creativity in modern Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American films.

Cine Latino Award:

Killing Jesús (Colombia/Argentina), directed by Laura Mora.

When university student Paula witnesses her social activist father’s assassination, the inept, uncaring police force drives her to seek justice on her own. But when she finds herself immersed in the killer’s poverty-stricken world she discovers that they might both be victims of the same broken system.

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