Death of Louis XIV, The: Top Winner at 2016 Jerusalem Film Fest

Albert Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV won the inaugural international competition at the 33rd edition of Jerusalem Film Fest, which wraps today.

“The Death of Louis XIV,” which world premiered at Cannes and stars Jean-Pierre Léaud as the Sun King in his final days, won the top prize of the international competition. The award includes a $20,000 cash prize from the Wilf Family Foundation.

The international jury, which included Cornerstone Films’ Alison Thompson, Icelandic helmer Grímur Hákonarson (“Rams”) and Israeli director Talya Lavie (“Zero Motivation”), described Serra’s film as “a bold and distinctive chamber piece in a beautifully detailed world.” The jury also praised the design and cinematography.

The other prize of the international competition, the jury’s honorable mention, went to Tobias Lindholm’s Oscar-nominated “A War.”

Commenting on the launch of Jerusalem film festival’s international competition, Elad Samorzik, the fest’s artistic director, said the section’s aim was to “open up a larger space for these works and filmmakers in terms of distribution and overall exposure in Israel.”

The section’s lineup comprised Park Chan-Wook’s “The Handmaiden,” Cristi Puiu’s “Sieranevada,” Mia Hansen-Love’s “Things To Come,”Danis Tanovic’s “Death in Sarajevo,”Josh Kriegman and Elise Steinberg’s “Weiner” and Kelly Reichardt’s “Certain Women.”

Asaph Polonsky’s feature debut “One Week And a Day,” which bowed at Cannes Critics’ Week, scooped three awards, the Haggiag award for best Israeli feature film, as well as best first film and script.

The jury, comprising Andreas Sinanos, Azize Tan, Boyd van Hoeij, Esther Hoffenberg and Asi Levi said “One Week And a Day” showcased “a constant and impressive command of tone and his fine work with a small cast.”

The festival highlights included the tribute to Quentin Tarantino on opening night and the screening of “Pulp Fiction” introduced by Tarantino who spoke for over an hour at the jam-packed Cinematheque. Other high-profile guests included Laurie Anderson and Whit Stillman.

The festival also hosted two industry events, the Pitch Point and Sam Spiegel Lab, which connected Israeli and foreign filmmakers to overseas producers, distributors and sales agents, including Dylan Leiner, Sony Pictures Classics’ EVP, Hengameh Panahi, Celluloid Dreams president, Vanessa Saal, Protagonist Pictures head of sales, Rémi Burah, CEO of ARTE France Cinéma, Giorgio Gosetti, Venice Days head, and Alison Thompson at Cornerstone Films.

This year’s Jerusalem festival broke attendance records, according to organizers.

“Seeing the sold out theaters day after day and hearing the Jerusalem Cinematheque’s hallways buzzing with conversations – that’s the biggest reward we can ask for,” said festival director Noa Regev.