UK Jewish Film Fest Winners; China-Nigeria Co-Pro; San Sebastian Residency; Turks & Caicos Winners – Global Briefs

Andreas Wiseman and Tom Grater

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The UK Jewish Film Festival winners have been revealed. The Best Debut Feature Award has gone to Leona, directed by Isaac Cherem. The Spanish-language Mexican film, which received its UK premiere at the event, follows a young Jewish woman from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love with a non-Jewish man. The Dorfman Best Film Award went to Polish film Dolce Fine Giornata, directed by Jacek Borcuch. Pic charts how the stable family life of a poetess begins to fall apart as she makes a controversial speech. The movie beat out other titles Flawless, Jojo Rabbit, My Polish Honeymoon, Stripped and The Unorthodox. The Best Documentary Award winner has been announced as Advocate, directed by Philippe Bellaiche and Rachel Leah Jones. The film is a look at the life and work of Jewish-Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel who has represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years. The 2019 Audience Award will be announced later this week. The festival took place from 6 – 21 November at 15 cinemas across London.

Chinese entertainment group Huahua Media has signed a deal to co-produce the first major China-Nigeria co-production, 30 Days In China. According to CNN, the deal was made with Nigerian comedian Ayo Makun, known as AY, as is the latest in a series of comedy films in the franchise including 30 days In Atlanta and 10 days In Sun City. The pic will cast further Nollywood names alongside Chinese actors. Nigerian outfit FilmOne Entertainment is involved in the production; the influential company is also a cinema owner and distributor with titles including the Nigerian box office smash The Wedding Party, which became the country’s highest grossing title in 2016 before being surpassed by its sequel in 2017.

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The first Turks and Caicos International Film Festival (TCIFF) wrapped this week with the audience award going to Rob Stewarts’s Sharkwater Extinction about the illegal fishing industry that threatens the survival of the world’s sharks. Films to screen at the event included Sea FeverFisherman’s FriendsYesterdayThe Dead Don’t Die and Abominable. The three-day festival opened with documentary Sea of Shadowsexecutive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ikusmira Berriak, a script residency and development program organized by the San Sebastian International Film Festival, has named the five filmmakers for its latest edition. The selected quintet are: Gabriel Azorín, Jaoine Camborda, Diego Céspedes, Elena Martín Gimeno, and Jessica Sarah Rinland. They will take part in an eight-week residency (up from six weeks at the previous edition) at the Tabakalera, a former Tobacco factory-turned-cultural centre in San Sebastian, from March 2. In September, they will travel to the San Sebastian festival to complete the final two weeks of the program, before sharing their work with attending industry in an organized pitching session. Each project will also receive a $5,500 (€5,000) grant. This year’s call for selections received 185 total proposals, up 6% on last year. The event is run with the Tabakalera – International Centre for Contemporary Culture and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola.

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