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    Critical Zone, The Old Oak Top Wins – The Hollywood Reporter

    Critical Zone, an Iranian drama shot in secret by dissident director Ali Ahmadzadeh, has won the Golden Leopard honor for best film at the 2023 Locarno Film Festival.

    Ahmadzadeh, who has been banned from leaving Iran, was unable to attend the awards ceremony, held at the Swiss city Saturday night. The Iranian government pressured the director to pull the film from competition. Through its story of a man and his dog, who navigate Tehran’s underworld, selling drugs and talking to troubled souls, Critical Zone depicts a nation rebelling against an oppressive regime in any way it can. Produced by Germany’s Counter Intuitive Film, Critical Zone is being sold worldwide by Luxbox.

    Another proudly political filmmaker, British legend Ken Loach, won the audience award, the UBS Prix du Public, at Locarno’s 76th annual festival for his latest (and perhaps last) feature film: The Old Oak. The drama, which premiered in Cannes, centers on a working-class English pub whose regulars welcome a group of Syrian refugees.

    Romanian art-house favorite Radu Jude won the Special Jury Prize in Locarno for his latest, laconic effort, Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World. Ukrainian filmmaker Maryna Vroda took the best director prize for her feature debut, Stepne.

    The gender-neutral acting awards, introduced at Lorcano this year, went to Dimitra Vlagopoulou for Animal from Greek filmmaker Sofia Exarchou, and to Renée Soutendijk for Ena Sendijarević’s Sweet Dreams.

    The 77th Locarno Film Festival will take place from Aug. 7-17, 2024.

    A full list of 2023 Locarno award winners follows.

    Concorso Internazionale

    Pardo d’oro, Grand Prize of the Festival of the City of Locarno to the best film

    Mantagheye Bohrani (Critical Zone), director Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran/Germany

    Special Jury Prize of the Cities of Ascona and Losone

    Nu Aștepta Prea Mult de la Sfârșitul Lumii (Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World), director Radu Jude, Romania/Luxembourg/France

    Croatia Pardo for Best Direction of the City and Region of Locarno

    Maryna Vroda for Stepne, director Ukraine/Germany/Poland/Slovakia

    Pardo for Best Performance

    Dimitra Vlagopoulou for Animal

    Pardo for Best Performance

    Renée Soutendijk for Sweet Dreams

    Special Mention

    Nuit Obscure – Au Revoir Ici, N’importe Où, director Sylvain George, France/Switzerland

    Concorso Cineasti del Presente

    Pardo d’oro Concorso Cineasti del presente for best film

    Hao Jiu Bu Jian (Dreaming & Dying), director Nelson Yeo, Singapore/Indonesia

    Best Emerging Director Award of the City and Region of Locarno

    Katharina Huber for Ein Schöner Ort, director Germany

    Special Jury Prize CINÉ+

    Camping du Lac, director Éléonore Saintagnan, Belgium/France

    Pardo for Best Performance

    Clara Schwinning for Ein Schöner Ort

    Pardo for Best Performance

    Isold Halldórudóttir and Stavros Zafeiris for Touched

    Special Mentions

    Ekskurzija (Excursion), director Una Gunjak, Bosnia-Herzegovina/Croatia/Serbia/France/Norway/Qatar

    Negu Hurbilak, director Colectivo Negu, Spain

    First Feature

    Swatch First Feature Award for Hao Jiu Bu Jian (Dreaming & Dying), director Nelson Yeo, Singapore/Indonesia

    Concorso Corti d’Autore

    Pardino d’oro Swiss Life for the Best Auteur Short Film

    The Passing, director Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, USA

    Special Mention and Short Film candidate of the Locarno Film Festival for the European Film Awards

    Been There, director Corina Schwingruber Ilić, Switzerland

    Concorso Internazionale, Pardi di Domani

    Pardino d’oro SRG SSR for the Best International Short Film

    En Undersøgelse Af Empati (A Study of Empathy), director Hilke Rönnfeldt, Denmark/Germany

    Pardino d’argento SRG SSR for the International Competition

    Du Bist So Wunderbar, director Leandro Goddinho, Paulo Menezes, Germany/Brazil

    Pardi di domani Best Direction Award – BONALUMI Engineering

    Eric K. Boulianne for Faire Un Enfant, director Canada

    Medien Patent Verwaltung AG Award

    Negahban (The Guard), director Amirhossein Shojaei, Iran

    Special Mention

    The Lovers, director Carolina Sandvik, Sweden

    Concorso Nazionale, Pardi di Domani

    Pardino d’oro Swiss Life for the Best Swiss Short Film

    Letzte Nacht, director Lea Bloch, Switzerland

    Pardino d’argento Swiss Life for the National Competition

    Night Shift, director Kayije Kagame, Hugo Radi, Switzerland

    Best Swiss Newcomer Award

    Letzte Nacht, director Lea Bloch, Switzerland

    Pardo Verde Ricola

    Čuvari Formule (Guardians of the Formula), director Dragan Bjelogrlić, Serbia/Slovenia/Montenegro/ North Macedonia

    Special Mentions

    Procida, film made by the participants of Procida Film Atelier, Italy

    Valley Pride, director Lukas Marxt, Austria/Germany

    Independent Jury Awards

    UBS Prix du Public

    The Old Oak, director Ken Loach, U.K./France/Belgium

    Variety Piazza Grande Award

    Guardians of the Formula, director Dragan Bjelogrlić, Serbia/Slovenia/Montenegro/North Macedonia

    Ecumenical Jury Award

    Patagonia, director Simone Bozzelli, Italy

    Special Mention

    Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World, director Radu Jude, Romania/Luxembourg/France/Croatia

    FIPRESCI Award

    Stepne, director Maryna Vroda Ukraine/Germany/Poland/Slovakia

    European Cinemas Label Award

    Yannick, director Quentin Dupieux, France

    Critics’ Week Aawards

    Grand Prix

    Monogamia, director Ohad Milstein, Israel

    Premio Zonta Club Locarno

    Les Soeurs Pathan, director Eléonore Boissinot, France

    Marco Zucchi Award

    Les Premiers Jours, director Stéphane Breton, France

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