FESTIVALS: A Land Imagined scoops Locarno’s Golden Leopard

Singaporean filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined has been awarded the Golden Leopard at this year’s Locarno Film Festival (August 1-11).

The win marks the first time that a film from Singapore has taken Locarno’s top prize, which has previously gone to films such as Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise, Hong Sang-soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then and Terence Davies’ Distant Voices, Still Lives.

Set in industrial Singapore, A Land Imagined follows a police investigator searching for a missing migrant worker, who has been injured and is afraid of repatriation.

Starring Peter Yu and Liu Xiaoyi in the main roles, the film was produced by Singapore’s Akanga Film Asia and mm2 Entertainment with France’s Films de Force Majeure and the Netherlands’ Volya Films. US-based Visit Films has international rights.

The film also picked up the first prize of Locarno’s Junior Jury Awards, plus a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury for “sensitising the viewer to religious, people-related, and social values”.

Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke headed the jury of Locarno’s international competition, which also included French writer-director Emmanuel Carrère, US director Sean Baker, Italian director Tizza Covi and Italian actress Isabella Ragonese.

In other Locarno sections, Chinese filmmaker Lin Zi won best film in the Signs Of Life competition for The Fragile House. The jury described the film as “an unnerving portrait of one family’s estrangement and avarice within China’s burgeoning upper-middle class”.

Next year’s Locarno film festival will be held August 7-17, 2019.

LOCARNO 2018 FULL LIST OF WINNERS:

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

Golden Leopard – A LAND IMAGINED by YEO Siew Hua (Singapore, France, Netherlands)

Special Jury Prize – M by Yolande Zauberman (France)

Best Direction – TARDE PARA MORIR JOVEN by Dominga Sotomayor (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Qatar)

Best Actress – Andra Guți for ALICE T. by Radu Muntean (Romania, France, Sweden)

Best Actor – KI Joobong for HOTEL BY THE RIVER by HONG Sangsoo (South Korea)

Special Mention – RAY & LIZ by Richard Billingham (UK)

FILMMAKERS OF THE PRESENT

Best film – CHAOS by Sara Fattahi (Austria, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar)

Best Emerging Director – DEAD HORSE NEBULA by Tarık Aktaş (Turkey)

Special Jury Prize – CLOSING TIME by Nicole Vögele (Switzerland, Germany)

Special Mentions – FAUSTO by Andrea Bussmann (Mexico, Canada), L’ÉPOQUE by Matthieu Bareyre (France)

SIGNS OF LIFE

Best Film – THE FRAGLIE HOUSE by LIN Zi (China)

Fundación Casa Wabi Mantarraya Award – LE DISCOURS D’ACCEPTATION GLORIEUX DE NICOLAS CHAUVIN by Benjamin Crotty (France)

Best First Feature – ALLES IST GUT by Eva Trobisch (Germany)

Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award – ACID FOREST by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Lithuania)

Special Mention – ERASED, ASCENT OF THE INVISIBLE by Ghassan Halwani (Lebanon)

LEOPARDS OF TOMORROW (INTERNATIONAL)

Best International Short Film – D’UN CHÂTEAU L’AUTRE by Emmanuel Marre (Belgium, France)

Pardino d’argento – HEART OF HUNGER by Bernardo Zanotta (Netherlands)

Best Direction – PIANIFICA EL LABERINTO by Laura Huertas Millán (France, Columbia, US)

Medien Patent Verwaltung AG Award – JE SORS ACHETER DES CIGARETTES by Osman Cerfon (France)

Special Mention – LA MÁXIMA LONGITUD DE UN PUENTE by Simón Vélez (Columbia, Argentina)

LEOPARDS OF TOMORROW (SWITZERLAND)

Best Swiss Short Film – LOS QUE DESEAN by Elena López Riera (Switzerland, Spain)

Pardino d’argento – ABIGAÏL by Magdalena Froger (Switzerland)

Best Swiss Newcomer Award – ICI LE CHEMIN DES ÂNES by Lou Rambert Preiss (Switzerland)

AUDIENCE AWARD – BLACKKKLANSMAN by Spike Lee (US)