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Here, Then takes best film at 66th Edinburgh Film Festival

Here, Then

Story by Jack Foley

HERE, Then has won best film at the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Directed by Mao Mao, the film received its world premiere at the festival, is a low-key, enigmatic portrayal of the alienation, disillusionment and loss of direction that have become widespread among young people in contemporary China.

The jury, which was this year presided over by veteran actor Elliott Gould, stated: “The Jury acknowledges the festival and its Artistic Director, Chris Fujiwara, for an outstanding, challenging and brave selection of films that included both fiction and documentaries and enabled us to watch the best of the world’s new cinema.

“Every work we had the privilege to see brought something new and extraordinary to us and choosing the best was a difficult task. After the final deliberations the jury unanimously decided to give the main prize to Here, Then by Mao Mao that had its World Premiere here at the EIFF.”

The Jury gave a Special Mention to Argentina’s Papirosen by Gastón Solnicki, a documentary which they described as “a real paradigm for why cinema remains relevant”.

“There is beauty, pain and urgency in this film,” the citation continues. “For humanity to survive, the world must not forget. This film tells us that the greatest struggle of man is the struggle for the truth.”

Director Penny Woolcock was awarded The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film for her outstanding film One Mile Away, which also received its World Premiere at the festival.

One of the most prestigious film awards in the UK, The Michael Powell Award was bestowed by a Jury headed by actor Jim Broadbent, who was joined by Japanese actress and producer Kiki Sugino and the founder and director of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Tiina Lokk.

The Jury citation read: “One Mile Away is a brave and honest film tackling a huge problem with sensitivity and skill, not only charting the efforts to reconcile a community but also showing the great wealth of creativity that is part of that struggle. We are delighted to be able to recognise such a singular achievement.”

Woolcock herself said: “One Mile Away is about transforming and saving lives. Winning the Michael Powell award is a tremendous boost for us to help get the film and its message out to where it needs to be in our inner cities.”

Andrea Riseborough and Brid Brennan jointly won Awards for Best Performance in a British Feature Film for their performances in James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer.

In the shorts category, Dinosaur Eggs In The Living Room by Rafael Urban (Brazil) won Best Film in the International Short Film Competition as voted for by Jury members Erwin Houtenbrink, Programme Consultant for the International Film Festival Bratislava, actor Ewen Bremner, and Javier Porta Fouz, Programmer of the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema.

Picking up two awards was director Will Anderson for his film The Making of Longbird for which he won both Best Film in the British Short Film Competition and The McLaren Award for New British Animation.

The Jury also gave a special acting commendation to Tom Phillips in Fun Times by Joe Carter.

The ceremony took place ahead of the Closing Night Gala of the European premiere of Brave which closes the 12-day Festival.