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Swedish film She Monkeys takes Tribeca top prize

She Monkeys

Story by Jack Foley

A SWEDISH film about two teenage girls whose friendship turns to rivalry amid the world of equestrian acrobatics has taken one of the top prizes at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.

She Monkeys, directed by Lisa Aschan, took the award for best narrative feature after judges praised it for being “haunting, resonant, original and authentic”.

Bombay Beach, by Israeli director Alma Har’el, won the best documentary prize after critics responded to its “beauty, lyricism, empathy and invention”.

The documentary, set in the desert by California’s Salton Sea, follows the inhabitants of the area and the ghost town that remains after it was virtually abandoned by holidaymakers decades ago.

Two acting prizes were also bestowed at the end-of-festival ceremony, with Ramadhan “Shami” Bizimana being crownded best actor for Grey Matter, a co-production between Rwanda and Australia about genocide.

Carice van Houten, meanhile, was named best actress for her performance in Black Butterflies, a drama based on the life during apartheid of South African poet Ingrid Jonker.

There was also a prize for British directors David Leon and Marcus McSweeney, who won best narrative short for their film, Man and Boy, starring actor Eddie Marsan. Leon will shortly be seen playing alongside Brenda Blethyn in new ITV police drama Vera.

And British writer and director Jerry Rothwell won the best feature film prize in the online competition, voted for by visitors to the Tribeca website, for his film, Donor Unknown, about a woman’s quest to find her biological father.

Jury members this year included directors David O Russell and Atom Egoyan, as well as actors Paul Dano, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Cera.

More than 5,000 films were submitted in the competition, including 93 feature films, 41 documentaries and 52 narrative fiction films.

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