Pakistani Movie gets distinction in Swiss film festival

Pakistan’s Sabiha Sumar won the top prize at Switzerland’s principal film festival(6-16 August) with her story of a woman whose son becomes an extremist.

The jury awarded the Golden Leopard to “Khamosh Pani” (“Silent Waters”), about the relationship between a widow and her son as the young man veers into religious extremism after in 1979. The film also won the festival’s Ecumenical Prize.

Sabiha Sumar is the an independent film director in Pakistan. She studied film at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and has since been making films on social, political and environmental issues. Her films “Who Will Cast the First Stone”, “Karachi” and “Where Peacocks Dance” have been aired on Channel Four, UK and “Of Mothers, Mice and Saints” was produced for ZDF, Germany. Her work has been shown at the London and Rotterdam Film Festivals. Most of her films have not been shown in Pakistan yet.

The jury’s special prize went to Romania’s Calin Netzer for “Maria”, while Serban Ionescu took the best actor award for his role in the film, about a young mother of seven who resorts to prostitution for survival.

For the first time in the Locarno festival’s 56-year history, the prize for best actress was split in three: Holly Hunter (news) (“Thirteen”), Diana Dumbrava (“Maria”) and Kirron Kher (“Khamosh Pani”).

Nineteen films from 16 countries were in competition this year. In the video category, the Golden Leopard was split between Argentina’s Will Behnisch for “Cantata de las Cosas Solas” (“Cantata of the Single Things”) and Pierre-Yves Borgeaux and Stephane Blok for “Ixieme, Journal d’un Prisonnier” (“Umpteenth, The Diary of a Prisoner”).

Germany’s Harun Faroki was awarded the jury’s special prize for “Erkennen und Verfolgen” (“War at a Distance”).

The 56th Locarno festival attracted several premières this year, including British film Calendar Girls, which was show to a record audience of nearly 10,000 people in the town’s Piaza Grande on 9 August.

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