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The Romanian production 'Crai nou / Blue Moon' carries off the Golden Shell at San Sebastian...

The Romanian production Crai nou / Blue Moon, directed by Alina Grigore, has carried off the Golden Shell at San Sebastian Festival’s 69th edition, whose official jury has given filmmaker Tea Lindeburg the Best Director Silver Shell for Du som er i himlen / As in Heaven. The actress in the film, Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl, and Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) receive the Silver Shell for Best Leading Performance ex-aequo, while the Best Supporting Performance goes to the cast of Quién lo impide / Who’s Stopping Us. Terence Davies wins the Best Screenplay Jury Prize for Benediction and Claire Mathon, the Best Cinematography Award for her work in Enquête sur un scandale d’état / Undercover. The jury has also decided to give a Special Prize to Earwig, by Lucile Hadzihalilovic.

For the third year running, the movie winning the Golden Shell goes to a debut film: in 2019 the winner was Pacificado / Pacified, by Paxton Winters, and in 2020, Dasatskisi / Beginning, by Dea Kulumbegashvili. The latter was precisely the president of this year’s official jury, which has decided to give the Festival’s highest accolade to Crai nou / Blue Moon, debut movie from the Romanian director, Alina Grigore. This is the first time that a Romanian production will have won the Golden Shell in the Festival’s history.

The Silver Shell for Best Director too goes to another first-timer, the Danish director Tea Lindeburg, for Du som er i himlen / As in Heaven. This is also the first time that a Danish filmmaker has won the distinction.

The Silver Shell for Best Leading Performance therefore goes to the North American Jessica Chastain, for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and to the young Danish actress Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl, for Du som er i himlen / As in Heaven. For its part, the new Silver Shell for Best Supporting Performance goes to the cast of Quién lo impide / Who’s Stopping Us (Candela Recio, Pablo Hoyos, Silvio Aguilar, Pablo Gavira, Claudia Navarro, Marta Casado, Rony-Michelle Pinzaru, Javier Sánchez and many others), directed by Jonás Trueba.

Terence Davies has garnered his first official Festival award in this, his third participation. Davies, to whom the Festival dedicated a retrospective in 2008, had formerly presented The Deep Blue Sea (2011) and Sunset Song (2015) in the Official Selection. Benediction, a film about the soldier and anti-war poet and World War I survivor Siegfried Sassoon, now sees him receive the award in recognition of his screenwriting work.

Claire Mathon has carried off the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography for her work in Enquête sur un scandale d’état / Undercover by Thierry de Peretti. Mathon has provided the photography for other films at the 69th edition, such as Petite Maman, by Céline Sciamma (Perlak), and Spencer, this year’s surprise movie, directed by Pablo Larraín.

Lucile Hadzihalilovic counts her participations in San Sebastian in awards. She landed the New Directors Award for her debut feature, Innocence (2004), while the second, Evolution (2015), won the Special Jury Prize in the Official Selection. The same distinction now goes to her third movie, Earwig, “for its ambition and ability to capture the subconscious”. This is the first time that two works by a same filmmaker have won the Special Jury Prize.


Nich’ya / Unwanted (Russia), by the director Lena Lanskih, wins the Kutxabank-New Directors Award in the same section that has seen Silvina Schnicer and Ulises Porra earn a special mention for Carajita. Tatiana Huezo has carried off the Horizontes Award for Noche de fuego / Prayers for the Stolen (Mexico-Germany, Brazil, Qatar), which had previously reaped a special mention in Un Certain Regard at the Festival de Cannes. The Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award goes to Vortex (France), the feature film by Gaspar Noé screened at Cannes Première, while Helena Girón and Samuel M. Delgado have landed a special mention for Eles transportan a morte / They Carry Death, selected for the Ikusmira Berriak residencies programme and premiered at the Venice Critics’ Week.

The Nest Award goes to the short film U šumi / In The Woods (Croatia), by the student from the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sara Grgurić, and the section’s special mention goes to Podul de Piatrâ / Pont de Pedra (Spain), by the student at the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola film school, Artur-Pol Camprubí.

In addition, the Irizar Basque Film Award goes to Maixabel (Spain), the film by Icíar Bollaín screened in the Official Selection, and its special mention to Kuartk Valley, by Maider Oleaga, premiered in Zinemira.

On the other hand, the City of Donostia/San Sebastian Audience Award goes to Petite maman (France), the film by Céline Sciamma premiered at the Berlinale, and the Audience Award for Best European Film to Ouistreham / Between Two Worlds, with which Emmanuel Carrère opened the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. Lastly, the TCM Youth Award goes to Fran Kranz for his debut Mass (USA), included in New Directors.


During the closing gala, the journalist Edurne Ormazabal and the actor Alberto San Juan thanked the audience for its support. “Yet another year, the San Sebastian Festival casts its eyes forward and continues to write its own history. While not in the best and most comfortable of conditions, we continue to stride ahead, even without pre-parties or being able to enjoy physical proximity, but representing that proximity in the embrace of the cinema. And if this festival has a constant feature, it is the participation and loyalty of its audience. Thank you for your example”.

The gala was followed by the premiere of Daniel Monzón’s latest film, Las leyes de la frontera.


Article by San Sebastian Film Festival, 25 September 2021


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