CONDUCTA Tops Havana Film Fest

The Cuban film Conducta / Behavior (pictured) by Ernesto Daranas was the winner of the top prize for Best Film at the 36th edition of the Havana Film Festival, it was announced this evening.

In Darana's second feature film, life isn’t easy for 11-year-old Chala. When he isn’t getting into trouble at school for his violent behaviour, or with the police for raising fighting dogs, he has to contend with an alcoholic mother who spends her nights hustling in Havana’s nightclubs. Chala has one person on his side: his teacher, Carmela, who absolutely believes that no child is a lost cause. But when Carmela falls ill, Chala himself is in danger of falling through the cracks of an unforgiving system, in this heartfelt, clear-eyed drama.

Armando Valdés, who plays the 11-year old protagonist of Conducta, won the Best Actor award for his performance of Chala. Daranas' film had been previously selected as Cuba's submission to this edition of the Academy Awards. The Colombian film Tierra en la lengua / Dust in the Tongue by Rubén Mendoza was awarded with a Special Jury Mention for Best Film.

Argentinean filmmaker Damián Szifron was awarded the prize for Best Director for his film Relatos salvajes / Wild Tales, which was also awarded for Best Editing. Gerald Chaplin won the prize for Best Actress for her performance in the Dominican film Dólares de arena / Sand Dollars by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas.

The Ecuadorean film La muerte de Jaime Roldós / The Death of Jaime Roldós by Manolo Sarmiento and Lisandra I. Rivera was the winner of the Coral Award for Best Documentary. The Coral Award for Best First Film was presented to the Mexican film Güeros by Alonos Ruizpalacio, while the Cuban film Vestido de novia by Marylin Soraya received an Honorable Mention in the same category.

The 36th edition of the Havana Film Festival took place December 4-14 in Cuba.