The Peruvian film El limpiador / The Cleaner (pictured), directed by newcomer Adrián Saba, won Best Picture for New Voices New Visions at the 24th edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival which ran January 3-14. The film, which has been making the rounds at several other festivals, including the Chicago Film Festival, is Saba's first feature film. 'New Voices/New Visions' section awards newcomer directors for outstanding breakthroughs in filmmaking.
Th story takes place in the midst of a mysterious and devastating epidemic. Eusebio, a forensic cleaner who sterilizes the apartments of the dead, discovers an eight-year-old boy hiding in an uninhabited house. A lifelong loner, Eusebio, suddenly finds that he must care for the young boy as civilization crumbles around them.
The New Voices / New Visions competition included ten new international talents making their feature film debut at the Festival, with the additional criteria that the films selected are currently without U.S. distribution. The winner received a sculpture designed by famed glass artist Dale Chihuly and a $60,000 Panavision camera rental package.
Additionally, the Palm Springs Film Festival launched a new prize, the Cine Latino Award to be presented to the best Iberoamerican film at the Festival. Sponsored by the Guadalajara International Film Festival and the University of Guadalajara Foundation/USA, the award comes a $5,000 cash prize. In its inaugural edition, the Award was given to the Spanish film Blancanieves by Pablo Berger.