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Wang Quan’an’s ‘Öndög’ bags the Golden Spike of Seminci’s 64th edition

Javier Angulo and the 64th Seminci’s International Jury

‘The invisible life of Eurídice Gusmão’ wins the Silver Spike, the Best Actress award for the film’s lead performers Carol Duarte and Julia Stockler, and the International Critics’ award

10/26/2019.- Öndög (The Dinosaur’s Egg), a Mongolian production by Chinese filmmaker Wang Quan’an, has won the Golden Spike of the 64th edition of the Valladolid International Film Festival. On top of Seminci’s main award, the movie bagged the prize for the Best Cinematography: the job of Aymerick Pilarski. Öndög is the seventh feature film by Wang Quan’an, who is considered one of the most important and influential directors and screenwriters in today’s Chinese film market.


Öndög tells the story of the discovery of a woman’s dead body in the middle of the Mongolian steppe. The police arrive at the scene of the finding and decide that the youngest one among them (nearly a teenager) will stay and watch during the cold and bleak night. The young man forms a peculiar relationship with a local herdswoman who has been sent to the place to help keep away the wolves from the body and accompany the dead woman through the night.

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmão

The International Jury, formed by Spanish filmmaker Josefina Molina, National Film Award; Canadian director Philippe Lesage, whose third feature film, Genesis, won the Golden Spike of the previous edition in addition to the ‘Ribera del Duero’ Award for Best Director; Indian filmmaker Dilip Mehta, Georgian director Keti Machavariani, Spanish journalist and writer Rosa Montero, French producer and photographer Thierry Forte and Cuban film-events manager Iván Giroud, awarded the Silver Spike to The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmão, a Brazilian-German production signed by Carioca director Karim Aïnouz. The film also obtained the Best Actress award for its two lead female performers, Carol Duarte and Julia Stockler. The film is set in 1950 Rio de Janeiro and tells the story of a conservative Portuguese family, the Gusmãos, where Eurydice, 18, and Guida, 20, are a couple of inseparable sisters who seek a safe space for their hopes and aspirations. While Guida has in her younger sister a faithful confidante for her romantic adventures, Eurydice finds in her energetic older sister the inspiration she needs to pursue her dream of becoming a professional pianist.

The jury decided to award the ‘Ribera del Duero’ prize for Best Director to Iceland’s Rúnar Rúnarsson for his work in Bergmál (Echo), a co-production involving Iceland, France and Switzerland. In his third feature film, the director draws a portrait, both scathing and tender, of modern society through 56 scenes set in Icelandic Christmas.

Pilar Miró Award for Mounia Meddour

The ‘Pilar Miró’ Award for Best New Director went to Algerian director Mounia Meddour for her first feature Papicha, a French-Algerian-Belgian co-production. The film, which also won the Audience Award sponsored by daily newspaper El Norte de Castilla, is set in Algeria in the 90s, where Nedjma, an 18-year-old student passionate about fashion design, refuses to let the tragic events of the Algerian Civil War prevent her from leading a normal life with her friend Wassila.

Awarded performances included the above-mentioned by Carol Duarte and Julia Stockler in The Invisible life of Eurídice Gusmão, and that of their male counterpart Levan Gelbakhiani, the protagonist of Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced.

Le Jeune Ahmed

The ‘Miguel Delibes’ Award for Best Screenplay went to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for Le Jeune Ahmed, a film that also won the ‘José Salcedo’ Award for Best Editing, which was presented this year for the first time in the Festival’s history. The prize’s recipients were film editors Marie-Hélène Dozo and Tristan Meunier.

In the short films’ Official Section the Golden Spike was harvested by Canadian animation The Physics of Sorrow, directed by Theodore Ushev. The Silver Spike was awarded to South Korean production Movements by Dahee Jeong, while the ‘EFA Short Film Candidate’ Prize went to Flesh (Carne), a Brazilian-Spanish production directed by Camila Kater, selected as one of the candidates in the category ‘European Short Film’ at the European Film Awards.

Meeting Point Awards

The Jury of the Meeting Point section singled out as Best Feature Basil Da Cunha’s O fim do mundo (The End of the World, Switzerland). The prize for Best Foreign Short Film went to Stay Awake, Be Ready, a film produced by Vietnam, South Korea and the United States and directed by Pham Thien An. As for the subsection ‘A Night of Spanish Short Films’, the awarded film was Summer Solstice, by Carlota González-Adrio.

Time of History Awards

The First Prize of Seminci’s documentary section Time of History went to the feature-length The Cave, by Feras Fayyad (Syria / Denmark / Germany), while the Second Prize was won by Alexander Nanau’s Colectiv, (Romania / Luxembourg). As for the documentary shorts, Frisson d’amour, a French production directed by Maxence Stamatiadis, was awarded by the section’s jury.


The sidebar dedicated to Spanish documentary films chose La Libertad es una palabra grande as the recipient of its award. This is a coproduction involving Uruguay, Brazil and Spain and directed by the Uruguayan director Guillermo Rocamora. The film follows Mohammed who, after spending 13 years imprisoned in Guantanamo, is released and transferred to Uruguay. There he has a second chance to start a new life in freedom in an unknown place.

Young Seminci and Castile and León”s Short Films awards

The jury entrusted with assessing the Castile and León Short Films entries awarded its prize to Muedra, by César Díez Meléndez. Following the popular vote by audiences aged 12-18, the Young Seminci award went to My Extraordinary Summer with Tess, a Dutch-German coproduction directed by Steven Wouterlood.

The Festival’s second Green Spike

Awarded for the second year running, Seminci’s Green Spike for environmental values went to Honeyland, a film by Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska “for its treatment of the fragile balance between the rhythm of natural life and the demands of production, and for showing the contrast between certain ways of life and others that are less respectful towards the environment”.

Audience Awards

In the Official Section the Audience Award organized by the veteran daily El Norte de Castilla, went to Papicha, the first feature by Algerian director Mounia Meddour, whereas in Meeting Point, the most voted film was Bik Eneich: Un Fils, a production participated by Tunisia, France, Lebanon and Qatar and directed by Mehdi M. Barsaoui.

FIPRESCI’s Jury Prize

The Jury of FIPRESCI (the International Federation of International Film Critics) awarded its prize to Karim Aïnouz’s feature film The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, a Brazilian-German production.

And The We Danced

The Rainbow Spike went to Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced, while the jury also decided to grant a special mention to Marko Skop’s Let there Be Light (Slovakia / Czech Republic), which screened in Meeting Point.

Also, for the second consecutive year, the Dunia Ayaso Award sponsored by the SGAE Foundation distinguished the best film featuring a female character in a leading role. This year’s winner was A Thief’s Daughter, by Belén Funes, programmed in the Spanish Cinema section and starring Greta Fernández in a powerful part. The Young Jury of the Official Section, in turn, awarded its prize to the feature film The Farewell, by director Lulu Wang, while the corresponding Young Jury for Meeting Point chose as winning film Alaa Eddine Aljem’s The Unknown Saint, a film produced by Morocco, France and Qatar.

The jury of the Blogos de Oro awards, again presented for the second year in the Festival’s history, chose as recipient of its prize Benito Zambrano’s Out in the Open, while the 2019 Sociograph Prize, which gauges the emotional impact of the Official Section’s entries on audiences (a four-year-old initiative), went to this year’s multiawarded The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão by Karim Aïnouz.

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