Soni wins, Vada Chennai shines bright at Jia Zhangke’s Pingyao International Film Festival.


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​Ivan Ayr’s debut film Soni has won the top award at the festival for Best Film at the second edition of the Pingyao International Film Festival (PYIFF). The Roberto Rossellini Award for Best Film wins a prize of $20,000, with half of it going to the development of the director’s next project, and the other half is provided to the film’s distributor in China.

With Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Saloni Batra in pivotal roles the film is produced by Kimsi Singh and Kartikeya Narayan Singh, whose previous credit included the 2015 Festival de Cannes film Chauthi Koot by Gurvinder Singh, and the 2012 Venice Film Festival film Anhey Gorhey Ka Daan. And Singh has served as a Consulting Editor on this film. The screenplay is co-written by Ayr and Kislay.

Ivan Ayr with Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Saloni Batra at PYIFF 2018

The other India film at the festival is by the renowned director-writer-producer Vetrimaaran. His latest film Vada Chennai also had its world premiere in the Gala section at PYIFF 2018. The film stars Dhanush, Samuthirakani, Andrea Jeremiah and Aishwarya Rajesh in major roles.

And Namrata Joshi from The Hindu says it received great reception. “A small but invested group of foreign film critics and cinephiles at PYIFF were exhilarated by the blood-soaked knives and sickles and the fabulously mounted killings. Comparisons with Mr. Miike — some of whose cult films are identified with extreme violence, bloodshed and yakuza — could well explain” it. Read the report here.

It is one of two non-Chinese films, the other being  Ivo Ferreira’s Hotel Imperio, that received a world premiere at the boutique festival. Twelve Chinese films had their world premieres at the festival. All films in the festival have been cleared by Chinese censorship. Vada Chennai is now playing in India. Book your tickets here.

PYIFF was initiated in 2017 by Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke, with Marco Muller as artistic director. It runs from October 11 – 20, 2018 in the ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi Province. The awards were presented during Pingyao Night (October 17) at the festival’s outdoor screening venue Platform.


Roberto Rossellini Awards:
Best Film: Soni, directed by Ivan Ayr (India)
Best Director: Ognjen Glavonić, The Load (Serbia)
Jury Award: A Land Imagined, directed by Yeo Siuw Hua (Singapore)

Fei Mu Awards:
Best Film: The Crossing, directed by Bai Xue (China)
Best Director: Huo Meng, Crossing The Border (China)
Best Actress: Huang Yao, The Crossing by Bai Xue (China)
Best Actor: Yang Taiyi, Crossing The Border (China)
Youth Jury Award: Crossing The Border, directed by Huo Meng (China)

Works-In-Progress Lab Awards:
Momo-WIP Lab Best Film: Lhamo And Skalbe by Sonthar Gyal
Momo-WIP Lab Best Director: Huang Zi for All About ING
Wings Project Award: Untitled film by Yang Pingdao
Wishart Award: Koali & Rice by Yesir
See You Again Pingyao Award: Unknown Time by Chang Bia

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