Sundance-winning ‘Utama’ wins top prize at Transilvania Film Festival | English Film News

Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s ‘Utama’, which had already won the grand jury prize in the best World Cinema Dramatic competition at Sundance this year, was named in top honors at the closing ceremony of the Transilvania Film Festival on Saturday night. ‘Utama’ also received the festival’s audience award.

Grisi’s feature debut tells the story of an elderly couple in the Bolivian highlands who refuse to move to the city despite the constant threat of drought, according to reports.

In a glowing review, Peter Debruge described the film as a “sublime, quietly elegiac” character study that “is unlike anything else”.

“Drawing on the simplicity, purity and poetry of his cinematic approach, the director takes the audience on a universal journey, speaking to the essence of life, death and everything in between,” said the Transilvania jury, praising a film that “gives audiences a deep, multidimensional sense of the fragility of our future.”

The prize for best director went to Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson for “Beautiful Beings”, which the jury recognized for “the believable, original and brilliant universe” of the Icelandic filmmaker, who won the same prize in Transylvania in 2017 for ” Heartstone”.


The first prize of the festival “What’s Up, Doc?” competition section went to ‘You Are Ceausescu to Me’, Sebastian Mihailescu’s experimental docufiction in which a group of young people come together to re-enact scenes from the life of the former Romanian dictator. A Special Jury Mention went to Yuri Ancarani’s ‘Atlantis’, which follows a young Venetian who devotes his time to building the fastest speedboat among his group of barchino aficionados, according to reports.

Biggest Prize at ‘What’s up, doc?’ competition section went to ‘You Are Ceausescu To Me’, Sebastian Mihailescu’s experimental docu-fiction in which a group of young people come together to re-enact scenes from the life of the former Romanian dictator. A Special Jury Mention went to Yuri Ancarani’s ‘Atlantis’, which follows a young Venetian who devotes his time to building the fastest speedboat for his group of Barchino fans.

Meanwhile, veteran actress Maia Morgenstern was also honored at Saturday night’s ceremony, with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a career spanning nearly four decades.