Taipei, June 30 (CNA) Berlin-based filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, originally from Lesotho, won the Grand Prize in the International New Talent Competition of the 2020 Taipei Film Festival, according to the organizers Tuesday.
An actual awards ceremony was not held like in past years because overseas filmmakers were not able to come to Taiwan due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the winners were simply announced in a statement.
Mosese won the award for the feature film "This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection," which explores the will to live and spirit of community resilience, the jury said in a statement.
The 116-minute color film focuses on an 80-year-old widow, who had started making arrangements for her death, but then finds a new will to live, in order to protect her village in Lesotho from threats of resettlement due to the construction of a reservoir.
Judges praised the film for its cinematic language and handling of realistic issues, the statement said.
"The director handles the cinematic language precisely, lavishly reveals a quality close to that of Greek tragedy, and meticulously deploys a strong sense of ritual and style for the realistic issues about land justice and forced demolition and relocation," according to the awards citations.
"This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection," stood out from among a shortlist of 12 films that were selected to enter the final stage of the competition out of 412 entries.
The grand prize came with a cash award of NT$600,000 (US$20,379).
Also Tuesday, the Special Jury Prize and its cash award of NT$300,000 went to "The Metamorphosis of Birds," the debut feature of Portuguese director Catarina Vasconcelos.
The hybrid film, which combines both the genres of documentary and drama, explores the director's family stories, beginning with her grandparents, who were separated for many months at a time because of her grandfather's profession as a sailor.
"Leaving Virginia" by Taiwanese filmmaker Lin Li-shu clinched the Audience's Choice Award, while "Exile" by Kosovo-born director Visar Morina nabbed the Taiwan Film Critics Society Award.
The annual competition, now in its 16th year, honors young filmmakers and new talent from around the world.
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