Georgia’s ‘Beginning’ Tops This Year’s San Sebastián Fest: See the Winners

The 68th San Sebastián Film Festival helped revive the global festival circuit this season with a physical event held September 18-26 in Spain. The lineup, which kicked off with Woody Allen’s “Rifkin’s Festival,” concluded with the annual awards September 26.

The festival’s big winner was Georgian writer/director Dea Kulumbegashvili’s debut feature “Beginning,” taking four of the jury prizes including Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actress, and the Golden Shell for Best Film. A psychological portrait of the effects of an extremist attack on a rural place of worship, “Beginning” was originally slotted for a Cannes competition premiere, and also played the Toronto International Film Festival. Next, it will head to the ongoing New York Film Festival.

Other highlights included Florian Zeller’s Oscar hopeful “The Father,” winner of the Audience Award — and a likely Best Actor nominee next year for Anthony Hopkins’ devastating turn as a man wrestling with dementia. Mads Mikkelsen took the Silver Shell for Best Actor for his performance as a drunken teacher in Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round,” hot off acclaim in Toronto. Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a February 2020 stateside opener hit hard by the pandemic, also picked up an award outside the official selection.

Led by president Luca Guadagnino, the jury members included Joe Alwyn, Marisa Fernández Armenteros, Michel Franco, and Lena Mossum. See the full list of winners below.

Official Selection Prizes

Golden Shell for Best Film: “Beginning,” Dea Kulumbegashvili

Special Jury Prize: “Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan,” Julien Temple

Silver Shell for Best Director: “Beginning,” Dea Kulumbegashvili

Silver Shell for Best Actress: “Beginning,” Ia Sukhitashvili

Silver Shell for Best Actor: “Another Round,” Mads Mikkelsen

Best Screenplay: “Beginning,” Dea Kulumbegashvili and Rati Oneli

Best Cinematography: “Any Crybabies Around?,” Yuta Tsukinaga

Other Festival Prizes

New Directors’ Award: “Last Days of Spring,” Isabel Lamberti

New Directors’ Award (Special Mention): “Slow Singing,” Dong Xingyi

Latin Horizons Award: “Identifying Features,” Fernanda Valadez

Latin Horizons Award (Special Mention): “One in a Thousand,” Clarisa Navas

San Sebastian Audience Award: “The Father,” Florian Zeller

Audience Award for Best European Film: “The Mole Agent,” Maite Alberdi

Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award: “The Metamorphosis of Birds,” Catarina Vasconcelos

Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award (Special Mention): “The Woman Who Ran,” Hong Sang-soo

TVE Another Look Award: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Eliza Hittman

TVE Another Look Award (Special Mention): “Gull,” Kim Mi-jo

Spanish Cooperation Award: “Identifying Features,” Fernanda Valadez

Irizar Basque Film Award: “Where is Mikel?,” Amaia Merino and Miguel Angel Llamas

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