‘Alcarràs’ wins Berlin’s Golden Bear

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BERLIN, Feb 17, (AP): The Catalan family drama “Alcarràs” won the Golden Bear award for best movie at the Berlin International Film Festival on Wednesday. Director Carla Simón’s film was picked from a field of 18 by a seven-member jury under American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. He said the movie was honored “for its extraordinary performances, from the child actors to the actors in their 80s, for the ability to show the tenderness and comedy of family and struggle, and for the betrayal of our connection and dependence on the land around us.”

Carla Simon receives the Golden Bear for best film for her movie ‘Alcarras’ during the awarding ceremony at the International Film Festival Berlin ‘Berlinale’, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 16. (AP)

The film depicts a family that spends its summers picking peaches in an orchard in a village in Spain’s Catalonia region, but faces new owners who plan to replace the peach trees with solar panels. Meltem Kaptan took the best leading performance honor for the title role in German director Andreas Dresen’s “Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush.” She played the mother of a German-born Turkish man, Murat Kurnaz, who was held as a suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay for four years. He was released in 2006 and returned to Germany after a US federal judge found that evidence did not justify his detention and then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel intervened. French director Claire Denis was chosen as best director for her new film “Both Sides of the Blade,” starring Juliette Binoche. The grand jury prize went to the Korean movie “The Novelist’s Film,” directed by Hong Sangsoo. The Berlin event is the first of the year’s major European film festivals. It went ahead this year in a pared-down format designed to bring audiences back but reduce COVID-19 infection risks at the same time.

Meanwhile, recently consolidated TelevisaUnivision Inc. will launch a ViX streaming service that will offer more than 50,000 hours of Spanish-language entertainment, sports and news content in its first year, company officials said Wednesday ViX will include current programs from Mexican broadcaster Televisa and US broadcaster Univision, plus access to an extensive library. The service includes ViX, an ad-based product that will launch on March 31 with 100 channels and on-demand content as well as a subscription-based platform ViX+, with premium content that will include original productions. It is scheduled to launch in the second half of the year. “With the content and capabilities of the combined TelevisaUnivision, we are uniquely capable of delivering a groundbreaking streaming service to the nearly 600 million Spanish speakers around the world,” said Wade Davis, CEO of TelevisaUnivision, in a statement. ViX will be launched in the United States, Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. It takes its name from the VIX streaming service, acquired by TelevisaUnivision in 2021. It will be joined by PrendeTV and Blim TV, which will be incorporated into the new ViX platform in the coming months.

The streaming services were unveiled just weeks after the two broadcasters closed a deal to merge content and create TelevisaUnivision. “Our combined history gives us an incredible experience in reaching Spanish speaking audiences, and we will use these learnings to deliver a top-quality streaming service to hundreds of millions of Spanish-speakers around the world who want to see their diverse culture, language, interests and experiences represented and reflected onscreen authentically,” says Pierluigi Gazzolo, president and chief transformation officer of TelevisaUnivision. As part of the ViX presentation, TelevisaUnivision announced an alliance with Salma Hayek Pinault’s Ventanarosa Productions for a two-year preferential access agreement to produce films in Spanish. TelevisaUnivision previously announced its preferential access agreement with Eugenio Derbez and Ben Odell’s 3Pas Studios, as well as a new original documentary series produced by Selena Gómez. ViX+ will also bet heavily on soccer in Spanish, with more than 3,000 live matches per year, including world championships and leagues.

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