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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Actor with Down Syndrome Wins Prize at San Sebastian Film Festival

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – Spanish actor Pablo Pineda became the first person with Down syndrome to win the Silver Shell award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where the Chinese movie “City of Life and Death” by Lu Chuan garnered the event’s top prize, the Golden Shell.

Spain’s Lola Dueñas was named Best Actress for “Yo, Tambien” (Me Too), in which she played opposite Pineda.

Against all predictions, Argentine moviemaker Juan Jose Campanella and his film “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (The Secret of Her Eyes), chosen by Argentina to compete in the Oscars, and the film’s leading actor Ricardo Darin went home empty-handed, since the Silver Shell for Best Director went to Javier Rebollo for the movie “La Mujer sin Piano” (The Woman with No Piano).

The Special Jury Prize, presided by French moviemaker Laurent Cantet, honored the French film “Le Refuge” by Francois Ozon.

Walking off with the FIPRESCI Prize, awarded by international movie critics, was the Spanish film “Los Condenados” (The Damned) by Isaki Lacuesta.

The jury, made up of Korean director Bong Joon-ho, Mexican actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Spanish actress Pilar Lopez de Ayala, British film and stage director John Madden, Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf and Portuguese actress Leonor Silveira, gave the prize for Best Photography to “City of Light and Death” and for Best Script to the Australian production “Blessed.”

The list of prizewinners in this 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival was not without its surprises, since most of the betting was behind Juan Jose Campanella and Ricardo Darin, director and star of “El Secreto de Sus Ojos,” to win the Golden Shell and Silver Shell awards.

For Best Actress it was finally Lola Dueñas who won out over another Spaniard, Carmen Machi, star of “La Mujer sin Piano,” and over others like Chiara Mastroianni, who headed the cast of Christophe Honore’s “Making Plans for Lena,” and Frances O’Connor and Miranda Otto from the chorus of the Australian film “Blessed” by Ana Kokkinos.

What is clear is the Spanish nature of these prizes, which also chose Javier Rebollo as Best Director and Isaki Lacuesta for the Critics’ Prize.

But if anything goes down in history from the edition that ends Saturday it is that from one day to the next the jury has launched Pablo Pineda internationally. At 35 he is now not only the first person with Down syndrome to get a university degree but also the first actor with a disability of this kind to win an international film prize.

The award was not well received by the accredited members of the press, most of whom booed the jury’s decision.

Among the parallel prizes, the public elected “Precious” by Lee Daniels, young people voted for the Turkish-German film “The Children of Diyarbakir” by Miraz Bezar, and Latin Horizons went to the Uruguayan picture “Gigante” by Adrian Biniez, with an honorable mention in this category for “Francia” by Israel Adrian Caetano.

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