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Director from the Philippines bags top prize at Locarno, dedicates it to father

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NEW DELHI: Filipino director Lav Diaz?s five-and-a-half-hour epic ?From What is Before Mula? received the top prize at the 67th Locarno Film Festival.

The 338-minute black-and-white film, about life in a rural village two years before the government declared martial law in 1972, won the Golden Leopard for best film. The award comes with a cash prize of $ 99,700 which will be shared equally between Diaz and his producer.

The film, which has the Filipino title ?Mula sa kung ano ang noon?, also picked up the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, the Environment is Quality of Life Prize, and the International Federation of Film Societies? (IFFS) Don Quixote Prize.

The film also won the top prize at the World Premiere Film Festival in Manila last month.

Alex Ross Perry's ?Listen Up Philip? won the Special Jury Prize, Portugal's Pedro Costa won the Best Director Leopard for ?Cavalo Dinheiro ?and Brazil's ?August Winds? received a special mention.

The international competition jury was headed by Italy's Gianfranco Rosi and also included Chinese director Diao Yi'nan, filmmaker Thomas Arslan, as well as actresses Alice Braga and Connie Nielson. Diaz was the president of last year's international competition jury in Locarno.

The two other Asian winners in this year's festival were both in the Best First Feature section. ?Songs from the North?, a documentary by the South Korean filmmaker Yoo Soon-mi won the Leopard for the Best First Feature.  France-based Japanese filmmaker Sawada Masa also received a special mention for ?I, Kamikaze?.

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