Panaji, Nov 30: Hailed for its "excellent originality" and "powerful storyline", Columbian adventure drama "Embrace of the Serpent" was today adjudged the best film at IFFI, which was attended by music maestro AR Rahman and other film personalities.
The film, directed by Ciro Guerra, is about the friendship between Amazonian shaman Karamakate and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.
The film's art director Ramses Benjumea accepted the award on behalf of the director and producer at the 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
"I thank IFFI. It has been a wonderful journey to bring the film all the way to India. Long life to good Columbian films and long live IFFI," Ramses said.
The only Indian name in the winner's list was that of Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly, who was given the inaugural ICFT UNESCO Fellini Medal for his movie "Cinemawala" about the sad state of single screen cinema halls in West Bengal.
The best director award went to Peter Greenaway for the film "Eisenstein in Guanajuato", about a Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein who travels to a new place and culture and is forced by the experiences he has there to question his assumptions about himself and Stalinist Russia.
Greeway, who is currently shooting his next film in Switzerland, send his message via the producer of the film. He said he was sad that he could not attend the award ceremony and would have loved to come and accept it by himself.
For his portrayal of a laid off factory worker Thierry Taogourdeau in the film "The Measure of a Man", Vincent Lindon was adjudged best actor.
The best actress trophy, however, was shared by the five female stars -- Gunes Sensoy, Doga Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan and Ilyada Akdogan -- of Turkish film "Mustang".
The jury, headed by Shekhar Kapur, were blown by their cumulative performance. Their trophy was accepted by counsel general of Turkey.
The Special Jury Award went to the Spanish film "Sealed Cargo" (Carga Sellada) directed by Julia Vargas. Director Goran Radovanovic's Serbian film "Enclave", based on the life of Kosovo Serbs in small isolated communities, got the special mention award.
Rahman, the chief guest at the ceremony, said films play an important role in uniting cultures all over the world.
"It is such a great honour. I have been fascinated by how IFFI is being conducted in Goa. The other day I was watching an interview of one director from Pakistan who said he had never had such a reception. Thank you for hosting so beautifully.
"As a big fan of cinema of around the world, I can say that a cinema theatre is a modern shrine of unity. I hope better things happen and more films are made to unite cultures," Rahman said while addressing the gathering.