Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown has won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (3-13 January). End of December, the film joined the shortlist for this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar; all nine shortlisted films were shown in Palm Springs. Past weekend, A.M.P.A.S. members in both New York and Los Angeles also had a final chance to attend screenings of the shortlisted films for the Foreign Language Oscar.

The Broken Circle BreakdownA special jury of international film critics reviewed 46 of the 76 official Foreign Language Oscar submissions screening at the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival and finally selected van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown. Juror Karsten Kastelan of The Hollywood Reporter described the intense drama as ‘a testament to the human spirit and how we can endure almost anything as long as there is even a sliver of hope or faith’.

Winning the FIPRESCI Prize comes at the right moment for director van Groeningen, as all nine Oscar-shortlisted Foreign Language films were screened one last time to A.M.P.A.S.-members in New York and Los Angeles past weekend. Thursday 16 January, the Academy is to reveal the five nominees in this category.

Besides winning the FIPRESCI Prize, The Broken Circle Breakdown showed itself one of the audience favourites in Palm Springs. With three sold out performances, an extra screening of the film was scheduled on Saturday.

Also selected for Palm Springs were Stijn Coninx’ Marina (prod: Eyeworks), based on the childhood of Italian-Belgian singer Rocco Granata. Jan Verheyen’s courtroom drama The Verdict (prod: Eyeworks) about how a man engages a fight with the constitutional state was equally present as was Marion Hänsel’s Tenderness (prod: Man’s Films) portraying a divorced couple who find themselves together again to go and get their son who’s had a skiing accident.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival entered its 25th year and is one of the most attended and prestigious festivals in the US. Each January, it screens more than 180 films and welcomes over 135,000 filmgoers. The festival has evolved into one of the most anticipated preludes to the Oscars. This year it welcomed international stars as a.o. Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Julia Robers and Steve McQueen.

The Broken Circle Breakdown is a production of Menuet (In Flanders Fields, Mont Blanc, The Misfortunates) and could count on the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege. Marina, The Verdict and Tenderness also received funding.

Published on Monday 13 January 2014