Winter Vacation secures Golden Leopard

Winter Vacation - 寒假Awards News

Li Hongqi's (李紅旗) Winter Vacation (寒假) has secured the Golden Leopard, the top prize at the Locarno film festival (4-14 Aug).

Set in a village in northern China, the film explores the aimlessness of four adolescents on the last day of winter vacation. Li previously directed So Much Rice (好多大米, 2005) and Routine Holiday (黃金周, 2008).

It is the second year in a row that a Chinese film director has secured the Golden Leopard. Last year, She, a Chinese (中國姑娘) by London-based Guo Xiaolu (郭曉櫓) won. Both directors are novelists-turned-filmmakers.

The win is in a year in which Locarno reduced the number of Asian films it screened, with just two Asian titles - both Chinese - in competition. The festival cancelled its NETPAC jury in late June, in retrospect an early indicator that the festival would be light on Asian films this year.

The other Chinese film in competition, Xu Xin's (徐辛) 356-minute black-and-white documentary Karamay (克拉瑪依) won first prize in the Junior Jury Awards. It explores the aftermath of a theatre fire in Xinjiang province that killed 323 people in 1994.