SEVILLE, Spain -- Jessica Hausner's "Lourdes" and Urszula Antoniak's "Nothing Personal," two rewardingly thoughtful works by budding femme auteurs, took the top Golden and Silver Giraldillo at a lively 6th Seville European Film Festival.
Energized by a parallel first Seville International Location Expo, a European Film Awards nomination gala and EFA, Eurimages and Arte sidebars, fest took another step toward becoming a mid-November hub for Europe's film industry.
The third film from Austria's Jessica Hausner ("Hotel"), "Lourdes" was the main competition front-runner. Turning on a wheelchair-confined young woman apparently cured while visiting Lourdes, pic plumbs "the ambiguity of miracle," Hausner said at Seville.
Set on Ireland's isolated coast, "Personal," from Holland's Urszula Antoniak, charts the growing intimacy of a young femme vagabond and a reclusive cottager.
Pic, about loneliness as a personal choice, Antoniak explained, played to warm applause at Seville.
Hausner and Antoniak's wins, plus a Competition lineup where women helmers outnumbered men, both underscore the fact that women are making a significant number of the more challenging films coming out of Europe.
Antoniak said at Seville that she had completed the screenplay for her second film, "The Code Blue," "a controversial subject, about a hospital nurse who kills her patients who appear to want to die," she said. "Blue" is set up at IDTV Film and Zentropa.
In other awards, a Nicolas Roeg-headed jury gave Brit Malcolm Venville's "44 Inch Chest" Seville's Special Jury Prize for an "energy driven movie quite startling acted by four wonderful performances."
Sci-fi dystopia pic "Transmission," from Hungary's Roland Vranik, won best director and Jacques Audiard's Cannes Grand Jury Prize-winner "A Prophet" scooped Seville's Audience Choice Award.
Of new films, Spaniard Edmon Roch's extraordinary-but-true "Garbo: The Man Who Saved the World" won best doc. Its tale of Juan Pujol -- code-name Garbo, a World War II British Intelligence double-agent who duped German military intelligence into believing the 1944 Allied invasion would hit Calais not Normandy -- was assumed by some of its Seville audience to be a mockumentary.
Another world preem, Norwegian Eva Dahr's "The Orange Girl" split opinions. The father-son first-love tale is set memorably in Norway's snowy mountains and a sunlit Seville.
Denmark-based Manwar Parwani's harrowing "When Heaven Falls," a domestic abuse story, played to an upbeat reactions.
Crowning a tribute to director Fernando Trueba, his latest film, Spanish Oscar candidate "The Dancer and the Thief," was received warmly by a mainly young audience. That augurs well for its Nov. 27 bow as the first commercial release of new Spanish indie distribution label Vertice Cine.
In documentaries, one standout, a work in progress in fest's Andalusia Panorama, was "Out of Cordoba," about Ibn Rush Averroes and Moses Maimonedes, two Cordoba-born and remarkably modern 12th century philosophers who argued for religious tolerance.
Erik Gandini's "Videocracy" was enthusiastically received. There was also a good buzz on Hannah Rothschild's "The Jazz Baroness."
Fest ran Nov. 6-14.
SEVILLE EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
"Lourdes," (Jessica Hausner, Austria-France-Germany)
"Nothing Personal," (Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands-Ireland)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD
"44 Inch Chest," (Malcolm Venville, U.K.)
Roland Vranik, ("Transmission," Hungary)
"Garbo, The Man Who Saved the World," (Edmon Roch, Spain)
"Tears of April" (Aku Louhimies, Finland-Germany-Greece)
"A Prophet" (Jacques Audiard, France)
JURY PREXY AWARD
Pipilotti Rist ("Pepperminta," Switzerland-Austria)
YOUTH JURY AWARD"Transmission"