The Black Guelpha powerful, if bleak, look at the plight of the Irish Travellers, Ireland’s indigenous ethnic population, and the legacy of generations of neglect and abuse by the Irish state and Catholic Church, has won the German Independence Award for best film at the 2022 Oldenburg International Film Festival, Germany’s leading indie film fest.
The film’s star, Graham Earley, also won Oldenburg’s best actor honor, the Seymour Cassel Award. Earley stars as Kanto, a small-time drug dealer trying to get off the streets of Dublin and reconnect with his mother of his young daughter, who is caught short by a visit from his long-absent father Cormac (Barry John Kinsella), an abuse survivor who returns home looking for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Best actress honors went to Cyndie Lundy for her starring performance as a pregnant woman who tries to escape the 1937 Haitian massacre in José María Cabral’s Parsley.
Oldenburg’s Spirit of Cinema Award went to Tulegenov Darkhan’s Kazakh crime drama Brotherswith an honorary mention for Our Father, The Devil from director Ellie Foumbi, a thriller in which an African refugee in France recognizes a charismatic Catholic priest as the warlord who slaughtered her family.
Baatar Batsukh’s Mongolian horror film Aberrance won the festival’s Audacity Award, given to a film that breaks new ground artistically. Samuel Bereuther’s evocatively named Jockstrap Jesus took the German Independence Award for best short film, with a special mention for Kalani Gacon’s The Sound of Dreaming.
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