Cannes Directors’ Fortnight: Elena Martin’s ‘Creatura’ Wins Best European Film Prize

“Creatura,” the feature debut of Elena Martín, exploring female sexual desire and repression, has won this year’s 20th Europa Cinemas Cannes Label for best European Film at the 2022 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

Announced Thursday by Europa Cinemas, ahead of the closing ceremony this afternoon, the prize is one of two at Directors’ Fortnight, and awarded by one of the sidebar’s partners, given the section is non-competitive.  

A second partner plaudit, the SACD Prize, handed out by France’s Writers’ Guild, will be announced simultaneously to the Europa Cinemas Label. 

“Creature” hit Cannes will multiple tailwinds. Like last year’s Berlin Golden Bear winner “Alcarràs,” it’s made by an emerging woman director associated by the so-called Catalan New Wave of helmers and producers making films twinning a strong sense of place and universal issues. 

The second feature from 2021 Málaga best director Martín (“Júlia ist”) and a “Veneno” writer and “Perfect Life” director, “Creatura” follows Mila, 35, played by Martín, who moves back to her recently deceased grandmother’s house on a blowsy Costa Brava. The return sparks childhood memories and Mila’s each for an explanation for her current shame at sex.

Written with Clara Roquet (“Libertad”) and developed at San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak development program, “Creatura” is produced by Catalonia’s Vilaüt Films and Lastor Media, and “Alcarràs” backers Avalon and Elástica Films, and S/B Films in the U.S. Producers are Ariadna Dot, Marta Cruãnas, Tono Folguera, Maria Zamora, Stefan Schmitz, Emilia Fort, Ella Bishop, Pau Suris and Jake Cheetham. International sales are handled by Paris-based Luxbox. 

Cast includes Elena Martín (Mila), Clàudia Dalmau (Mila), Clàudia Borràs (Mila), Oriol Pla (Marcel), Alex Brendemühl (Gerard), Clara Segura (Diana), Marc Cartanyà (Gerard) and Carla Linares (Diana).

“Elena Martin’s ‘Creature’is a really well written and impressive portrayal of a woman as she tries to come to terms with her sexuality and intimacy, while reflecting on her childhood and teenage experiences. This is a subject that has been covered before, but each character is so multi-layered and believable that the film is easy to relate to – both the female and the male characters,” the Europa Cinemas Network jury said.

It added: “There are challenging moments but there is humor too. It is dynamic and beautifully shot. We are sure that this is a film that will touch people all around Europe, and we welcome the opportunity of encouraging the career of a very talented director, writer and actress.”

Created at the 2003 Directors’ Fortnight, the Label’s juries are made up of managers of theaters belonging to the Europa Cinemas Network. Label movies receive incentives for their promotion. Europa Cinemas exhibitors are also encouraged to extend Label-winning titles’ run at their theaters.

The Cannes Europa Cinemas Label jury this year comprised Laurent Callonnec (Cinéma l’Ecran, Saint-Denis, France), Sofie Mercier (Sphinx Cinema, Ghent, Belgium),  Viviane Thill (Ciné Starlight, Dudelange, Luxembourg) and Justė Vyšniauskaitė (Kaunas cinema centre Romuva, Kaunas, Lithuania).

The Label is also awarded at Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary and Locarno. Recipients of the Label honoured at Cannes in the past include: Last year’s “One Fine Morning,” “A Ciambra,” “Mustang,” “12:08 East of Bucharest,” “La Pivellina,” “Le Quattro Volte,” “The Repentant,” “The Selfish Giant,” “Les Combattants,” “Mercenaire” and “Alice et le Maire” and “A Chiara” in 2021.

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