Marbella International Film Festival Awards

Tawanda Auston accepted her Best Actress Award from Giles Brown Credit: GRP/EWN

As the Spanish sun set on Sunday October 8, it cast a warm glow over the Melia Banus Hotel where the 18th Marbella International Film Festival came to a close with the 2023 awards ceremony.

After five days of film premieres, networking occasions and entertaining after parties, this highly anticipated event was the culmination of hard work and many hours of traveling for the hopeful nominees.

At the entrance a young lady covered in flowers and adorned with glasses of champagne welcomed guests, setting the tone perfectly for this classy and luxurious evening.

Offering a welcome drink

Mac Chakaveh, the festival’s director, appeared looking distinctly dapper and remarked at the excellent quality of the films received this year. “It makes it hard to choose, we have had over five hundred films”, he told Euro Weekly News.

“This is our most successful year yet; we were sold out three months ago. We have people here from all over the world; China, America, the UK, Germany. Everyone is loving it.”

Mac Chakaveh MIFF Director

Next down the red carpet was the glittering and glamorous Madeleine Anna Malmberg, the current Miss International Norway, accompanied by the team of Pure Nordic Water – the event’s sponsor.

The term ‘dressed to impress’ comes to mind, as one cannot help but be awestruck by the sequins, suits and shiny shoes donned by all.

An impressive dance performance took place before attendees were escorted to the area for the main event.

The talented dancers continue to perform and as gourmet food was served, passionate directors, inspired writers and ambitious actors could be heard conversing in many languages, taking selfies and swapping compliments, buzzing with excitement as they awaited announcement of the awards.

The music faded and the voices fell silent, as compère, Giles Brown took to the stage.

The Euro Weekly News reporter present at the event, Jennifer Rose Popplewell caught up with Giles earlier on in the evening when he happily told her that “once again it is wonderful to see independent filmmakers around the world gather here in Marbella for this event.”

With a grin on his face, he opened the ceremony with a joke, before welcoming all present and although a minor technical difficulty temporarily delayed the ceremony, the quick wit and comedic talent of Mr Brown distracted the audience long enough to see it fixed discreetly and all continued smoothly.

Best Shorter Short

The first award of ‘Best Shorter Short’ saw ‘Annie Pannie’ as the winner! Director Deanna Dewey seemed shocked and beamed with pride into the camera.

EWN spoke to her beforehand and she revealed that the script had actually taken second place in a competition she was judging and as only first place got produced Deanna decided to take ‘Annie Pannie’ on herself as she loved it so much. Great move there Ms Dewey!

Deanna Dewey and Terry Wookey

Best Short

Following that, ‘Best Short’ was the war film ‘Dragunov’. Director, writer and actor Robin Kirwan humbly stated that he was “not a director, just an actor that is fed up of getting awful scripts so decided to write something that I actually want to act in.” Fair enough!

Robin Kirwan receiving his ‘Best Short’ award

Best Documentary

‘Best Documentary’ was next and ‘Women and Roads: way to yourself. Mallorca’ took first place.

Two very excited directors, Kristina Kretova and Anna Kameneva, bounded up to collect their award, throwing their arms in the air and expressing that “friendship, creativity and hope” is their message.

Best Actress

‘Best Actress’ was won by Tawanda Auston for her role as Jessica Wright in ‘Release.’ “It’s such a shock, I can’t believe I’ve done it,” she gushed in a sweet American accent.

Best Actor

‘Best Actor’ was Sammy Sheik for his role as Gamel Sadek in ‘I Am Gitmo’ but he was not in attendance.

Best Director

‘Best Director’ was awarded to Nick Nevern for ‘Rise Of The Footsoldier: Vengeance’. He shouted “COME ON” as he exited the stage to the sound of a roaring applause from his table.

Best Film

A double win for this film as it also took home ‘Best Film’.

Producer Andrew Loveday, who had actually, stated to Euro Weekly News earlier how confident he was, accepted and announced the making of a further sequel that will be filmed here in Marbella next year. Vamos!

Andrew Loveday, Kirsty J Curtis, Nick Nevern from Rise Of The Footsoldier_ Vengeance

Giles concludes this year’s MIFF with a “see you next soon” to all and the music began.

Dancing commenced to the classic song ‘Burn Baby Burn’, which seems quite appropriate as after all this hard work one could imagine there may have been a little burnout.

What a night! Congratulations to all.

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