Cannes 2012: ‘Aqui y Alla’ Wins Critics Week Prize

Antonio Mendez Esparza's "Aqui y alla" has won the Grand Prize in the festival's Critics Week section

Antonio Mendez Esparza's "Aqui y alla" has won the Grand Prize in the Critics Week section, which takes place simultaneously with the Cannes Film Festival. Organized by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, Critics Week is devoted to the up-and-coming directors' first and second films.

Aqui y alla"Aqui y alla" (left) centers on a man who returns to his village after years of working in the United States; according to the film's website, it is "a story about hope, and the memories and loss of what we leave behind."

Three of the other six features included in Critics Week also won awards. "Sofia's Last Ambulance," a documentary from Bulgarian director Ilian Metev, won the Visionary Prize. "Les Voisins de Dieu" ("God's Neighbors") and "Los Salvajes" ("The Wild Ones") were honored by Gaul's Society of Authors, Directors and Composers and ACID/CCAS, respectively.

Last year, Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter" won the Critics Week prize, and went on to receive acclaim in its U.S. release by Sony Pictures Classics.

Now in its 51st year, Critics Week is the oldest section that runs concurrently with the Cannes Film Festival. It screens seven features and seven shorts each year, and has showcased early work from such filmmakers as Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach and Jacques Audiard.

Feature film prizes:
Nespresso Grand Prize: "Aqui y alla," Antonio Mendez Esparza
France 4 Visionary Award: "Sofia's Last Ambulance," Ilian Metev
Gaul's Society of Authors, Directors and Composers Prize: "Les Voisins de Dieu" ("God's Neighbors"), Meni Yaesh
ACID/CCAS Distribution Support: "Los Salvajes" ("The Wild Ones") Alejandro Fadel

Short film prizes:
Canal+ Award: "Circle Line," Shin Suwon
Nikon Discovery Award: "Un Dimanche Matin" ("A Sunday Morning"), Damien Manivel
Special Mention: "O Duplo" ("Doppelganger"), Juliana Rojas