France's Theis wins top prize at Thessaloniki film festival

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Theis in Cannes in 2014 with 'Party Girl' co-directors Claire Burger and Marie Amachoukeli (AFP/BERTRAND LANGLOIS)
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"Softie" by French director Samuel Theis took the top prize at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival on Sunday.

Theis, 43, won the Golden Alexander and 10,000 euros ($11,450) for the gay coming-of-age story of an intelligent 10-year-old named Johnny (Aliona Reinert) set in eastern France.

Reinert won the best actor prize at the 62nd edition of the festival in Greece's second city.

Theis co-directed "Party Girl" with compatriots Claire Burger and Marie Amachoukeli, a film about and starring his mother Angelique Litzburger, which won Cannes' Camera d'Or prize in 2014.

The festival's Special Jury Award, or Silver Alexander, went to Costa Rican-Swedish director, Natalie Alvarez Mesen, for her feature film "Clara Sola".

Nearly two years into the Covid pandemic that forced many film industry events to go online, the Thessaloniki Film Festival combined in-person events with online ones.

Greece has seen a surge in cases and deaths, especially in the north, with authorities reporting 80 deaths on Sunday.

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