The winners of Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival 2020

The winners of Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival have been announced. In an atypical and challenging year, the public returned in force to MOTELX, which took place with enhanced health and safety measures. The 14 th edition of Portugal’s leading genre Festival surpassed expectations, hosting over 20 sold out screenings.
Mata by Fábio Rebelo was named as the big winner of the MOTELX
Award for Best Portuguese Horror Short / Méliès d’argent 2020
at the Festival’s closing ceremony.

The story of a couple lost in a forest who reunite with horrific consequences, Mata is, in the words of a jury comprised of producer Pandora da Cunha Telles, director João Pedro Rodrigues and actor Margarida Vila-Nova, “a solid film that plays with the imaginary of fantasy literature, plunging us into a space where we have to face our fears”. “Brief and unassuming”, they add, “Mata reveals a promising young director”.

The jury further decided to award a Special Mention to André Carvalho’s The Great Parody, a “visceral film” in which a director falls asleep while watching TV and dreams about selling his soul in exchange for fame and glory. “Transgressing irony”, the short film stunned the jury with its “brutality” and its “touching courage, in the threshold of castration and self-representation”.

The MOTELX Award for Best Portuguese Horror Short Film/Méliès d’Argent gives the biggest money prize for shorts in Portugal, 5000€. Since its creation in 2009, over one hundred Portuguese horror short films have had their world premiere at the Festival, thus achieving one of MOTELX’s main objectives: to encourage the production of horror films in Portugal.
By winning the Award, Mata is automatically nominated for the Méliès d’or Award, given by the Méliès International Festivals Federation in a ceremony that will take place this October in Sitges, Spain.

In the international competition, Pelican Blood by Katrin Gebbe was awarded the MOTELX Award for Best European Horror Feature / Méliès d’argent 2020.

This recognition comes in a year that featured a record number of films directed by women. The second film by the German director (a co-production of Germany and Bulgaria) explores the agony of a mother who adopts a child with disturbing behavior. “A unanimous choice” by a jury comprised of writers Pedro Mexia and Filipe Homem Fonseca and actor Carla Galvão, who applaud “a film of permanent tension about maternal instincts and mental health, about loss and sacrifice, about evil as a protection – a film that makes an appeal to courage and perseverance against all logic and all hope”.

The Best European Horror Feature Award was given for the first time in 2016 and this year there were 7 films in competition. The jury highlighted the diversity of the selection: “geographical diversity, gender diversity (3 films directed by women and many stories in which women are not just victims but strong protagonists), diversity in styles and subgenres and diversity in the dialogue with contemporary cinema (with David Lynch’s labyrinths, with Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth, with Alien)”. Pelican Blood follows last year’s winner Why Don’t You Just Die! by Kirill Sokolov and is nominated for the Méliès d’or Award together with the winning short, Mata.

The 14th edition of MOTELX comes to a close tomorrow, 14 September, a day in which it will be possible to see Pelican Blood and repeat screenings of some of the Festival’s most popular films, as well as the documentary "Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street" and Jordan Peele’s instant classic "Get Out".
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