“Cadavre Exquis,” (Stéphanie Lansaque, François Leroy, France)
A standout world premiere in international competition at August’s Locarno Festival, the Be for Film-sold “Genesis” hit Valladolid after scooping warm reviews, if ultimately no prize, at the Swiss Festival,  Variety describing it, following up “The Demons,” as “another rewardingly complex reflection on the emotional trials of youth.”
The Pilar Miró Award for best new director was won by Bulgarian Milko Lazarov’s “Aga,” his second feature, the portrait of an aging couple living out their last years and a way of life on the icy tundra.
OTHER PRIZES
MAIN COMPETITION
Valladolid’s Silver Spike was shared by German Thomas Stuber’s Berlin competition player “In the Aisles,” a drolly upbeat tribute to the transformative power of love, even among supermarket employees, and Desiree Akhavan’s “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” sold by Elle Driver, with star Chloe Moritz dispatched for religious gay conversion therapy after being caught in a same-sex tryst with her Prom Queen.
SILVER SPIKE FOR BEST PICTURE
Théodore Pellerin, “Genesis”
“In the Aisles,” (Thomas Stuber, Germany)
BEST FEATURE RUNNER UP
Some of that must be put down to the performance of Canada’s Théodore Pellerin, best actor at Valladolid, who delivers what Variety called “a lovely, twig-delicate performance” as 16-year-old Guillaume, a gay student at an all boys’ boarding school. In one of its three stories, “Genesis” depicts how his natural ebullience is gradually sapped by the reprobation of teachers and ostracism after he declares his love for his best friend and in front of his class.
BEST ACTRESS
BEST SHORT FILM
“Morir para contar,” Hernán Zin
Jamie Lang contributed to this report 
“Carmen & Lola,” (Arantxa Echevarría)
“Mi obra maestro,” (Gastón Duprat, Argentina)
YOUNG SEMINCI
BEST FEATURE
“Yommedine,” (A.B. Shawky, Egypt, U.S.A., Austria)
“Youth Unstoppable,” (Slater Jewell-Kemker, Canada)
WINNERS, 63RD VALLADOLID INTL. FILM FESTIVAL
Milko Lazarov, “Aga”
AUDIENCE AWARD
MEETING POINT SECTION
ARCOÍRIS SPIKE
BEST SPANISH SHORT FILM
“The Guilty,” (Gustav Möller, Denmark)” />
Halldóra Geirhardsdóttir, “Woman at War”
“Genesis,” (Philippe Lesage, Canada)
CASTILLA Y LEÓN IN SHORT AWARD
MADRID — Making good on the largely overlooked achievement of debut feature “The Demons,” Québécois Philippe Lesage’s “Genesis” swept the 63rd Valladolid Intl. Film Festival, winning its top Golden Spike, director and actor on Saturday.
GREEN SPIKE – BEST FILM
BLOGOS DE ORO AWARD
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” (Desiree Akhavan, U.S.A.)
BEST ACTOR
A portrait of one man’s crusade to help illegal immigrants get political asylum, “To the Four Winds,” from France’s Michel Toesca, won Valladolid’s Time in History section: “Dying To Tell,” from Hernán Zin (“Nacido en Gaza”), detailing the psychological toil of war reporters, topped Doc. España.
ARCOÍRIS SPIKE – SPECIAL MENTION FOR A SHORT
“The Fall of the American Empire,” (Denys Arcand, Canada)
AUDIENCE AWARD
FIPRESCI AWARD
BEST EUROPEAN SHORT FILM
“Yo imposible,” (Patricia Ortega, Venezuela)
'DUNIA AYASO' PRIZE
Matt Dillon, who plays Nolte’s son was in Valladolid to accept an Honorary Spike for his career. One of Spain’s top three or four festivals, and a bastion of auteur cinema, Valladolid closed its official section Friday with an out-of-competition sneak peek screening of a preliminary version of Til Schweiger’s “Honey in the Head,” still to totally finalize post-production, starring Nick Nolte as a grandfather suffering Alzheimer who is taken off by his 10-year-old daughter to Venice where he lived the love of his life with his wife. Initial local press reactions speak of a “brilliant” performance from Nolte.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” (Desiree Akhavan, U.S.A.) and “In the Aisles” (Thomas Stuber, Germany)
“Our New President,” (Maxim Pozdorovkin, U.S.A., Russia)
Halldóra Geirhardsdóttir won best actress for her performance as a modest eco-warrior in “Woman at War,” Icelandic Benedikt Erlingsson’s follow-up to “Of Horses and Men.”
“Everything in Far Away,” (Emanuel Parvu, Romania)
Gustav Möller , “The Guilty”
GREEN SPIKE – SPECIAL MENTION
BEST SHORT FILM
“The Return,” (Malene Choi, Denmark, South Korea)
“Love, Simon,” (Greg Berlanti, U.S.A)
PILAR MIRÓ AWARD, BEST NEW DIRECTOR
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Ángel caído,” Fran Parra
“To the Four Winds,” Michel Toesca
SILVER SPIKE FOR A SHORT FILM
SOCIOGRAPH AWARD
“A Land Imagined,” (Yeo Siew Hua, Singapore, France, Netherlands)
Valladolid’s main competition Audience Award, the prize many distributors are most interested in, went to “My Masterpiece,” an art world satire come buddy comedy marking the solo directorial debut of Argentina’s Gastón Duprat.
GOLDEN SPIKE FOR BEST PICTURE
“Drzenia,” (Dawid Bodzak, Poland)
“Cadavre Exquis,” (Stéphanie Lansaque, François Leroy, France)
“Aga” already closed this year’s Berlinale, as indeed “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” was a Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner. But given the huge challenge now of snagging theatrical openings for almost any arthouse film, anything, including extra awards at smaller but prestigious festivals, is useful if it allows sales agents to argue their case for a film’s continuing purchase.
YOUNG JURY PRIZE
'MIGUEL DELIBES' AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY
DOC. ESPAÑA BEST SPANISH DOCUMENTARY
Fresh of her best screenplay win at San Sebastian for “,” Iciar Bollaín received another Honorary Spike. Bayona, director of “The Orphanage,” “The Impossible” and “Jurassic World,” speaking to a packed audience. Another, a masterclass by J.A. Dillon’s visit was one highlight this year. One of the few still jobbing directors who made his first feature in the 1950s, and still going strong, Spain’s Carlos Saura, visited Valladolid to present “Renzo Piano, un arquitecto para Santander,” a docu-chronicle shot over five years recording the Pompidou Center architect’s construction of the Centro Botín in Northern Spain’s Santander.
“Aga,” (Milko Lazarov, Bulgaria, Germany, France)
“Silk Worms,” (Carlos Villafaina)
“A World Without Beasts,” (Emma Benestan, Adrian Lecouturier, France)
TIME IN HISTORY DOCUMENTARY SECTION
GOLDEN SPIKE FOR BEST SHORT FILM
“Prisoner of Society,” (Rati Tsiteladze, Georgia)
BEST FILM

Audiences who know Xavier Dolan’s flamboyant reputation as a filmmaker may be surprised to see his near-total transformation into the sullen, emotionally shut-down Jon. Australian online personality Troye Sivan offers the opposite perspective, playing bleached-blond Gary, who offers Jared tips on how to fake his way through the program (he also supplies the soundtrack with two heart-rending ballads, including the terrific original track “Revelation”). Despite his forlorn Charlie Brown-like face and confidence-lacking posture, Hedges looks perhaps the least gay of the group — which is itself an important statement, since communities like those in Arkansas still conflate homosexuality with effeminacy.
Do the parents, who send their queer and questioning kids to be “cured” of their same-sex attractions? Do the young people who are brainwashed into denying the urges they believe to be sinful? The answer, at least according to Joel Edgerton’s earnestly anti-heteronormative drama “Boy Erased,” appears to be that only the charlatans who run such camps seem to thrive, while everyone else winds up hating themselves. Does God? Who benefits from gay conversion therapy?
Jared’s dad, Marshall, is a Baptist preacher (he also owns a local Ford dealership) who loves to remind his congregation that they are all imperfect people and that only faith can make them whole. One would never guess from the expression on Jared’s face during that sermon what kind of secret shame he might be hiding — in fact, the movie is oddly withholding when it comes to acknowledging him as a sexual being, as if doing so might be manipulative or exploitative: Its lone sex scene features a horrific encounter with a college crush (Joe Alwyn), who brutally rapes Jared, then calls his parents to out him.
The trouble with such films — really, with any story set in a rigidly conservative institution, be it a mental hospital (“David & Lisa”), boarding school (“Dead Poets Society”), boot camp (the first half of “Full Metal Jacket”), or conversion program (“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”) — is that they inevitably feel like prison movies, falling back on reductive tropes (like the idea that the authority figures are hypocrites) to make the case that the only solution is to break out. It’s a standard cliché, for instance, that someone winds up being pushed to suicide, thereby serving as a wake-up call to outsiders that there’s a problem. The only question here is who that victim will be.
Edgerton, who is Australian, enlists two of the country’s top actors, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, to play a pair of devout Arkansas parents whose faith is challenged when they discover that their son Jared (“Manchester by the Sea” co-star Lucas Hedges) may be gay. “Boy Erased” is true to that turmoil, telling the story from Jared’s point of view while also treating his parents’ convictions as valid — in their own minds, at least. Jared himself doesn’t know, which is perhaps the most honest thing the film depicts, dramatizing the way someone raised in a conservative religious community wants nothing more than to be “normal,” frightened by his attraction to other boys and desperate to “fix” whatever is wrong with him.
Edgerton never goes as far as “Cameron Post” did in ridiculing gay conversion therapy, intuiting that even a relatively restrained portrayal will make audiences’ blood boil, while a more snide or disrespectful approach might alienate those who believe in such methods. The ultimate goal of Edgerton and his creative collaborators may be to put an end to conversion therapy (end-credits statistics suggest that 700,000 young people have undergone such programs), but that will only happen if concerned parents can be convinced that it does more harm than good — which is why a pair of third-act scenes between Jared and each of his parents have such a powerful impact (bring a hankie).
Since I came out, we have come to an arrangement: I never talk about my private life, and he never asks — which means, for nearly the last 20 years, he hasn’t really known me. That’s what it means to be a boy erased.” /> For Garrard Conley, whose memoir inspired Edgerton’s film, sharing his story was the key to repairing things with his parents. So often, parents view this news as a reflection on themselves, searching to understand their own failings, or else looking for a way to repair the problem. If “Cameron Post” served as a useful tool for teenagers, “Boy Erased” feels like its greatest value will be to parents, particularly those with LGBT children of their own. There is for me: My father also lives in Arkansas. Maybe there’s a lesson in there for us.
But Edgerton takes a different, more respectful tone to the subject, not outright ridiculing those who believe that homosexuality is a choice, but preaching to the converted all the same — where the “converted” in this case aren’t so-called “ex-gays,” but those who’ve come around to the realization that maybe Christians could stand to evolve as well. “Boy Erased” isn’t the first film to share an insider’s perspective of how these camps operate. It’s not even the first film this year: An empowering, female-driven look at such a facility, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” won the dramatic competition at Sundance.
Real life is more complicated than that, and Edgerton shows an admirable sense of restraint, even when hitting all the usual beats. He includes moments of quiet introspection for the characters and the audience alike, staring at the back of Jared’s head as he presumably tries to pray the gay away (although the movie never answers whether he’s able to reconcile his sexuality with his faith, or else is forced to leave the church ito live his truth). Sykes needn’t be depicted as a villain for his methods to be deemed harmful, and it’s actually more interesting if some of Jared’s camp mates believe in the program. The film might have been stronger if it had given some of the other teens a chance to express their views.
Marshall is more proactive, calling two church leaders to advise him on what to do. When his mom, Nancy, hears the news, a single tear slides down her cheek, and she retreats to her room, where no one will see her mascara run. Following their advice, he confronts Jared directly, asking the boy whether he sincerely wants to change and then sending him to conversion camp, a place run by self-anointed therapist Victor Sykes (Edgerton) and a group of men who, we are led to believe, have “overcome” their homosexuality through sheer willpower — plus Flea as an aggressively homophobic drill sergeant type who coaches them on masculinity.