By Mindy Burrows
CANNES (Reuters) – Filmmakers have to wait until Saturday to find out who won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prizes, but for some, the greatest honours were handed out on Friday at the annual Palm Dog awards.
Competition was tough this year. Founder Toby Rose said there was a “veritable tsunami of dog performances,” but one dog stood out: Messi from Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall”.
Messi played Snoop, a role which the jury said required a range of skills and emotions from its doggie actor, making the border collie a worthy winner of the main Palm Dog prize.
Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s movie “Fallen Leaves” was awarded the Palm Dog’s Grand Jury Prize, an accolade that the film’s stars said easily beats winning a Palme d’Or.
“It’s probably the greatest award ever, so we are truly, truly overwhelmed,” said Jussi Vatanen, who stars alongside Alma Poysti in the tragicomedy about a budding romance.
Poysti told Reuters her canine co-star, also called Alma, was a very disciplined and fun colleague.
The Palm Dog awards have honoured the top dogs on screen since 2001, with categories added this year including Mutt Moment and Highly Commended Canine.
This year a special prize was also given to 11-year-old Evie, an official festival sniffer dog, who marks her final year of service before retirement.
The unofficial awards show is now in its 22nd year.
Past winners include Brandy, a pit bull belonging to Brad Pitt’s character in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Tilda Swinton’s spaniels, who co-starred with her in a film directed by Joanna Hogg.
(Reporting by Mindy Burrows; Writing by Miranda Murray and David Gregorio)