Cast members of 'Pajaros de Verano' (Birds of passage) Colombian directors Ciro Guerra (2L) and Cristina Gallego (3L), Colombian actresses Natalia Reyes (2L) and Carmina Martinez (2L) and actors Jhon Narvaez, Jose Acosta and Jose Vicente Cotes arrive on May 11, 2018 for the screening of the film 'Ash is Purest White (Jiang hu er nv)' at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (AFP/Loic Venance)
The Colombian crime film Pajaros de Verano has won the prized Coral Award at the 40th edition of the popular Havana Film Festival.
The festival, which in its heyday in the 1980s drew a half-million moviegoers but of late has struggled with reduced budgets, continues through Sunday, but prizes were awarded Friday night.
The winning Colombian film -- titled Birds of Passage in English -- was directed by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego.
Starring Carmina Martinez, Natalia Reyes and Jose Acosta, it has been selected to represent Colombia at next February's Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood.
Birds of Passage tells the story of the rise and fall of an indigenous Colombian family caught up in the risky bonanza of marijuana trafficking to the United States, which threatens the family's culture, traditions and very lives.
Most of the other top prizes in Havana went to Mexican, Uruguayan, Peruvian and Argentine films.
The best-director award went to Carlos Reygadas for Nuestro Tiempo (Our Time), while Carlos Sorin won for best screenwriting with Joel.
Ilse Salas got the nod for best female performance for Las ninas bien (The Good Girls), a Mexican film, while the best-male award went to Lorenzo Ferro for El Angel from Argentina.
The festival, a showcase of Latin American cinema which still brings thousands of moviegoers and gawkers to the streets and theaters of Havana, was headlined this year by Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro, Serbian director Emir Kusturica and American provocateur Michael Moore.