The festival-touring feature And Then We Danced by director Levan Akin received accolade at the Chicago International Film Festival, with the film about an emotional encounter of two male dancers joining winners of the 55th edition over the weekend.
Collecting the Audience Choice Award for Best International Feature, Akin's Cannes Directors' Fortnight Festival-premiered work also secured the principal prize in the Out-Look Competition of the Chicago event.
The two honours came in the same week both the film and its principal protagonist Levan Gelbakhiani were lauded at Spain's Valladolid International Film Festival, taking the Rainbow Spike and Best Actor Award respectively.
The #ChiFilmFest Audience Award for Best International Feature goes to @atwdfilm! https://t.co/yZLs9BgRd7 pic.twitter.com/c05PSaUrjL— Chicago Intl. Film Festival (@chifilmfest) October 29, 2019
And Then We Danced follows Merab, a young performer in a Georgian national dance company, develop intense attraction to newcomer Irakli. The former is "thrown into an emotional storm of both strong desire and jealousy for his new companion" (Carl International Film Festival), with the encounter between the two male performers unfolding in the conservative dance company.
In the words of the director, the feature is "an exploration on discovering and owning your own truth and channelling it through expression", with Akin labelling the work his "most personal film yet".
The Swedish-Georgian-French co-production casts Bachi Valishvili in the role of Irakli and was honoured at other events including the Sarajevo Film Festival.
It has also been selected by Sweden as the country's submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film at the next Oscars ceremony.
The Chicago Film Festival is a year-round event working to contribute to cultural landscape and local scene in the city. It was launched in the mid-1960s as an alternative to commercial cinema from the Hollywood and has since become an internationally recognised event.