The Trieste Film Festival’s 34th Edition Awarded Films

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SCENES WITH MY FATHER, Photo credits Trieste Film Festival
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by InTrieste

The Trieste Award assigned by the jury (Weronika Czołnowska, Beatrice Fiorentino, Stefan Ivančić) to the best feature film in competition (euros 5.000) goes to SONNE by KURDWIN AYUB  (Austria, 2022) with the following motivation: for transporting us with overwhelming energy into a vortex suspended between respect for traditions and a desire for modernity. For questioning, rather than providing answers, for avoiding judgment and privileging understanding. For investigating without dogma and using the language of the present. Questions, still unresolved at their roots, of religion and identity of the new generations of migratory flows, through the eyes of three young women in search of their place in the world.

The jury also awarded two special mentions to:

SAFE PLACE by JURAJ LEROTIĆ (Croatia, 2022) for having shared with us an emotionally exhausting, visually stunning and deeply personal journey that confronts us face-to-face with death, the biggest of the human fears.

BLACK STONE by SPIROS JACOVIDES  (Greece, 2022) for the film in which the debut director piles up endless comic situations and gags using absurd humour and mockumentary style, strengthened by the intense central performance, to finally add an unexpected poignant twist which brings us the universal story of love and acceptance. 

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The Alpe Adria Cinema Award assigned by the jury (Rok Biček, Freddy Olsson, Julia Sinkevych) to the best documentary film in competition  (euro 2.500) goes to SCENES WITH MY FATHER by BISERKA ŠURAN (Netherlands, 2022) with the following motivation: A father and daughter are born into opposing political systems – something that they use silence to deal with. Now it’s time to break that silence and bring everything to the surface… A magnificent, empty factory is transformed into a stage on which the story of exploring the mind and the world from East to West is told. Biserka Šuran’s SCENES WITH MY FATHER is a cinematographic pearl telling the story of a migrant family in modern-day Europe. 

The jury also awarded a special mention to FRAGILE MEMORY by IHOR IVAN’KO (Ukraine-Slovakia, 2022) with the following motivation: the attempt to record memories of his grandfather, renowned cinematographer Leonid Burlaka, before they disappear, comes with a sincere sadness when addressing his grandfather’s battle with dementia, while the most valuable part of this documentary debut represented through old photo negatives, their state of deterioration reflecting the elusive nature of memory. 

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The TSFF Shorts Award offered by Osiride Brovedani Foundation assigned by the jury (Doris Bauer, Bernd Buder, Giampiero Raganelli) to the best short film in competition  (euro 2.000) goes to PLIMA by EVA VIDAN (Croatia, United States, 2022) with the following motivation: a delicate tale told through the eyes of a child, of a female pre-modern society, where the women, across all generations, rule their domestic setup – an ancient Mediterranean village, where the seawater has purifying, ethereal powers. The film touches on a fundamental moment in our lives – the childlike realization of the brevity of life, which in this case is also an awareness of the end of a world, blighted by the chaos and meanness of modernity.

The jury also awarded two special mentions to:

WHERE NO SHIPS GO by VLAD BUZĂIANU (Romania, 2022) with the motivation: before the harsh reality sets in and we have to grow up with the protagonists, the film allows us to embark on an adventurous and imaginative boat trip by sea, through thunderous storms, splendid light and overcoming all waves 

SHEETS by EVI GJONI (Albania, 2022) for the tale of a family united in fear – of unknown diseases, of strangers, of a state in control of everything – until a phone call reveals a secret that should never have come to light. Our second Special Mention goes to a dystopian neo-totalitarianism parable that explores, in a Kafkaesque manner, the human limbo between being a follower and the will to survive – until the balance of pressure to conform and double standards begins to falter.

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The films in the three competitions were also “judged” by the public and their votes determined the winners of the  Audience Awards:

Best feature film: BLACK STONE by SPIROS JACOVIDES (Greece, 2022)

Best documentary film: THE HAMLET SYNDROME by ELWIRA NIEWIERA, PIOTR ROSOŁOWSKI (Poland, Germany, 2022) 

Best short film: ex aequo NOT TOMORROW by AMERISSA BASTA (Greece, France, 2022) and SHEETS by EVI GJONI (Albania, 2022) 

Below is a list of the other prizes awarded.

The CEI (Central European Initiative) Award to the film that best interprets contemporary reality and dialogue between cultures  (euro 3.000) goes to LOVE IS NOT AN ORANGE by OTILIA BABARA (Belgium, Netherlands, Moldova, France, 2022) with the following motivation: Oranges, chocolates, jeans and plastic dolls arrived in Moldova thanks to all those women who, in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, left the country to come and work in Italy and abroad. In return, their sons sent them video letters. In LOVE IS NOT AN ORANGE, Otilia Babara carefully and delicately collects private and intimate material, restoring the portrait of a generation of mothers and children forced into love at a distance. And in doing so, she also restores the portrait of a post-Soviet country in which it was women who unwittingly made the transition from communism to capitalism.

The Corso Salani Award 2023 (eur 2.000), assigned by the jury  (Ilaria Feole, Gregorio Paonessa, Cristina Piccino) to the best film of the section goes to IL CERCHIO by SOPHIE CHIARELLO (Italy, 2022) for the courage and determination involved in a long-term film project capable of lowering its gaze to the mercy of its young protagonists, and for its ability to face unforeseen events by re-inventing its direction accordingly throughout the process of filming.

The Eastern Star Awards 2023 which awards a personality from the world of cinema whose work has contributed, just like the Trieste Film Festival, to building a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, goes to KRZYSZTOF ZANUSSI. Another special non-cinematic Eastern Star Award goes to ZDENÊK ZEMAN.

The Cinema Warrior Award  2023 which awards the courage, the sacrifice and madness of those ‘warriors’ – be they individuals, associations or festivals – who work (or rather: fight) behind the scenes for Cinema, goes to FUORI ORARIO.

The Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa Award to the best documentary film in competition goes to THE HAMLET SYNDROME by ELWIRA NIEWIERA, PIOTR ROSOŁOWSKI (Poland, Germany, 2022) Because it provides a profound reflection on the issue of choosing how to reconcile the individual and the collective perspective when the existence of both is threatened. Because it investigates the dilemma of how defending your country might become necessary in order to defend your freedom to choose. Because it places art at the centre as an instrument of denunciation but also as a mechanism of overcoming trauma and a meeting place between different identities. Because, while drawing a powerful portrait of a generation that has just gone through the horrors of war, it brings us tragically closer to what they are experiencing today.

The Cineuropa Award to the best feature film in competition goes to BUTTERFLY VISION by MAKSYM NAKONECHNYI (Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Ukraine, 2022).  Cineuropa has selected this debut film for its form, for a direction that borrows from classic and contemporary cinema, multiplying viewing angles with traditional cameras, drones, TV footage, social media. It recounts the catharsis of the modern woman, heroine of her own liberation, fugitive from victim status. A combatant traumatized by war who questions that which seems obvious to her.  A metaphor, if you will, for the self-determination of the Ukrainian people. We have chosen it for the touching modesty and obstinate stoicism of Rita Burkovska’s performance. This film on the one hand observes the social contradictions in Ukraine, and on the other studies the mechanisms of war used to destroy opponents with fear. Through the conflict in the Donbas – which has also been visited by many Russian films in recent years – this co-production between Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Sweden casts a sadly topical light on the situation since Russia’s invasion. A young filmmaker to keep an eye on, as they say.

The PAG Jury Award (Progetto Area Giovani of the Municipality of Trieste), awarded by a jury of young people aged between 18 and 35, representatives of youth associations, to the best short film in competition, goes to NOT TOMORROW by AMERISSA BASTA (Greece, France, 2022) with the following motivation: for the emotional construction of the characters, the completeness of the structure and the ability to narrate a complex development in the characteristic brevity of the short film. The jury also awarded a special mention to AIRHOSTESS 737 by Thanasis Neofotistos (Greece, 2022) for being an extremely engaging and emotionally expressive product.

The SNCCI Award to the best 2022 critics’ film goes to KHERS NIST by JAFAR PANAHI, while the best 2022 Italian critics’ film goes to SMALL BODY by LAURA SAMANI.

The Laser Film Award assigned by an international jury (Remi Bigot, Vincenzo Bugno, Wouter Jensen, Giancarlo Chettal) goes to the Croatia, Italy, Slovenia co-production FIUME O MORTE! by IGOR BEZINOVIĆ.

The HBO Europe Award assigned by an international jury (Martina Droandi, Tereza Keilová, Freddy Olsson) goes to A DAY, 365 HOURS, the Turkish/Croatian project by director Eylem Kaftan and producer Zeynep Koray (ZKF, Turkey and CAF, Turkey, Croatia).

Founded on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall (the “zero” edition dates back to 1987), the Trieste Film Festival – directed by Fabrizio Grosoli and Nicoletta Romeo – is the first and most important Italian event dedicated to Central and Eastern European cinema, which continues to be a privileged observatory on films and authors often little known – if not unknown – to Italian audiences, and more generally to “Western” audiences. More than a festival, it is a bridge that connects the different latitudes of European cinema, discovering in advance names and trends destined to impose themselves on the international scene.

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