The 23rd edition of the Trieste Science+Fiction Festival, the main Italian event dedicated to science fiction held at the Rossetti, the Teatro Miela and the DoubleTree by Hilton Trieste, ended with the awards ceremony at the Politeama Rossetti on Wednesday 1 November.
Organized by the cinematographic and audiovisual research and experimentation center La Cappella Underground, once again in 2023 the festival brought the best fantasy genre productions to the big screen, with over 50 world, international and national film premieres and three competitions in the presence of directors, actors and authors from all over the world. The 2023 edition saw the participation of over 10,000 spectators who attended the scheduled screenings and conferences, confirming the success of the Italian festival which every year brings the best of world science fiction to the big screen.
“I am thrilled and happy to announce that this anniversary of the Trieste Science + Fiction Festival has marked a record in terms of number of films screened, audience participation and increase in ticket sales” – declared director Alan Jones – “An absolutely fantastic to conclude this edition, celebrating with the knowledge of having offered a wide choice of entertainment, while the great events that took place throughout the city attracted unanimous approval. The awarded films could not better reflect the state of health of the contemporary science fiction. We are already preparing for the 2024 edition, which will be even more surprising and will lead us to explore the “megafuture”.
THE WINNERS OF THE TRIESTE SCIENCE+FICTION FESTIVAL 2023
The Asteroide Award elects the best science fiction, horror and fantasy film reserved for first, second or third works by emerging directors, grouped in the Neon section of the festival. The prize was awarded by an international jury composed of the cartoonist Doctor Pira, the film critic, author and musician Mark Kermode and the production manager and programmer of the MOTELX festival in Lisbon Sara Lopo.
Winner of the TS+FF 2023 Asteroid Award “MARS EXPRESS” by Jérémie Périn (France, 2023)
MotivationA film with surprising images and elegant animations, whose style does not limit the narrative to one genre, and which addresses current topics such as the evolution of humanity and the use of artificial intelligence, without expressing judgements.
In the near future, private detective Aline Ruby and her android partner are hired by a rich businessman to track down a well-known hacker. They thus descend into the slums of the capital of the planet Mars, where they discover a shady ring of brain farms and corruption. A missing girl seems to be hiding a secret about robots that threatens to change the face of the universe. Blending 2D and 3D animation, this stylish, intelligent and futuristic film noir is an adrenaline-filled cinematic adventure, enhanced by humor and breathtaking action sequences.
Méliès d’argent Award – Feature Films
The competition is organized in collaboration with the Méliès International Festivals Federation (MIFF) and is reserved for European-produced fantasy genre feature films. The 2023 Jury of the Méliès d’argent award is made up of Hedda Archbold, producer, agent and managing director of the HLA agency, Paul Sophocli, sales executive for Lionsgate and Linda Ruth Williams, film professor at the University of Exeter
Winner of the Méliès d’argent Award – Feature Films TS+FF 2023
“THE LAST SPARK OF HOPE” by Piotr Biedroń (Poland, 2023)
The jury’s decision on the winning film was unanimous. It kept us on our toes throughout the entire viewing. We loved the warmth and humanity of the relationships between the main characters. It pushed us to reflect on the challenges we face: the climate and environmental crisis, the specter of a global pandemic, the refugee crisis, the cruelty of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy and the way the complexity of Artificial Intelligence affects us everyone. Despite all this, the film is moving and, what’s more, incredibly funny, finding the comic element even in desperation. It is, essentially, a film about hope. Written and directed by Piotr Bedroń with visual mastery and sensitivity, beautifully photographed by Tomasz Wojcik, elegantly edited by Marceli Majer, and admirably acted by protagonists Magdalena Wieczorek and Jacek Beler.
After the end of the climate wars, there is probably only one person left on Earth, Ewa. He lives together with the robot Arthur, whose job is to monitor the borders of the camp. One day, Ewa leaves those confines and upon her return she makes a mistake with the password. Although the robot knows Ewa, it does not let her in, leaving her confined to a tiny area of the camp. Filmed in a single location, on a set built only with scrap, the first Polish post-apocalyptic film shows us a world devastated by climate change, questioning the limits between humans and artificial intelligences.
Méliès d’argent Award – Short Films The competition is organized in collaboration with the Méliès International Festivals Federation (MIFF) and is reserved for short films of the fantasy genre produced in Europe. The prize is awarded to the short film that receives the highest number of votes from the public.
Winner of the Méliès d’argent Award – Short Films TS+FF2023
“WHAT-IF-I” by Lavinia Tommasoli, Pietro Traversa (Italy, 2023)
What-if-I: an app that allows you to see what your life would be like today if you had made a different choice yesterday. An entertainment for some, an app of regret for many.
Wonderland Award – Rai4
RAI4, media partner of Trieste Science+Fiction Festival 2023, awards the Wonderland Award to the best film of the 23rd edition.
Winner of the Wonderland Award – Rai4 TS+FF 2023
“MARS EXPRESS” by Jérémie Périn (France, 2023)
For the surprising tale of an imaginative possible future, with a masterly Chandlerian plot, full of amazing action scenes and many small details that testify to the depth of an oblique gaze, capable of going beyond the rules of the mainstream. For having been able to combine entertainment and authorship, philosophical reflection and action, in an extraordinary and elegant visual package.
SNCCI Italian Critics Award – National Union of Italian Film Critics
Prize reserved for first works and assigned by a jury made up of three critics from the National Union of Italian Film Critics: Enrico Azzano, Marco Romagna and Silvana Silvestri.
Winner of the Italian Critics Award SNCCI TS+FF2023 “MARS EXPRESS” by Jérémie Périn (France, 2023)
For the very high production quality, for the ability to entertain by intertwining different genres between science fiction and noir, but above all for the ability to know how to immerse ourselves in a future populated by artificial intelligences, preferring to definitive answers a series of dilemmas already at the center of our company.
Event Horizon Award – INAF
Recognition with which the National Institute of Astrophysics rewards the feature film of the festival that best addresses particularly relevant and innovative themes in the field of science with cinematic effectiveness and engaging narrative devices.
Event Horizon Award Winner – INAF TS+FF2023 “RESTORE POINT” by Robert Hloz (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, 2023)
For having been able to deal with particularly relevant and timeless themes in the scientific and social fields with particular cinematic effectiveness and innovation. The cyberpunk narrative structure, which echoes Philip Dick in his Blade Runner and Total Recall, with some notes of Soylent Green and Frankenstein, delicately touches on topics that man has always dealt with: the passage from life to death, second chances and the meaning of life – which cannot be reduced to the contents of a hard drive. Utopian ideals are confronted with a dark and dystopian social scenario, creating an engaging juxtaposition. All of this, packaged with elegant and functional visual effects. Restore Point is a cinematic jewel in which brutalist architecture transforms Prague into a metropolis of the future and the curves of the buildings recall the turning points in Detective Trochinowska’s investigations.
Prague 2041. Every citizen has the constitutional right to live a full life. In the event of an unnatural death, the person is brought back to life through the innovative “Restore Point” technology, which only works if a backup of the brain memory is created every 48 hours. Murder is not contemplated. But detective Emma Trochinowska is tasked with a horrific multiple murder case after the recovery team manages to bring only one of the two victims back to life. Director Robert Hloz’s debut film is a neo Blade Runner in the wake of the “future socialism” genre that is raging in contemporary Czech cinema.
CineLab Spazio Corto Award
Reserved for the best Italian short film presented in the Spazio Corto section, the award is assigned by a jury made up of students of the DAMS, Inter-university study course of the University of Udine and the University of Trieste.
Winner of the CineLab Spazio Corto TS+FF2023 Award
“STARR” by Riccardo Grippo (Italy, 2023)
Motivation Starr is a short film that appears on the screen as a tragicomic denunciation of the spectacularization of the individual and the consequent loss of self, to satisfy the demands of a dehumanizing public, which demands increasingly extreme entertainment. Grotesque and splatter violence goes hand in hand with slapstick comedy, in a mix of blood and laughter, blades and smileys.
Un’azienda promette la ricetta infallibile per trasformare chiunque in influencer con milioni di follower, ma la fama ha un prezzo.
Premio del pubblico
Premio assegnato dal pubblico della 23° edizione del Trieste Science+Fiction Festival.
Vincitore Premio del Pubblico TS+FF 2023
“RIVER” di Junta Yamaguchi (Giappone, 2023)
At the Japanese Fujiya Inn, staff and guests suddenly find themselves in a time loop where everything returns to how it was two minutes ago. But as time rewinds and everyone returns to where they were, their memories remain. Someone wants to get out of the loop and continue their life. Others, however, appreciate the peaceful status quo and wish to maintain it forever. However, when they join forces to investigate the causes of the phenomenon, personal and unresolved stories emerge.
Golden Asteroid Award 2023Tim Webber