The audience and the juries chose something different
17th LIFFe was brought to an end with the bestowal of awards and the screening of Marco Bellochio's latest film The Wedding Director (part of this year's Special Tribute section).
The sounds of accordeon (Janez Dovč) and saxophone (Vasko Atanasovski) opened tha gala ceremony. The seventh art was brought to us by the story of a monk who persistently watered his tree until one day it miraculously started to bloom – Andrei Tarkovsky's film classic. This metaphor reflects exceptional film productions of this year's festival, the best of which were awarded by three international juries and loyal festival audience.
Janine Euvrard, president of the three-member Fipresci jury bestowed the Fipresci Award to the best film of the South by Southeast section – Hungarian drama White Palms. The jury was especially impressed by a powerful story and an exceptional psychological portrait of protagonists. The award was received by the deputy Hungarian ambassador.
The receiver of the Amnesty International Award also enraptured the audience with a powerful and elaborated story. This award has been bestowed for the second time now to the best film dealing with the problem of human rights. Offside depicts the story of Iranian soccer fans who are not allowed to enter the stadium. The award was given away by Hans van Gerven, president of the jury, who highlighted an interesting and positive story, depicting the issues of the emancipation of women in Iran in a fresh way. In his speech, director Jafar Panahi presented us the autobiographical basis of the film – he and his daughter are both big soccer fans. He dedicated the award to women's organisation White Scarfs, which fights for emancipation and dignity of Iranian women.
The Golden Reel was, as every year, bestowed by the audience to the best film of the Horizons. Director of Tobačna Ljubljana (donor) and Aleksandra Balmazović (president of the commission) joined us on stage. »This selection proves that the Slovene are not xenophobes – at least when it comes to foreigners on the big screen« said Balmazović. The award went to the Irish-British comedy Breakfast on Pluto, which got the highest average grade - 4,7 – and was received by the deputy Irish ambassador.
The selection of films also enraptured the jury of the Kingfisher Award, which is bestowed each year to the best film of the Perspectives section by Mobitel. The jury gave Special Mention to the family drama Pingpong. Its well constructed storyline and vigorous support of talented young actors lays bare the semblance of middleclas decency under which lurks the invariable threat of moral and physical violence. The award was given away by Jelka Stergel, LIFFe's programme director, and received by actor Clemens Berg. He said he was thrilled by the award as this was his first film role and that the credits go to the entire crew. The prestigious Kingfisher Award was bestowed to 1:1, which enraptured the jury with an exceptional story on interracial conflicts in culturally mixed democracies of modern Europe. Annamaria Percavassi, president of the jury, stressed the excellent achievement of director Annete K. Olesen and the entire team of actors. In her speech, the director stressed that the film went beyond interracial problems and wanted to show that emotions, common to all, were stronger than cultural differencies.
After the bestowal of awards, short film Vagabond Shoes and The Wedding Director served as a way of saying good-bye to the main Slovene film festival for yet another year.