Saturday, 11/21/2020

  • The main award of FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 39 ½ has gone to the short feature film “He Pulls His Truck” by Kirill Proskurin (Moscow Film School, Russia).
  • The Audience Award has gone to “The Best Orchestra in the World” by Henning Backhaus (Film Academy Vienna).
  • Nine awards with a combined value of around 35,000 euros were presented in the international competition.
  • “The Carfuckers” by Josia Brezing (Film Academy Baden-Württemberg) has earned both first prize and the audience award in the special competition for the Climate Clips Award.


On Saturday, November 21, the awards of FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 39 ½ were presented. This year, the festival jury chaired by German director Julia von Heinz, along with other juries representing the award sponsors, selected their award-winners from among 23 feature films, 18 documentaries, seven animated films, and two experimental films. Nine awards — with a combined value of some 35,000 euros — were presented, and two honorable mentions were given. In 2020, the award-winning films were submitted by film schools in seven countries. All of the award-winning films can be viewed in the “Best of Festival” program block until midnight on the evening of Sunday, November 22 (ticket: 3.99 euros).

Diana Iljine, festival director: “I’d like to congratulate all of the award-winners at FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 39 ½ and am delighted that we and our award sponsors are able to do so much to promote young filmmakers. For everyone who has participated in the festival and watched it — not only in Munich this time, but around the world — this was a week of discovery. We are very pleased that the online edition of the festival has been so well-received, and would like to take this opportunity to thank our technical partner, Pantaflix, once again for doing a great job in making it happen.”

The award-winners:

“He Pulls His Truck” by Kirill Proskurin (Moscow Film School, Russia) received the VFF Young Talent Award for best film. The award, valued at 10,000 euros, is sponsored by the German Royalty Collecting Company of Film & TV Producers (VFF). The 25-minute short film is about a boy whose goal of getting a toy truck out of a locked shed turns into a major project, making him a new friend in the process. The film uses this story to address the violence and poverty faced by the most vulnerable members of society. The jury says: “The script manages to tell me all these huge emotions with hardly any dialogue. The cinematography is always close to the boy and made him forget the camera — at least this is what it looks like — so we forget, too, that we are watching a film. ... [This is] a warm film full of empathy, beautifully crafted, that is everything we wish for a great short film.”

The festival jury also presented the ARRI Award for best documentary (a non-cash benefit worth 4,000 euros), sponsored by ARRI, a traditional company based in Munich. This went to Jaan Stevens for “For Eunice” (School of Arts, Brussels, Belgium). The film depicts the everyday life of seven-year-old Eunice, who grew up in poverty. The jury says: “Told with sensitiveness, warmth, and a commitment to accuracy, the director captures both the uncertainty and the playful nature of childhood, showcasing the inner strength this young girl exhibits as she navigates her daily struggles and triumphs. An absolute delight of a film.”

The Luggi Waldleitner Award for best screenplay (2,000 euros) went to writer-director Yuan Yuan for “Heading South” (Tisch School of the Arts, USA). “Heading South” follows a young protagonist as she traverses two worlds whose cultures and languages are different and which she must ultimately choose between. The jury praised it thusly: “Capturing the tension of the situation while keeping the point of view firmly through the eyes of a child, the film displays great mastery in storytelling.” Yuan Yuan, born and raised in China, is studying screenwriting and film directing in New York.

The zweiB Award for best animation, valued at 1,000 euros (DCP mastering), went to the film “Daughter” by Daria Kashcheeva (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic). This stop-motion film depicts an emotional journey through the childhood memories of a woman whose father is in the hospital. Among other things, the jury said: “The gorgeously rendered diffusion of light, depth of field and tactile fibres of the hand-crafted animation combine to make this a deeply cinematic and profoundly moving piece of work, and a wonderful example of pure visual storytelling.”  

The Panther Prize for best production of a film by a European institution of higher education goes to France this year. The award includes non-cash benefits worth 5,000 euros. “L’Homme Jetée” by Loïc Hobi (École de la Cité, Paris, France) takes us along on “a beautiful visual journey that can perfectly express the emotional deepness of the film.” The film is about how dock worker Theo deals with his affection for a seafarer. “L’Homme Jetée” is Hobi’s graduation film.

The festival jury also gave honorable mention to the film “Filipiñana” by Rafael Manuel (London Film School, United Kingdom) for, in its words, “its originality, unusual tone and distinctive visual language.”

Viewers of the TV channel ARTE can look forward to “Drifting” by Hanxiong Bo (University of California at Los Angeles, USA), which received the ARTE Short Film Prize. ARTE will buy the rights to the short film for up to 6,000 euros. The ARTE jury based its decision on the “strong visuals but narrative subtlety” of the film, which manages to “brilliantly document the rift between tradition and modernity”. “Drifting” is about Yan’s struggle with his gender identity as a consequence of China’s one-child policy.

In awarding the 3,000-euro Wolfgang Längsfeld Award in memory of the founder of the festival, Professor Wolfgang Längsfeld of the University of Television and Film Munich, the jury honors the most original film in the international competition. In 2020, this was the Belgian film “The Dragon with Two Heads” by Brazilian director Páris Cannes (Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et techniques de diffusion, Brussels, Belgium). The jury says: “From the first shot, one can easily detect the creative, surprising, uncompromising way of thinking, so different from classic film language. ... We feel this courageous director goes all the way with his imagination, both visually and story-wise, and we wish to encourage this kind of approach in cinema.” 

The 2,000-euro Prix Interculturel went to “For Eunice” by Jaan Stevens (School of Arts, Brussels, Belgium). The jury says: “We laugh and ache with Eunice, thanks to the delicate and trustful directing of Jaan Stevens. Without telling anything [straightforwardly], this short film unites us all by questioning our societies and how we let the next generation suffer from what we know should be stopped.”

The Prix Interculturel jury also gave honorable mention to “Drifting” by Hanxiong Bo (University of California at Los Angeles, USA): “Cautious staging, fine acting and dialogs as well as excellent cinematography point out the effects of the well-known policy on people in a universal way.”

The audience chose “The Best Orchestra in the World” by Henning Backhaus (Film Academy Vienna, Austria) as its favorite. Voting for the Audience Award, valued at 1,500 euros and sponsored by Freundeskreis Filmfest München, took place until Thursday, November 19, at 6 p.m. Central European Time.

In the special competition for the Climate Clips Award (sponsored by the Nagelschneider Foundation), the first prize (4,000 euros) and the audience award (1,000 euros) both went to the clip “The Carfuckers” by Josia Brezing (Film Academy Baden-Württemberg). Second prize (3,000 euros) went to “Relics” by Yonathan Dumosch and Rotem Ezra from Israel (Sapir College). Mario Dahl, also a student at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, will be pleased to have earned third prize (1,000 euros) for his clip “Safe Water”.

You’ll find an overview of the award-winners along with the complete jury statements here.