41st FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH: The award-winners
- The grand prize at the 41st FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH has gone to the poetic short documentary film “We Know How Beautiful They Were, These Islands” by Younès Ben Slimane (Le Fresnoy, France).
- The Audience Award has gone to “I Was Never Really Here” by Gabriel B. Arrahnio (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, Germany).
- A total of ten awards with a combined value of 32,000 euros were presented to films in the international competition.
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, the awards of the 41st FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH were presented. The festival jury (Ildikó Enyedi, Yana Sad, Mira Fornay, Quentin Lichtblau, and Özcan Vardar) as well as other juries of the award sponsors selected this year’s award-winning films from among 40 entries. Ten prizes — worth a total of 32,000 euros — were awarded, and several honorable mentions were given. The films in the 2022 competition came from 32 film schools and were produced in 21 countries around the world.
Diana Iljine, festival director: “I’d like to thank all the filmmakers, because all of their films have opened up new worlds to us and got us to talk about them. And to all those who have now received an award, I offer my heartfelt congratulations. May it be an encouragement and incentive to further develop your own style and, going forward, to create new works that will surprise and enchant viewers and get them to think.”
The festival was held at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF), where 3400 visitors in total attended the ten festival screenings, three special programs, master classes and workshops in the nearly sold-out Audimax. For the very first time, there was also a school screening for 14- to 16-year-old pupils, which was very well received. The festival lounge, also at the HFF, was a popular meeting place for the numerous international guests and HFF students.
“We Know How Beautiful They Were, These Islands” by Younès Ben Slimane (Le Fresnoy, France) received the VFF Young Talent Award for best film. This 10,000-euro award is sponsored by the German royalty distributor Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten (VFF). In a desert at night in the middle of nowhere, a man buries people he’s never met who have died while fleeing their country, and watches over their graves. The jury said: “We were privileged to have a very special cinematic experience. The author of this film invited us, with simple, transparent, and disarmingly consistent means, deep into the dark and painful layers of human experience. It brought the deserved closure, peace, and respect to those beautiful humans who lost their lives without being remembered.”
Honorable mention was given to “Black Hole Legion” by Jonathan Omer Mizrahi and Ariel Sereni Brown.
The festival jury also presented the ARRI Award for best documentary film (endowed with non-cash benefits), sponsored by the traditional Munich-based company ARRI. It goes to Stéphanie Roland (Le Fresnoy, France) for “The Empty Sphere”. Far out in the Pacific Ocean lies Point Nemo, a graveyard for spacecraft. This experimental documentary film approaches this remote area in a blend of truth and fiction. The jury said: “This award goes to a film that conveys a very philosophical and poetic view of a scientific topic. It shows us the loneliness and slow death of a satellite that ends up at the mathematically most abandoned place on Earth.”
In addition, the jury gave an honorable mention here to Daniel Asadi Faezi and Mila Zhluktenko for “Aralkum”.
The award for best screenplay (2,000 euros, sponsored by Angela Waldleitner) goes to screenwriter and director Naama Shmueli for “Silent One” (Sam Spiegel Film School, Israel). The jury said: “We believe it is important to tell personal and intimate stories in film. This film succeeds in telling a very sensitive and deeply personal story in a beautifully minimalistic way.” A young woman attends a meditation retreat in the hills of Jerusalem. There she encounters the man who once raped her, and when the silence around her becomes deafening, she must find a way to face her pain head-on.
The 1,000-euro Animation Award goes to the film “Zoon” by Jonatan Schwenk (Hochschule für Gestaltung, Offenbach). Luminous creatures crawl ashore from a dark swamp in the middle of a forest that’s no less dark in order to frolic on land. But the fun doesn’t last long, as hungry bipeds make short work of the little amphibians. The consumption of axolotls is, however, not without consequences. Explaining its decision, the jury said: “A film that creates a unique world and addresses the weighty questions of the human condition in an original, at first misleadingly lighthearted, but then piercingly lucid way.”
This year’s Panther Prize for the best production of a film from a European university goes to Mo Harawe, the director and producer of “Will My Parents Come to See Me” (Kunsthochschule, Kassel). This award has a non-cash value of 5,000 euros. The jury was convinced by the “haunting depiction of a theme on human rights with an excellent use of visual style and near-perfection in all aspects of filmmaking.” A young man has been given a death sentence for terrorism. A female officer guides him through the procedures of the Somali prison system in the final days before his execution.
This year’s Student Camera Award (2,000 euros, sponsored by Film & TV Kamera magazine) goes to “The Forgotten” and thus to cinematographer Sergio Ruiz. He worked on this film with director Robert Brand Ordóñez, who studies film directing at the School of Film and Television, Bogotá in Colombia. In a remote area, a farmer finds a coffin in a ditch with a corpse and a pile of cash inside. He decides to take the coffin home with him. There, in the solitude of his hut, the dead man helps him to get over the disappearance of his son, who vanished without a trace. The jury said: “Films that tell stories by using metaphors are always taking a great risk. The cinematographer of this film has taken a very fresh approach in compositions that fully support the author’s vision. He has humbly and creatively made the point the director wishes to make.”
The jury awarded an honorable mention to Jakob Berger’s camerawork on “It Doesn’t Have to Be Today”.
ARTE viewers will soon be able to enjoy “Alba Vulva” by Dorka Vermes (FreeSZFE Society, Hungary), which was awarded the ARTE Short Film Prize. ARTE will buy the short film for as much as 6,000 euros. THE ARTE jury explains its selection as follows: “Disappointment in a romantic relationship and an unfulfilled desire to have children are conveyed in an unusual way — quite physically — in this very straightforward, practically austere, film. Without unnecessary effects, the simplicity of the visual style is captivating, as is the rhythm of the cuts — given a double meaning here.” This film tells the story of a woman whose long-term relationship recently came to an end. The pain of breaking up with her girlfriend still runs deep when she decides to go to a beauty salon to have her bikini line completely waxed. This embarrassing treatment causes repressed memories to come flooding back.
The jury presenting the Wolfgang Längsfeld Award of 2,500 euros (Uschi Reich, Ivan Dubrovin, and last year’s recipient, Thom Lunshof), honors the most original film in memory of the festival’s founder, HFF professor Wolfgang Längsfeld. It has chosen the 2022 short fiction film “Liquid Bread” by Alica Bednáriková (Academy of Performing Arts, Slovakia). The jury says: “Using a rich variety of creative elements and often switching between genres in a clever way, the filmmaker has managed to create a unique and authentic world. And with this, the filmmaker succeeds in giving the audience a melancholy, funny, and moving story about family, choices, and transience that transcends the boundaries of the movie screen.” The award is sponsored by Freundeskreis Wolfgang Längsfeld e.V.
The Prix Interculturel (2,000 euros, sponsored by the Interfilm Academy) goes to “Love Death and Everything in Between” by Soham Kundu (London College of Communication, UK). The jury (Galina Antoschewskaja, Eckart Bruchner, Bhagu T. Chellaney, and Christine Weissbarth) was impressed by how it sensitively — and in retrospect — shows how three people of different cultural backgrounds, roles, and genders deal with the death of their son and friend. “As they pine for the deceased, all three realize that their loss cannot be overcome. Only together can they learn to live with it and come to terms with the pain.”
The jury also awarded an honorable mention to Sara Massieu for “I Was Attacked”.
The audience favorite was “I Was Never Really Here” by Gabriel B. Arrahnio (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF). This film was ranked highest by the viewers, who had until 11 am on Saturday to vote for the Audience Award. Summary of Content. The 1,500-euro Audience Award is sponsored by the Freundeskreis Filmfest München.
In the special competition for the Climate Clips Award (sponsor: Nagelschneider Foundation), the awards were presented at the festival’s Opening Ceremony. The first prize of 3,000 euros was awarded to “The Last Shade” by Alper Bozkurt from the University of the Arts in London. The 2nd prize (2,000 euros) was awarded to “Once Upon a Time: Earth” by Christian León from the Politécnico Grancolombiano in Bogotá. The 3rd prize (1,000 euros) in 2022 went to “Fisherman” by Vahid Omidi from the Mashgh Film School in Afghanistan.