Framing the Future: The 2019 award-winners
- The grand prize of the 39th FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH goes to the short feature film “Last Call” by Hajni Kis (University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest, Hungary).
- The audience favorite and recipient of the Wolfgang Längsfeld Award is the Israeli film “Fine” by Maya Yadlin.
- Altogether, 10 awards were presented this evening, including a total of 38,500 euros in prize money.
On Saturday, November 23, the awards of the 39th FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH were presented at the University of Television and Film Munich (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, HFF). This concludes a week full of films and events at the Filmmuseum München. Not only were the best short student films screened — 42 films from 23 countries; the film students from around the world discussed these films with each other and with Munich audiences. They got to know Munich as a city and film location — on a tour of Bavaria Filmstudios, for example — and make new contacts.
The festival jury (see the November 15, 2019 news release) and the juries of the award sponsors chose this year’s award-winners from among 28 feature films, 9 documentaries, and 5 animated films, which the selection committee had chosen for competition. Ten awards totaling 38,500 euros in prize money and non-cash benefits were presented and three honorable mentions made. The award-winning films of 2019 come from film schools in eight different countries. The similarly lucrative awards of the two special competitions Hofbräu Trophy and Climate Clips were presented at the opening of the festival this year (see the November 18, 2019 press release), so that their recipients also had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the festival for an entire week.
Here are the award-winners:
“Last Call” by Hajni Kis (University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest, Hungary) was honored as best film with the VFF Young Talent Award. This award, donated by the German film and television producers’ royalty distributor (Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten, VFF), is worth 10,000 euros. This 27-minute short film follows 61-year-old Anikó on her last day in her home country, as she has decided to leave Budapest and move in with her daughter abroad. We meet a chaotic but warm-hearted woman who is attempting to find her place in a world that may no longer need her.
The jury says: “Hajni Kis manages to surprise her audience with very delicate, well-observed, and emotional moments up until the very end, when she allows her brave heroine to find inner peace in the most unexpected way. We’re looking forward to seeing much more coming out of this young director’s mind.”
Hajni Kis recently finished her degree in film directing at the University of Theatre and Film Arts (Budapest, Hungary). As a participant in the First Feature Hungarian National Film Fund Incubator Program, she is now shooting her first feature film, which has the working title “Separate Flock”. Her short films “Last Call” and “Beautiful Figure” have earned her numerous awards. The latter was nominated for a Student Academy Award and was invited to be screened at more than a hundred film festivals around the world, where it received numerous awards.
Along with the grand prize, the festival jury also presented the ARRI Award for Best Documentary (a non-cash benefit valued at 4,000 euros), sponsored by ARRI, a Munich company with a long tradition. This year, the award goes to Hadas Hechter for “The Opposite of Love Is Not Hate”. This is Hechter’s graduation film at the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem. In this very personal film, the director works with archive material and interviews in order to work through her family’s traumas and in doing so finds a poetic, cinematic language for that which is otherwise often unspeakable. A successful plea for radical honesty.
The Luggi Waldleitner Award for Best Screenplay (3,000 euros) goes to Kalu Oji, who wrote the screenplay for “Blackwood” and also directed the film (Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia). “Blackwood” offers a look at an ordinary and yet extraordinary day in the life of a single mother and her adolescent son; it’s a tender portrait of a fragile relationship. The jury praises the film: “As in a poem, the filmmaker takes us to a tender moment of reconciliation between two people who feel unheard.” Kalu Oji is a Nigerian-Australian filmmaker whose work deals with African-Australian identity and experiments with new forms of acting in order to transcend the mainstream. In 2018, he graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.
The 2,500-euro zweiB Award for Best Animation goes to the film “Inside Me” by Maria Trigo Teixeira (Filmuniversität Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Germany). Born in Lisbon, the graphic designer and illustrator has studied animation at the FUB since 2014. “Inside Me” is her graduation film. The jury praises the way that an uncomfortable subject is treated with grace and sensitivity in all its many facets and the fact that Maria Trigo Teixeira ably takes us on an intimate but universal journey.
The Student Camera Award (2,000 euros from the specialist magazine Film & TV Kamera) for best cinematography goes to cinematographer Kenneth Cyrus for the film “An Irrelevant Dialogue” (directed by Moinak Guho, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, India). With great calmness, this feature film tells the true story of an elderly couple fighting for the right to end their own lives. We’re given precise framing, long takes, almost no movement: “Sometimes less is more,” says the jury.
The Panther Award for Best Production of a film at a European university, a non-cash benefit valued at 5,000 euros, goes to a Swedish production this year. “Get Ready with Me” by Jonatan Etzler is an unsettling but brilliant thriller full of surprises. It is about manipulative power struggles, disinformation, and bullying, as well as the inability of generations to continue to communicate with each other in the age of social media. Etzler finished his degree in filmmaking at the Stockholm University of the Arts in 2018. “Get Ready with Me” earned gold at the 45th Student Academy Awards in 2019.
The festival jury also bestowed honorable mention upon the film “Distance” by Grace Swee (Columbia University, USA), recognizing a film that tells us it is never too late to confront one’s past.
A second honorable mention went to the experimental documentary film “Eadem Cutis: The Same Skin” by Nina Hopf (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany), in which the filmmaker’s twin brother shares his thoughts on identity, body, and gender with the viewer.
ARTE viewers can look forward to “Ghazaal”, directed by Ragini Bhasin (Chapman University, USA) which has received the 2019 ARTE Short Film Prize. ARTE buys the broadcast rights to a short film for up to 6,000 euros. A young girl at a refugee camp is at the center of this tender and clever short film, which has an almost documentary feel to it. “An intense portrait of a woman and an excellent film” is what the ARTE jury calls it.
The jury that presents the 3,000-euro Wolfgang Längsfeld Award in memory of the festival’s founder, HFF professor Wolfgang Längsfeld, recognizes the most original film in international competition. For 2019, it has chosen the Israeli production “Fine” by Maya Yadlin. The jury states: “This film is set in a small universe that reflects feelings we all know: feelings of anger, feelings of love, feelings of distance, and feelings of intimacy — in general, the typical universe of a family. The story is told with lots of humor and humanity.” Maya Yadlin lives and works in Tel Aviv. She is a fourth-year student at the Minshar School for the Arts and is also a freelance film editor.
The Prix Interculturel (1,500 euros) goes to “La Dernière Séance (Rock Out)” by Alice Gadbled (Institut des Arts de Diffusion, Belgium). This film about an unconventional burial encourages people to follow their instincts and find their own individual way of dealing with grief while also being strengthened by the community, says the jury: “Unpretentiously and with a keen sense of expressive imagery, Alice Gadbled, the actors and actresses, and the camera succeed — despite the presence of death — in celebrating life.” Honorable mention by this jury is also given to the animated documentary “Armed Lullaby” by Yana Ugrekhelidze (KHM Cologne, Germany).
Last but not least, numerous audience members have voted for the Audience Award and given a very positive rating to many of the films screened. Most favorable to the audience was the Israeli film “Fine”, which means that Maya Yadlin will be taking home two awards.