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Art Film Fest announces winners, Twilight Portrait triumphs

The 20th-anniversary Art Film Fest, held from 16 to 23 June in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín, ended successfully with today’s formal closing ceremony,

Art Film Fest’s premiere prize, the Blue Angel for Best Film, was awarded to Twilight Portrait from director Angelina Nikonova. The five-member jury, chaired by distinguished Serbian director Srdjan Karanovič, chose the picture for its “compelling and unusual plot and courageous portrait of the post-Soviet era, as well as its original and atypical approach to feminist themes.”  

The film revolves around Marina, an upper-class professional Muscovite. Despite living with her husband in a beautiful flat in the city centre, her marriage is in a state of crisis. One night she is brutally attacked and raped by three policemen. When she eventually finds the men responsible for the hideous crime, she begins to reassess her own life.  Nikonova’s feature debut, Twilight Portrait was premiered at Venice, going on to win Thessaloniki’s Golden Alexander for Best Director and the Grand Prize for Best Film at Cottbus.

The picture’s star, actress Olga Dihovichnaya, was awarded with the Blue Angel for Best Female Performance “for her sensitive performance, in which she managed to reveal the contradictory elements of a complex character,” according to Art Film Fest’s Main Jury.

The Blue Angel for Best Director went to Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude for his Everybody In Our Family. The jury praised the film’s “authentic depiction of a familial crisis, progressing from tragedy through comedy all the way to the point of absurdity, dealing with a topic of both local and international relevance.”

Aside from his morning hangover, parents, battle with nicotine and car problems, the film’s protagonist is worried most by his imminent visit to his young daughter, who lives with her grandmother, mother and her mother’s new boyfriend. Each rise in blood pressure, every emotion, sarcastic remark, threat, or self-abasement is recorded in meticulous detail, including a good deal of dirty laundry and unfinished business.  The family’s strained relationships span a wide range of escalating emotions.
For his starring role in the film, actor Serban Pavlu was awarded the Blue Angel for Best Male Performance. The jury cited his realistic and sophisticated portrayal of a man desperately trying to unify his family.
A Special Mention was given to Danish film Teddy Bear, about a bodybuilder with a rough outward appearance but a gentle heart, whose fruitless search for love takes him as far as Thailand.

Another Special Mention was granted to Austrian director Umut Dag’s Kuma, the story of a traditional Turkish Muslim family living in Vienna. With a great deal of insight and sensitivity, the film explores the relationship between the old and the new, between loyalty and freedom.

A total of 12 films contended in the International Competition of Feature Films, many of which came bearing awards from other prestigious festivals.

A hard-won Blue Angel for Best Short Film went to The Swedish Job from Polish director Paweł Ziemilski.

“The picture fulfilled all the criteria of a professional film, impeccable in its precise script, unforgettable performances and restrained mise en scène. It brilliantly treated a difficult and sensitive topic by means of a lightly comic temperament. And most importantly, it was great fun and we laughed ourselves silly!” stated the three-member International Jury of Short Films.

A Special Mention was awarded to Italian short The Chief, from director Yuri Ancarani. “We were enormously impressed by the programme’s experimental entries, and this film was the best of them, from both technical and artistic points of view. It is a portrait of an anonymous hero in confrontation with nature, as well as an epic and magnificent depiction of human toil,” commented the jury. The picture also won the Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand, the world’s most prestigious short film festival.

All in all, the International Competition of Short Films included 37 films from around the world.

The Trenčianske Teplice Mayor’s Award was presented to Australian director Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown, a retelling of one of his country’s most horrifying crimes. The dark exploration of social dependence, drug addiction, domestic violence, brutality and sexual abuse was personally introduced at Art Film Fest by its star Lucas Pittaway.

The Trenčín Mayor’s Award went to Indonesia’s Postcards from the Zoo from director Edwin, who attended Art Film Fest to present his film in person. The picture focuses on a young woman who grows up among giraffes, elephants and hippos in a zoo.

The multimedia company Film Europe in cooperation with Art Film Fest presented the Film Europe award to Slovak animators Ivana Laučíkova and Martin Snopek, creators of the film The Last Bus, “for the young Slovak filmmakers’ extraordinary creative effort, earning acclaim both at home and abroad."
Art Film Fest 2012 – the 20th International Trenčianske Teplice/Trenčín Film Festival
The festival is held under the auspices of Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Robert Fico.

Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA, a.s.

Co-organizers: The Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the City of Trenčín, Kúpele Trenčianske Teplice
Financial Support: The Audiovisual Fund

General Sponsors: KOOPERATIVA poisťovňa Vienna Insurance Group, Privatbanka

Main Sponsors: Omnia Holding SE, Slovnaft, AquaCity Poprad, Hydrotour Travel Agency

Official Transport Provider: Lancia

Logistics Sponsor: DHL
Student cinepasses for only €5 provided by Prvá stavebná sporiteľňa, a. s.

Sponsors: TIPOS, Slovak Telekom, Penzión Baske, Cinemax, Forza CZ, Omnia Motors, Omnia 2000, DOMO Omnia, Omnia KLF

Official Suppliers: značka Moët, Hotel Pax – the festival spa hotel, NAY Elektrodom, Esterle&Esterle, MF team, LampART, Stredná odborná škola polygrafická

Main Media Sponsors: Slovak Radio and Television, Pravda, Rádio FM, zoznam.sk

Media Sponsors: TA 3, TV JOJ, Film Europe
 Channel, Central Europe Television, Rádio Europa 2, .týždeň, Eurotelevízia, Pardon, OK!, Kinečko, Kam do mesta, Focus, GONG SK, Boomerang Media, SITA News Agency, Pay-Per Vision Media, euroAWK, Bittner-print, moviemania.sk, filmneweurope.com

Partners: The Trenčín Self-governing Region, the European Commission Representation in Slovakia, the Slovak Film Institute, the Embassy of Israel in Slovakia, CzechTourism, Celtima SK, Hotel Flóra, KURSALON, versity, the Bratislava Culture and Information Centre, Hollywood Classic Entertainment, Niagara, Magic Box Slovakia, the Italian Cultural Institute in Bratislava, Istituto Luce – Cinecittá, Character – Film Development Association